Are Tablets Inevitable
As PC Replacements?
close to being
THE TABLET PHENOMENON is bigger than you probably realize. Before the “new iPad” debuted, Apple announced that it had sold 55 million of its tablets to date. Apple CEO Tim Cook helped put hat figure in perspective at a conference in February: “It took us
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22 years to sell 55 million Macs,” he reportedly
said. “It took us about five years to sell 22 million
iPods, and it took us about three years to sell
that many iPhones.” The fact that the iPad sold
55 million units in less than two years tells us
something: Tablets are a runaway success.
Indeed, IDC in February forecast rapid growth
in sales of Android tablets as well as continued
sales growth for iPads. The market research firm
forecasts that just under 90 million tablets will
be sold worldwide this year. In 2015, according
to IDC, tablet sales will come within striking distance of 140 million, with Apple’s iOS capturing
51% of sales and Android grabbing 47%.
Do those numbers make you think PCs are
dead? Actually, sales of PCs are growing modestly.
According to a March 2012 Gartner report, global
PC shipments are expected to hit 368 million
units this year, for a 4.4% increase over last year.
Gartner also expects the PC market to be stronger
in 2013, with sales projected to reach 400 million
units. Desktop and notebook PCs aren’t even close
to being dead yet.
One reason is that tablets don’t perform all
PC functions well. Anyone who uses a notebook
PC several hours a day to read email, surf the
Web, edit documents, spreadsheets and presenta-
tions, and work with enterprise apps — and that
describes a lot of people — makes heavy use of a
keyboard. Most tablets provide virtual keyboards,
which are only barely adequate for long-duration
touch-typing. Tablets were not designed for typing.
I contend that until tablets offer lightweight and
compact add-on keyboards, business tablet users
will for the most part need notebook or desktop