Tim Cook was asked for his thoughts on Microsoft's new Surface tablet during Apple's Q4 2012 results conference call, to which his response, while noted he hadn't tried one for himself yet, was that the device is "a fairly compromised confusing product."
This answer for the Surface goes down the route of criticism surrounding the device's amalgamation of elements: "I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don't think it would do all of those things very well." He feels Apple have made "hard tradeoffs" to give the iPad a straightforward product definition in the eyes of the consumer.
Really, it's up to individual interpretation which direction of hardware and OS you'd want to go; but with the quick refresh of Apple's iPad, it's fair to say Tim is covering the company's back for the possibility of Surface being a hit.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.