One of the easy-to-miss nuggets of wisdom gleaned from yesterday afternoon’s Apple earnings call was this little tidbit from CEO Tim Cook, speaking on the subject of Windows 8 and desktop-tablet convergence:

Anything can be forced to converge. But the problem is that the products are about tradeoffs. You begin to make tradeoffs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know, those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.

But Cook’s assertion wasn’t a mere dig at Microsoft’s market strategy. Instead, he applied the same reasoning to Apple’s own product lines. Our compatriots at iDownloadBlog explain:

Fielding a question from Citigroup’s Richard Gardner, Apple’s boss said that yes, even though iPad and MacBook could converge, such a combination would never work because of the many tradeoffs customers would not be willing to put up with.

Plus, he said it would make little sense as the two products cater to different needs and consumers use them differently. …

He then clearly stated that Apple is not interested in combining the iPad and the MacBook into a new product family.

While it’s possible that Cook is just playing a page out of Steve Jobs’ classic script of misdirection, it’s hard to imagine the logic behind bringing the iPad and MacBook (or iMac or Mac mini) together as one. Yes, we’ll likely see a number of iOS elements make their way to OS X (and perhaps even a file-managing vice versa), but that doesn’t mean Apple intends fully blurring the line.

Remember, Mac is a family of personal computers. The iPad, on the other hand, is a post-PC device. If there’s ever any actual convergence between the two, it’ll be convergence by attrition, when one day the Mac simply ceases to be.

But that won’t happen any time soon.

So feel free to snatch up one of those new Ivy Bridge MacBooks without hesitation. It’ll still be relevant for years to come.

[Image: knowyourmobile.com]