The venerable laptop is under assault.

And leading the assault is Apple - - which has no qualms about cannibalizing a piece of its own MacBook laptop line with the iPad.

And Apple ' s tablets will get even harder to resist in October when it brings out a smaller tablet, probably priced well below $۳۹۹.

The $۱۹۹ Google Nexus ۷ and the new Kindle Fire starting at $۱۹۹ - - or $۱۵۹ for the original Fire - - are making it even harder to fork over $۶۹۹ for a new laptop.

At the risk of stating the obvious, consumers often opt for the cheaper device if it seems to meet their needs. So, in many cases - - just glance at figures from market researchers and Apple itself - - they are choosing a tablet instead of a laptop. Or postponing the purchase of a laptop in favor of a tablet impulse - buy.

In response, Microsoft, Intel, and their partners - - who are feeling some existential panic - - are trying to curb those buying habits by introducing Windows ۸ laptops that also function as tablets.

So, here ' s my question. Would you forgo a tablet for a laptop with a touch screen?

Or to rephrase the question: though more expensive than a tablet -- likely well over $499 -- many Windows 8 portables will squeeze a laptop and tablet into one device, potentially obviating the need to buy two devices. Does that seem like the right solution to you?