Indeed, some Intel-powered 2-in-1's do come apart so that one half is a tablet, such as the Asus Transformer series. But others are really more like laptops with clamshell designs that permanently attach a keyboard to a display, which sometimes folds back on itself. One of these is the Lenovo Yoga.
To be clear, IDC analysts do not define devices where the keyboard remains permanently attached to the tablets as 2-in-1s, as Intel would. IDC instead calls these newer devices from Intel with the keyboard permanently attached to the display as "convertibles" that are counted alongside laptops. To be classified by IDC as a 2-in-1, the keyboard must be able to detach like on the Surface, IDC analysts Reith and Jitesh Ubrani said.
In this newer 2-in-1 terrain, definitions get cluttered, Milanesi noted.
"There is now confusion about what a tablet is," she said. "If Windows 10 picks up, there will be consumers buying 2-in-1s that will think they are buying a PC versus a tablet, so to some extent you will be ending up talking about perception and segmentation." In other words, analysts will have to worry about the definitions.
Milanesi had doubts about what Apple could or might announce in a possible 2-in-1/tablet/laptop mashup category. "If Apple went with a 12-in. iPad we might see a different keyboard, but if they wanted to do a new 2-in-1, what better fit would there have been than with the new Air? And they didn't do that."
Time will tell.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.