Correlation is not causation. Still, it is hard to ignore the two articles of news I found most interesting from today. The first says that Apple's iPad sales mix skewed towards the full-sized units, unlike last year when the mini was introduced. The second says that HP has all but stopped trying to sell Windows 8 machines, and has started promoting Windows 7 almost exclusively in an effort to give customers what they really want. Check out the links, and come back for the commentary. 

AppleInsider iPad Air takes top tablet spot in December, helps reverse Apple's tablet price erosion

Apple's revamped, fifth generation full-size iPad Air was the most popular iPad over the holidays, contributing to a end of the iPad's Average Sales Price erosion...

iPad Air accounted for 41 percent of iPads sold, while the fourth generation "iPad with Retina Display" made up another 13 percent. The lowest price iPad 2 represented only 5 percent of sales. Together, the full sized iPads were 59 percent of Apple's tablet 

The Verge - Tom Warren HP brings back Windows 7 'by popular demand'

In fact, if you browse to HP’s home section and navigate to desktop PCs then you’ll only be presented with Windows 7 machines by default as no Windows 8 PCs are listed until you start customizing the section using optional filters. The laptop section does include Windows 8 machines, but it also prominently advertises a Windows 7 laptop. Even HP’s all-in-one section promotes the company’s 21-inch Android-powered PC over Windows 8 alternatives.

Either of these stories can stand alone. Windows 8 is a disaster, and the iPad Air is an unqualified success. At this point, no one would argue with either assertion. Look a little deeper, though, and you will find that these puzzle pieces fit neatly together. At a time when iPad adoption is at an all-time high, popular acceptance of Microsoft's latest OS is at an all-time low. The popular rejection of Windows 8 is hurting PC sales from one of the largest PC vendors. Desperate to move units, HP is staging an open rebellion against Microsoft, and pushing systems with the previous OS in an attempt to give the people what they want. Unfortunately for HP, what the people seem to want are iPads. 

Without the Windows 8 debacle, iPads would still sell well. Without iPads selling so well, Windows 8 would still tank. However, together, the two events form a perfect storm. Frustrated Windows users are turning to the iPad, and discovering that it handles the vast majority of what they needed a computer for. I believe that the Windows 8 defection would not be nearly as bad if the iPad Air didn't provide such a soft landing. Full-sized iPad sales would not be as good if there were not so many frustrated Windows users looking for Windows 8 notebook alternatives. 

Microsoft has an even bigger problem on its hands than the current iPad. Its name is iPad Pro. Today, it is only a rumor. In a few months, it will be a reality. When the iPad increases in size, so will Microsoft's headaches. A bigger, more capable iPad means that even more people will find it a reasonable alternative to a machine running Windows 8. Windows nine is not expected until the first half of 2015. Too late. 

David Johnson