Apple's COO (and current Steve Jobs stand-in) Tim Cook thinks "there's not much" competition to the company's iPad tablet. When queried about Apple's view on what the rest of the market offers, Cook was brutally candid in describing Windows-driven machines as generally being big, heavy and expensive, while current generations of Android-based slates are in his opinion merely "scaled-up smartphones." While we agree that Windows 7 isn't a terribly touch-friendly affair, we don't know that Cook's comments on Android are quite so pertinent now that Google's tablet-savvy Honeycomb iteration has been unveiled. Then again, he has something to say about the next generation of Android tablets as well, noting that the ones announced at CES lack pricing and release schedules, leading him to conclude that "today they're vapor." Ouch. As a parting shot, Tim took a moment to reaffirm Apple's belief that its integrated approach will always trump the fragmented nature of Android and its plurality of app stores. Hear his comments in full after the break.
5:32PM Q: How do you view the iPad's competitors?
5:34PM A: Tim -- if you look at what's out there today, there's not much. There's the ones that use Windows, they're generally big and heavy and expensive. They have weak battery life, they require a keyboard or a stylus as an input device, customers are frankly just not interested in them. Then you have Android tablets, and the varieties that are out shipping today, their operating system wasn't designed for tablets. Google has said this, this isn't just Apple saying this. That means you have the size of a tablet that just isn't reasonable for what we call a 'real tablet experience.' That's just a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product category. If you do a side-by-side with an iPad, you'll pick an iPad.
5:53PM Q: Last call, Steve had a lot of comments around Android, some of its disadvantages. Any other comments you'd like to make?
5:56PM A: Tim -- [...] We firmly believe that our integrated approach is better than the fragmented approach. You can see this in a number of ways -- from the number of fragmented app stores with a variety of ways to pay, people will pull their hair out. Who's on the latest OS -- Android always lags ... In net we think our integrated approach is better, rather than making the end user a systems integrator. I don't know a lot of people who want to be systems integrators. And I think the same thing about iPad. It's the same set of issues, at the end of the day.