Apple has actually reveled in the trend. "I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us," said CEO Tim Cook during a January 2013 conference call with Wall Street. "One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it, and so we never fear it. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs [so] that doesn't worry us."
Baker thought that was smart.
"They get retail, and one of the key pieces of retail is that products get cannibalized," said Baker. "But it's always better to cannibalize your own rather than let someone else do it, even if it costs [you] some margin."
On Tuesday, Cook reaffirmed Apple's stake in the personal computer market, perhaps responding to talk over the last several weeks that Apple might -- and in some analysts' minds, should -- mimic Microsoft and force the iPad into 2-in-1 duty as a light-weight laptop by adding a keyboard.
"Our competition is different. They're confused. They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make tablets into PCs, and PCs into tablets," Cook said at the rollout of the new iPads. "[But] we have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal. We still believe deeply in this category [of traditional notebooks] and we're not slowing down on our innovation."
Apple also dumped the 15-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro from its sales list on Tuesday, leaving only the 13-inch model as a not-with-Retina choice. That notebook relies on a 500GB platter-style hard disk drive rather than an SSD (solid-state drive) and is the last of Apple's laptops to include a built-in DVD drive. The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,199, now just $100 less than the bottom-end 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
Apple this week cut the prices of its Retina MacBook Pro laptops by as much as 13 percent. (Image: Apple)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.