To go with Apple’s announcement of the Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion developer preview, Apple CEO Tim Cook and worldwide marketing head Phil Schiller sat down for interviews with The Wall Street Journal at Apple headquarters in Cupertino. During the interview, Cook noted laptops will continue to exist alongside the tablet market, but merging the two products, and the different chips various Apple devices use, is a possibility the company is considering. Cook said, “We think about everything. We don’t close things off,” but he also noted the Mac is still “incredibly important.” He continued:

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“We see that people are in love with a lot of apps and functionality here. Anywhere where that makes sense, we are going to move that over to Mac… We think about everything. We don’t close things off.”

When asked if he still views Microsoft as competition with the upcoming releases of new version of Windows, Cook said the only pressure is “self-induced” and that he does not “really think anything Microsoft does puts pressure on Apple.” While noting that Apple has now changed the name of Apple-developed Mac apps to reflect iOS, such as Contacts instead of Address Book, and Calendar instead of iCal, in a separate interview Phil Schiller, he said the update would be “more than people expect”:

“We took a logical pass at what the user is going to experience using these products to make it all make sense. This is more than people expect.”

As for competitors copying the MacBook Air, a product Cook apparently “expressed pride” about when talking about the future of Apple’s Mac business, the CEO said other companies will have a difficult time:

“The industry at large is trying to copy it in some way, but they will find that it is not so easy”

While adding the Mac is still “incredibly important,” Tim referenced growth in China stemming from interest over the iPhone. Mac sales in China doubled during 2011. Cook said:

“They know about Apple and what Apple stands for… Then they search out and look for the Mac.”

Apple’s introduction of the OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion developer preview brings many popular iOS features including iOS-like notifications, AirPlay Mirroring functionality, Game Center, Messages, and Twitter integration. Get the full story here.

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