Think about it...how will Apple continue to fight the onslaught of Intel powered, high performance Haswell tablets? It won't end well for Apple if OEMs can make Windows 8 tabs with Haswell that are about as thin as the iPad but much more powerful but w/ the same battery life.
My guess is MacBook Air replaces the flailing 10" iPad, and the only think Apple uses its custom SoCs in are the iPad Mini and the iPhone.
A pure touch UI doesn't work within a windowed GUI. MS has had a 'touch' UI and a tablet form factor for the best part of decade but it just never worked. Fingers are just too large for UI components in a traditional pointer based environment. That said, touch as an additive UI to traditional windows does work. I use the touch UI on my ultra-book when in desktop mode to scroll etc, but it could never be a replacement for the track pad/external mouse. Perhaps Apple will add touch UI to it's laptops, but it'll keep iOS for 'real' tablets where no pointer is possible. Whether iOS supports x86 is another question:)
From a raw CPU performance perspective I think you are under estimating Apples Swift and over estimating Haswell performance for the given thermal profile of a tablet. I would still expect Apples Swift to have a better cost/performance profile than Haswell which then flows into a cheaper BOM.
Finally, I'm not sure if people are that sensible. Roll forward a year or two, how many people would still buy (todays) iPad over a much more power windows 8 convertible? Brand, sheep, etc.
NAW, Apple is going to ditch X86, and gonna concentrate on iOS, developing tablets into fully fledged PC's. Apple using it's own ARM architecture, is going to convince its multitude of Apple graphics software users that all you need is a tablet. After all can't an iPad do everything?
Apple, What a joke! A year late to the party in Touch notebooks, possibly two years late to the party with Tablet-PC's. Apply is facing a hiding to nothing. Which ever cannibalise their own market.
- Bring out MacTouch, eats into their own iPad sales.
- Bring out iPad convertible, cuts into their own MacBook sales, already being decimated by Win8-touch Ultrabooks. BTW, will be a total suicide for Apple, (see WinRT if you have doubts).
- Bring out MacBook Touch, convertible, totally kills their own iPad sales.
Irrespective of Apple's claims, they simply have failed to bring to market;
1. A fully functional PC in a Tablet form factor.
2. A Fully functional Notebook (or desktop) PC with Touch capability.
3. A Fully functional convertible PC come tablet device.
Apple will be ONE whole year behind the windows crowd, so much for Apple being innovative. yes iPod, iPhone, MacAir, iPad were truly innovative at the time. Hey but that was like 3 years ago. No real innovation since Jobs died!
The MacBook Air is already slim and light. I see no benefit in making it a convertible and lot of unnecessary added complexity. If Intel or Microsoft made the MacBook Air, they might have done this.
Being that the Mac Book Air is tapered, if they can criss cross the ends to give the consumer a flat tablet, it can be a powerful cool looking laptop or a very slim tablet that may be just slightly thicker than the iPad.
They will slightly price it higher than existing Mac Book Air prices. Maybe about $100 more.
However, as the iPod still exists due to a much lower price point, so will the iPad.
So the Mac Book Air convertibles will be about $1100 starting price while the Mac Book Air may drop to $900 starting price. A market will still be for them to have a much cheaper iPad. But the iPad will slow down in sales depending on the popularity of the convertible.
Similar to what is currently happenning to the iPod because of the iPhone's success.
Mac Book convertible will have to have an Intel processor in it, but for the long term continuing success of the iPad, Apple has to build it around Intel processors as well. Either that or seriously drop the price by 50%.
I think they will pick the higher price point with Intel processors.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
"Tim Cook did say 'new product category' coming in the fall."
[Just think. In the fall we will be counting down to the arrival of Intel's 14nm FinFET production just like we are now counting down to Haswell. Intel's 14nm FinFET is the real ARM-killer. I'm guessing behind the scenes that a lot of companies are already trying to get in line to be a recipient of this game changing production. What company in their right mind would want to compete with another company deploying 14nm FinFET?]
2013: Year of the Intel Tablet
2014: Year of the Intel Smartphone
"My guess is MacBook Air replaces the flailing 10" iPad, and the only think Apple uses its custom SoCs in are the iPad Mini and the iPhone."
[Knowing Apple they will probably try to milk the 10 inch iPad as long as possible. Their present course seems to apply this concept across the board with marginal improvements. I'd be surprised to seem them EOL anything until it actually stops getting traction, i.e. making a profit. Until they come out with something big and new, how can they get rid of anything old?
I can see them offering a hyrid or convertible MacAir as an additional product. But my real question is when will they redefine the Mac by creating a hybrid of Mac OS X and iOS with a built-in keyboard and a touch screen. I just read an article where all the Mac fanbois said a notebook or Ultrabook would never ever ever need a touch screen because a mouse works so great. But, um, who carries a mouse all of the time or wants to dig one out? I think the absence of a touch screen product hurts them. So, unless they plan on giving up the whole MacBook line it seems that they have to move in some direction. I'm not holding my breath. I'm hugely disappointed with Apple and Tim Cook. Everything in Apple's line seems to be winding down. iPads winding down. iPhone declining dramatically in growth rates. Apple is losing the "cool" factor and once that's gone it will be big trouble in River City. Well, Cupertino I guess...]
Yes, there have been several articles already including one from "Patently Apple" which I posted...that have indicated that a hybrid/convertible Mac is in the works. Apple can ignore the twofer market only to its own peril.