We’ve seen numerous analyst reports talking about how the iPad has cannibalized the existing PC and notebook market. Even Apple’s COO, Tim Cook, acknowledged during the company’s last earnings conference the effect of the iPad on the company’s own products.
Based on recent reports it seems that PCs will take on a supporting role to other electronics, such as the iPad, Android tablets, smartphones and connected TVs. One of IBM’s original PC lead engineers seems to agree with the “post-PC” era by admitting his primary computer is now a tablet.
IBM’s Mark Dean is now Chief Technology Officer for IBM Middle East and Africa. But 30 years ago, Mr. Dean was one of the lead engineers in the design and development of the first IBM personal computer. Mr. Dean now shares in his blog that IBM’s decision to exit the PC business in 2005 was a wise decision. Mr. Dean shares: “it’s now clear that our company was in the vanguard of the post-PC era.”
His point is not that tablets have obliterated the PC market completely. But rather, that PCs are now taking a more complementary role to other more leading edge computing devices. The tablet market is certainly showing that trend.
Apple has taken control of the tablet global market share. However, whether tablets belong in the “PC/notebook” category is certainly a point of debate among many in the industry.
Research company Gartner, released a report earlier this summer in which the company talks about how consumers seem to be shifting away from buying PCs and focusing more on products like the iPad, smartphones and the onslaught of cloud services coming in the following months. Does Apple’s iCloud and Amazon’s Cloud Drive ring a bell?
According to Gartner’s report:
“Worldwide PC unit growth is projected to be slightly weaker in 2011 than the previous projection. PC shipments are expected to grow 9.3 percent in 2011, reaching 385 million units. This is slightly lower than Gartner’s previous projection of 10.5 percent growth for this year.”
“Consumer mobile PCs are no longer driving growth, because of sharply declining consumer interest in mini-notebooks. Mini-notebook shipments have noticeably contracted over the last several quarters, and this has substantially reduced overall mobile PC unit growth,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “Media tablets, such as the iPad, have also impacted mobile growth, but more because they have caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases rather than directly replacing aging mobile PCs with media tablets. We believe direct substitution of media tablets for mobile PCs will be minimal.”
The iPad and tablets in general will fit many areas of your daily life. As a travel device, the iPad is great. It’s lightweight and fits easily in a bag, even with a laptop and other gadgets you may carry around. The iPad is a device most consumers will like because of the flexibility it brings to entertain and inform. As a tool for basic business needs, while on vacation or quick travel, the device will work great keeping you in touch with everything around you.
However, let’s not forget the iPad has infiltrated the enterprise segment and will continue to expand as developers and companies find new ways to leverage Apple’s tablet. The more you look around, the more you will see consumers depending mostly on smartphones and tablets. These new devices are simply extremely convenient and will allow you to perform several work tasks while on-the-go.
As of now, I don’t see tablets completely replacing PCs or laptops. However, the trend shows we are moving that way. The PC has become a complementary device for heavier computing tasks, while the iPad and tablets in general seem to be slowly dominating consumers daily lives.