by Jonathan Rothwell

Apple's earnings call

Dare I propose that the whispers Tim Cook made during Apple’s earnings call might be positive?

Unsurprisingly, of course, the iPad and the iPhone are still selling like hotcakes, the iPod continues on its overall downward trend, and the Mac is trundling along as strong as ever. Cook discussed the oft-mooted possibility of merging the MacBook Air (or, indeed, the Macintosh line in its entirety) with the iPad, and seemingly dismissed it. This is what I’ve suspected for ages: there is, and there always will be, a market for PCs with root access and a hardware keyboard, so it’s unlikely Apple will be folding away the Macintosh line any time soon. Although tablets such as the iPad are likely to guzzle a large proportion of their market share, as the late Steve Jobs said, “PCs are going to be like trucks.”

More interestingly, Cook is quoted as being open to the possibility of settling Apple’s many lawsuits with miscellaneous mobile phone companies (especially Samsung.)

I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it… (but) we just want people to invent their own stuff.

Tim Cook

This is a marked change from Jobs’s policy, which was, in effect, a holy war: he saw Android as a stolen product and wanted it driven off the market. I’m loath to say it, but this argument does have some degree of merit: in many places, Android does look, feel and run like what iOS would sound like, described down a phone to a team of designers and programmers (even though, architecturally, they’re nothing alike.)

Cook is described as being sympathetic to the idea of settling these lawsuits on the condition that ‘Apple does not become the developer for the world.’ This seems fair: although, in my view, software patents are toxic to the industry, and the vast majority of these cases should have been thrown out the moment they reached the court’s porch, this seems like it could be the start of the long road to an acceptable compromise.

I, for one, would be delighted if it was.