Tablets to Take Over?
Unless you’ve been in a coma lately, you realize how quickly the market for tablets such as the iPad has grown. Many think iPads and other tablets eventually will outsell traditional computers as people continue to want smaller and more user-friendly devices.
Steve Jobs, before his death in October 2011, called this a “post-PC era” and said computers will be like trucks were in the automobile industry – important, but not as important after people moved from an agrarian lifestyle. PCs are “still going to be around and have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people,” said Jobs.
Many experts agree with Jobs in this assessment, saying this change in the market is not a question of if, but rather when. Sales of tablets will most likely get another jolt upwards with the recent release of the newest iPad. With newly updated screen resolution and all the new bells and whistles, many users will flock to get this new version. Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said this prediction of tablet takeover would become true as soon as 2017. Other experts give dates even sooner for their estimates of this shift.
Sales figures seem to follow the experts’ predictions. In 2010, PCs outsold tablets twenty to one, but in 2011, just one year later, PCs only outsold tablets six to one, a gigantic jump in the market in such a short time. The iPad currently dominates the entire market for tablets, but there are a few other contenders such as The Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Some don’t think there will be a takeover so much as a conjoining of the two major devices. As more and more companies make products and apps that are viable in the mobile device market, more people are willing to switch to these easier-to-handle devices.
“The tablet and PC markets are all going to blur. We’re going to see a lot of form-factor innovation. We’ll be asking, ‘What is a tablet and what is a traditional PC?’ ” said Tim Coulling, an analyst at Canalys, in the NY Times Online article “As New iPad Debut Nears, Some See Decline of PCs”. Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 8, which has touch-screen friendly operating systems, shows even the old giant understands the impact that these tablets are having. Microsoft also has unveiled laptops with removable keyboards, which would, actually make them tablets.
Some users argue tablets will never make PCs obsolete, as they are too small and limited for some tasks. People say since this is a new market, once it has been completely saturated, the sales will drop back down and tablets will just continue as another device like smartphones. Whether tablets will take over PCs, join with them, or fall to the wayside is yet to be seen, but within a few years, all of our questions will be answered.