iPad

Why iPad popularity is slowing PC sales

Erik Eckel makes a strong case for how iPads can be credited with slowing PC sales (as well as killing the netbook buzz). What do you think? Is the iPad really a killer device?

It's no secret, at least no longer, that Apple's iPad tablet computer is adversely impacting PC sales. Apple's sold 25 million of the devices. That's 25 million units of a product that did not even exist some 15 months ago.

It may be no stretch to suggest that the iPad single-handedly killed the faddy netbook buzz PC manufacturers were so thankful for just a few quarters ago. HP and Dell are even among those said to be suffering, according to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek report. There's, in fact, a term for iPad PC sales cannibalization now: the iPad effect. Even Gartner has commented on the trend.

Some say the iPad's effect is overblown. I say it isn't. But just why is the iPad proving so popular, including for business users?

Is it because the iPad is a sexy gadget many wish to flaunt at the local coffee house or board room meeting? Hopefully not.

Is it because the iPad is typically less expensive than a full-blown computer? That's certainly not hurting iPad sales, especially during challenging economic periods when organizations are tempted to lower technology costs.

Is it because the iPad is an easy-to-use intuitive computer? That helps, certainly.

But the primary reason iPads are selling so well and displacing other technology investments is, I believe, because they combine several needed and critical elements into a single flexible platform that easily performs double duty. Don't forget small businesses constitute the lion's share of the U.S. economy. There are a lot of them out there.

While many large enterprise organizations are busy performing exploratory iPad studies, studying iPad specifications, preparing iPad task force project schedules, organizing steering committees whose purpose will be to select a committee to determine an iPad's business capabilities and attempting to strategically tie an iPad's functionality to core business objectives and calculate corresponding quarterly return on investment ratios, small businesses are simply deploying the devices. And, they're finding they work and perform really, really well.

My consulting firm has seen businesses-across a vast spread of vertical markets-adopt the iPad with unanticipated rapidity. They're doing so because the business owners, managers, technicians, field service personnel and other employees desire a single device that can leverage RDP connectivity in the field to connect them to a mainline business application housed on a preexisting terminal server.

They're tapping the iPad's optional built-in 3G connectivity to provide newfound connectivity in the field at reasonable cost. They're leveraging the device's ability to access Exchange-powered email, calendaring and contacts wherever they might be without having to lug around a laptop. They're discovering readily accessible applications available at low cost that better enable their businesses to manage daily operations and challenges.

These SMB owners and employees are enjoying a simple factor others may be overlooking in importance: iPads are convenient for personal tasks, too. Today's workforce blurs lines between personal time and professional responsibilities. In large enterprises the lawyers and HR reps are quick to get involved determining what constitutes fair use for this, whether an employee can be tasked with performing specific work-related tasks at night without being subjected to overtime requirements, what constitutes appropriate business-use for this corporate-provided device, etc.

Small businesses? They don't care. They're more agile. They're more willing to just do something -- anything --  in a crappy economy that rewards fresh thinking, ingenuity, and elbow grease. They just want a device they can use to sell an HVAC system in a client's home, track down the trim package or price of a new car on the auto lot, prepare an estimate at a client site, provide patient care in a suburban medical office (with all the HIPAA-protected data on a secured terminal server) and to perform other common business responsibilities during the workday. After hours, users can use their iPads to access personal email, Facebook, and the Internet and maybe read a book (via the Nook, Kindle or iBook apps) or even to stream a Netflix movie. The iPad fulfills all these tasks exceedingly well.

Skeptical? Just ask Acer's former CEO. I think he'll tell you Acer missed the boat by not working more aggressively to invest in tablet technologies itself.

Related reading:

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

80 comments
jck
jck

a) Businesses are buying less product of all sorts b) Businesses are not buying $700 iPads instead of $500 Dell Desktops as a replacement c) It's the "in thing" right now. iPads are nice, but as soon as a real cheap Google-based pad is available...Apple will start to slip.

justwippet
justwippet

I've owned an iPad 2 since the week they were released. I can say that it's both a wonderful tool and often a pain in the tush. It does everything that a PC/laptop can do, just not quite as well in many instances. It's fine for basic surfing - but lack of Flash is an annoyance. Typing is OK - but nowhere near as good as a full-sized keyboard. File management is non-existant. A couple of times a week I'll find myself reaching for my laptop to perform some task that the iPad either cannot do or cannot do as well as my laptop. Sure, I could probably work-around the shortcomings or download yet another app to perform a function that is native to Windows...but why should/would I? Oh, and let???s not forget that you need a PC or Mac running iTunes just to activate the device in the first place. So, where does that leave the iPad in the grand scheme of things? For someone with basic computer skills who doesn't know that there's something missing it's great. For the IT professional? It's a nice addition so we don't always have to fire up a laptop or PC. For specialized use with a custom app (think doctors' offices) it's perfect. As an all-around PC killer? No way. Not yet.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

Almost every article I read about the iPad includes some statement about its low expense/value. At $400-$900 I can't really see that the iPad is that great of a deal. Local stores have Intel Core i-3 packages with 20" LCD and printers in the $600 range, so cannibalization (if it really exists) of desktop sales can't be on price point. If anything I consider the iPad to be expensive for what it is, a large iPod. I???ll admit to being a PC guy, so for my money the Acer Iconia W500 is where I went. So for $500 I have a 10??? tablet with detachable keyboard running full Windows 7 OS. Want instant on? No problem just sleep the tablet vs. shutting down. It springs back to live just as fast as an iPad. I will admit battery life is less, but I have yet to need more than the 5 hours I get surfing/emailing.

mishkafofer
mishkafofer

Well, email me your Econometric output (SPSS or other). I want to learn how you made that conclusion.

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

In a global recession people have less money in there pockets,less credit and no confidence.Individual decisions to purchase are resticted by resources.They buy an ipad because they have a laptop,smart phone or two.They put off the renewal of the laptop to acquire a ipad because it offers something different.They will renew their laptop its a resource question not a question about mutually different designs for primary and secondary adopters.Clearly apple thinks that you will stop spending on everywhere else in your lives just to acquire all their products.

ExecLeaderCoach
ExecLeaderCoach

I've been watching the iPad craze evolve. At first, it was "WOW! this thing is great, I only use it now, no more PC." Then, slowly, I watched as folks took out their iPad, then their Keyboard (lots of them are available now) and some even a mouse. All of a sudden, the convenience is greatly diminished as all the accessories are carried to overcome the touch keyboard. I'm happy to stick with my inexpensive Netbook. Works for me!

whoiskevin
whoiskevin

Rdp? And be productive. If a technician shows up and tries to do work with an iPad I'll have to insist on cutting the rate....drastically. A touch screen is not productive. As for the reason for the effect. Same as the netbook effect on laptop sales. A fad. It will slow down as the new wears off and everyone has to actually get work done.

christian_minich
christian_minich

It seems to do everything a pc does and it's more convenient because you don't turn it off; it's always instantly ready, and it's small and portable. I'm not sure it's a good investment, though, because each year a better one makes you want to upgrade prematurely.

adornoe
adornoe

Lip service was paid to the fact that, the economy has something to do with people purchasing iPads in place of PCs. PCs are generally higher priced than the iPad, and people don't have the money to get an $800 - $2000 laptop/desktop. Furthermore, for most people, the PC and/or Macs from 3 or 4 or 5 years ago, are still quite adequate for most of their computing needs, and they don't need to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. XP and Vista computers, with dual core technology and 2-4 GB main memory and 500GB hard-drives, can do most of what people need a computer to do. Windows 7 machines would be redundant, and thus, whatever money people might have had to spend, is being spent on the lower cost iPads. A combination of tablet/smartphone/older-PC, is still overkill for most people, so upgrading their PCs is unwarranted. I don't see it as "iPads/tablets taking sales away from PCs". It's the economy making people smarter and more frugal with their spending for computers and other hardware.

Stalemate
Stalemate

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20061763-37.html "The conventional wisdom that says tablet sales are eating into low-priced notebooks is most assuredly incorrect," said Baker. "The over $500 Windows consumer notebooks market is where PC sales have been impacted the most, with a 25 percent decline from October 2010 to March 2011."

dwdino
dwdino

It is interesting the differing perspectives and experiences. I for one, discount iPAD users. If somone walks into a design meeting and brings one out, right or wrong, less credence is givien. On the usability front, they are fine for limited tasks. For most consumers, a current desktop is overkill. I have server farms running on nearly the same hardware. Gen 3 devices may finally have it right. The premise of Windows 8 will yield large benefits if the appropriate hardware is developed. The convergence of a tablet and notebook device, allowing both types of interaction and performance, can change the computing landscape.

williams
williams

Build a better mouse trap.................

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

yet to find a ROI on owning one, so not got one yet. I keep up with all the latest technology, I have too. But I try to minimize as much in my life, keeping as simple as possible, only using where need to save time, effort, etc but do not want to get bogged down keeping up with the latest toy, if that is all it would be. I find myself retreating from texting, IM'ing, etc more and more lately, I would rather get a phone call now than an e-mail. I use e-mail the most, I can fire off a message at my convenience, check messages at my convenience, but then I do not keep that up on my desktop at all time, unless needing to get info from someone urgently and waiting on it, I only check and send messages at a few intervals during the day. Do not need to have immediate access at my finger tips, not necessary when sipping Moitos at the pool all afternoon anyway :-) Well, Then maybe I could order that Pizza for delivery if had one right now without getting out of my chair, Darn....

techrep
techrep

Me? I use desktop(s), laptop(s) and netbook as appropriate for my task/ situation at the time. My wife has an iPad for games, YouTube and Facebook. That about sums it up in my view - for serious work, use a serious computer of whatever variety; for playing games/ amusing yourself use an iPad. I do think that at some stage I will get a tablet - but it will need to be free of crippling aspects ie 1) work with flash, 2) allow me to run apps of my own choosing (not limited to those of Apple's choosing) and 3) be a bit more portable than the iPad (otherwise I may as well carry my netbook, which does items 1 and 2 already).

kwabula
kwabula

I think the IPAD is a very useful gadget. It definitely has an effect on PC Sales, albeit a nergative one. That effect is expected. If all you want to do can be done from an IPAD, then it's logical to get one. I think people buying IPADs are not necessarily trying to replace their PCs. I have 3 PCs, but I am getting an IPAD so that I can show off at McDonald, well actually it's cool as I can easily access my mail, read documents, send emails while on the train. Is IPAD killing the PC? Hell no! IPAD is here to meet a specific need, that of the mobile user. The PC continues to what it has always done. The PC sales have slowed because it's new gadget that meets a need previouly ignored. For some, the IPAD is all they will need (a good number of people just do web browsing, emailing, word processing, internet shopping, etc) because the IPAD caters for all their needs. But alot of users have computing needs that cannot be fulfilled by the IPAD alone. Rather than killing the PC, the IPAD has come to co-exist alongside the PC and will be more popular to a segment of users than the PC, and less popular to yet another segment of users than the PC, depending on each segment's needs. This is a good thing because the PC finally has a real competitor, NOT killer (as it will never kill the PC) Why does it look like the PC is being killed? Well, the IPAD has not been there. It is a new techy gadget. The PC has been there. I

Ed19kings
Ed19kings

I loved this part of the article While many large enterprise organizations are busy performing exploratory iPad studies, studying iPad specifications, preparing iPad task force project schedules, organizing steering committees whose purpose will be to select a committee to determine an iPad???s business capabilities and attempting to strategically tie an iPad???s functionality to core business objectives and calculate corresponding quarterly return on investment ratios, small businesses are simply deploying the devices. And, they???re finding they work and perform really, really well. That summed it up really well. As a small business owner I made the decision to try the iPad to see if it would work for me in my business. I have to say that it is probably one of the best purchases ever. Whilst email is readable on the iPhone, the iPad makes it a breeze to read. And articles like this are perfect on the iPad screen. For support for clients LogMeIn on this screen size works extremely well and it is easy to use on a lap in the car on the side of the road, whereas a laptop generally means a trip to the passenger seat. All my pricing spreadsheets are easily available as are price lists. Evernote makes a great way to take work notes for each client while on site and synchs back to the office. I can print web articles to PDF and store for later reference as all articles become searchable. I can log on to the office computer remotely to raise an invoice to the client at the end of each visit and it can be in their inbox before I leave their carpark. Whilst in the office I use the iPad as a third screen and an email client while doing work on the two office screens. It is definitely a great tool, a great addition to the work environment and a far better tool than I originally anticipated. For me it certainly has taken the place of a laptop but not necessarily that of a PC. Not yet, anyway, but with OTA updates and cloud backups and synching that may yet happen in later versions.

colecrew
colecrew

Interesting...I don't know anyone that owns one.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Why would you say today's PC is overkill? There are plenty of choices out there. Hell, you still see them selling Pentium laptops and Pentium dual-core desktops. Those ain't overkill and not that expernsive either. A tower for under $400. Tack on a cheap monitor and you're set.

Slayer_
Slayer_

The vast majority of personal desktops are seriously underutilized. Most people could easily get along with a 500mhz computer and 512 MB of RAM. A small percentage of users that enjoy visual media would need a beefier system, and an even smaller percentage need a gaming system. Most laptops are way over powered as well, and yet still feel sluggish, usually due to operating system, hard drive bottle necks, or both. Hard drive technology hasn't really kept up with the fat of modern programs. I used to get a kick out of my old 200mhz machine, only 64mb of Ram, and it would boot Win95 in 8 seconds, from Post to desktop. Just because I replaced the old 3 gig HDD with a modern 40gig HDD. The 3 gig took almost 4 minutes to boot. But back to my point, our technology has advanced enough to make those old tablets with full desktop OS's a possibility now, previously, the cost to make one was crazy expensive. That's why tablets failed before. I do want a tablet with full desktop capabilities, but to support a touch interface properly. Oh, and that comment about how an iPad is cheaper than a desktop.... Where???? Here is a desktop from best buy, a company that notoriously triple over charges on its products. Even if you have to buy a separate monitor, you come out ahead. http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/zotac-zotac-desktop-computer-featuring-atom-d510-processor-zboxhd-id11-zboxhd-id11/10169717.aspx?path=390f979b1a19fd18edd29f0d2f22e812en02 This is the cheapest IPad I could find at Best buy http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/apple-apple-16gb-ipad-2-with-wifi-white-in-store-only-mc979c-a/10165255.aspx?path=3b1ef1be64b5574e822333327fcde5caen02 -Edit Hah, just saw a funny typo on best buys website about the eco friendly computer. # Base Features # Processor Type Atom D510 # Processor Speed 1.67 MHz # Processor Cores 2 I think my wrist watch has more processing power.

wordwytch
wordwytch

People's disposable income is much smaller than it use to be. Tablet PC's cost as much if not more than desktops or laptops these days. So, between the "ooh pretty shiny" effect of the iPads or Xooms and smartphones, people have too many choices and not enough money. So, they're buying the latest 90 day wonder. Just before that newness wears off, the tech industry touts the New latest and greatest 90 day wonder. That more than anything is the real reason for the shift in sales.

Too-Tired Techie
Too-Tired Techie

Devices like the iPad, and true Workstation computers are at opposite ends of the user spectrum. The iPad is a great device to ACCESS existing information, ie, documents, email, websites, blogs, social media, e-books, games, some productivity apps. But fuhgedaboutit for GENERATING/CREATING serious content with programs like PhotoShop/AfterEffects/CAD/3D work, sound/video editing, or any serious number/document crunching, 9-5 work. Most consumers aren't creating content (other than casual social media and blog entries, etc) so the iPad works for them. But for professionals who work daily in Adobe CS apps or AutoCAD or 3D or scientific visualization/design apps, the iPad is just eye candy for after hours play. For the sales guy or the field rep who needs to look stuff up or place orders, the iPad is perfect. For information and content creation, give me 12-24 GB of RAM on 64-bits of multi-core goodness with multiple monitors, please...

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

To each his own. I prefer carrying around my laptop rather than putting up with the limitations and frustrations of pads. But I think pads are just fads, that are here to stay. :-)

DSG7
DSG7

To say that the iPad is killing PC sales is trying to say that one single event, or one single word, started World War 2; there were a lot of mitigating factors that came together and affected the overall timeline of events, resulting in what occurred. The tone of the article leads me to believe the comparison is between iPads and full, out-of-the-box unit sales, which is a false correlation as it doesn't address all the variables. I agree with richcobrien, in that many people aren't moving away from their established PCs because they still work and the economy dissuades new PC purchases and instead pushes cost reduction processes that don't usually entail such an expenditure. This can range from changing a business' network layout to better utilise virtualisation or cloud technologies, or a single user adding or upgrading a peripheral or internal component. An iPad is bought because it fills a need, whether it be perceived or real. It also fills a niche that PCs don't cater to. However, so do a lot of other tablet PCs on the market; why isn't this article titled "Why Tablet PC popularity is slowing PC sales"? I'm writing this on an 8-year-old Dell Dimension 3000. If I max out what I can do to improve the performance (a ??50 graphics card is in the works, it already has a 2GB RAM upgrade and an extra hard drive), I'll be battling with my employer ("why do you need a new one? We haven't got the money") to replace it with another desktop PC, not an iPad, because it'll be what I need to get my work done - and there are plenty of PCs out there which do the trick for less than an iPad.

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

The money to spend on IT purchases is finite, so when people buy the iPad or any other device, they don't buy new PCs. It's only much later that some realize that the iPad simply does not have the capabilities they thought it did. Perhaps one day the tablet will have what I need. I am happy with my Xoom, but it could be so much more with the inclusion of some very basic additions like a regular USB and Ethernet ports.

richcobrien
richcobrien

While the iPad is contributing to reducing sales of PCs it's certainly a minor factor in that reduction. PC sales are diminishing because A) Price, read economy. B) Older PCs are still working fine, read XP. C) IT Transformation read cost reduction i.e. cloud computing. All these forces are having significant market share impact. The iPad does extend to markets where PC product could not, but is it killing the PC, hardly.

MacNewton
MacNewton

As soon as the patent wars are over then Apple can start licensing agreements with Google for ripping off there IP. Then for every Drod powered Pad/phone knockoff sold, Apple will make money.

MacNewton
MacNewton

Do you use a Mouse or the track Pad on your laptop?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Tablets are not intended to meet the same needs as a desktop but rather to make mobile some of the functions of the desktop--such as uploading images from your camera's data card, hand-carry and display presentations for sales or meeting purposes, take notes at said meetings, read and update reports,... honestly, there are so many mobile purposes for a tablet device as compared to a laptop or desktop that it becomes the perfect supplemental device to them. Why carry 20 pounds of computer and paperwork when 1.5 pounds of tablet gives you access to everything you need on the road? Sure, you won't be able to fully design the next Falling Water on one, but you could sketch out the concept and take it back to your desktop to realize in AutoCad. You may not be able to engineer the next energy storage system to wean cars and planes off of coal and oil, but you can sketch the concept and take it back to your PC to do the heavy processing. You've got to quit trying to see a tablet as a replacement for a PC and realize that it makes a near-perfect clip board for checklists, editing, previewing and simple sketching--in many ways better than paper because you don't have to waste time trying to copy your ideas into the PC when you return to your desk, you simply synch it in and go to work. A tablet, then, eliminates the need for multiple expensive desktops or desktop/laptop combinations for travel along with all the weight such packages impose on their users.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Anybody spending that either doesn't know how to shop or is deliberately purchasing a specific hardware configuration. Good desktops that will meet most users needs can be had for less than $500.

MacNewton
MacNewton

lol, sorry about that, but you left that door open! - If you travel around a big icy like Vancouver, you will see people form all walks of life, using one. Next time you have to visit you GP, you may see one or two people reading a book, or viewing a movies. Coffee shops like Timmy's or Starbucks will also have someone using one. I was at a trade show and the sign-in desk personal were using a few for logging in members. Trains, planes and buses and also a good for supporting a iPad.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but I'm assured they're selling, so someone somewhere must be buying them. With a double-digit unemployment rate and a sluggish housing market, South Carolinians apparently are spending money on other things.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

And at 25 million units in 15 months, that averages to 1.6 million units per month since release, almost double the original few months' sales performance. I know the netbook did something similar for a couple years, but the netbook filled a perceived vacuum in the digital market--an area the tablet is now commanding. I'm not sure that something better can't come along, but it seems the tablet fills that market far better than the netbook did, so it would have to be something really significant to unseat the tablet. The only thing I could imagine is a true 'personal' computer that is simply a part of you and doesn't need any external physical components.

MacNewton
MacNewton

Not next year, but in 2013 Apple will have there "iPad Air" on sale. In a year or two people will be ready for a full OS "Lion" powered tablet. It may be able to run bootcamp so it will be an instant replacement table for both M$ users and Mac. I foresee this product being tested in the back rooms at Apple HQ as I type this little snippet. Think I'm crazy, maybe so, but time will tell.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

As such, your argument makes no sense. Tablets are intended to supplement the workstation by allowing things like tabletop brainstorming, presentation, marketing and simple but effective note-taking. Adding a voice recording capability into the device (available through any number of available apps) can mean that no point gets lost in a planning or production meeting. It also means that effort does not need to be duplicated as the note-taker then doesn't have to transfer hand-written notes into a workstation--just toss the file over wirelessly. This is why so many people can't see the potential of a tablet device; they want it to be an all-out workstation which it can never be or they assume it's too limited to be productive in any manner. Answer me this: was that paper and pencil clipboard you used to carry around a full-powered workstation? Think about all the documents you carried so you could annotate inspections, mark off checklists or simply review and hand-edit a report. If you think of the tablet as an electronic clipboard, you'd be much closer to what a tablet can do in the enterprise.

PzR
PzR

I agree. The ipad is cooler and cuter than my netbook at Starbucks, but on biz trips, I need to be able to do EVERYTHING on one device! The ipad is fine for my mostly cloud based business, but traveling (beyond Starbucks) I need a much more versatile device. The netbook wins every time! And is it just me or is everyone slowed by the touchscreen? I type WAAAY faster on the netbook's mini-keyboard than I do on the ipad...

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

A) Price, read Economy: While that analysis seems viable, the problem is that even though the industry average has maintained an almost zero level of growth for a couple years now, Apple's desktops and laptops (not counting the iPad) have maintained a 15%-30% growth factor for the last five years--far above any competitor for the same form factors. B) Older PCs, i.e.Windows XP: While I agree that Windows XP was the best version of Windows until 7, any analysis of web usage shows that W2K and XP usage are dropping rapidly--and Win7 isn't balancing that loss completely. This implies that Windows itself is losing market and Ed Bott's own article today confirms that conclusion. Quite literally, Apple, not the iPad alone, is having an effect along with Android's entries into the market.

kenrblan1901
kenrblan1901

Seeing the commercials for the Atrix, I was genuinely intrigued and almost excited about the possibilities. Then I got to use a demo unit at work (I support mobile phones for email). You can't run the applications full screen on the docking station with the exception of the web browser. The phone applications run in a window the same size as the phone screen. If you want a larger browsing experience, a tablet device does that just as well and will run its applications full screen. To relate the Atrix experience to cars, it would be like buying a Toyota Prius, and then putting mud tires on it only to find out that it just won't work well off-road. It takes more than a simple accessory to make the intended increase in functionality work. Maybe Motorola can do more to develop the concept into something truly useful.

adornoe
adornoe

and the PC can run circles around the iPad, why would someone spend the $500 to $800 on an iPad or some other tablet? Doesn't make sense. Now, when it comes to tablets, mostly it's the people with disposable cash that are purchasing them, because, most other people are having a hard time during this economic downturn, and they're not going to spend whatever money they do have on upgrading when the equipment they have now serves them well or adequately. Also, the better PC and laptops and Macs, are priced in the $700+ range, and most well-equipped PCs or Macs sell for over $800 and the high-end PCs/Macs sell for over $2000. That's not to say that people need to get the $800+ PCs, but they're not going to get the best of the lot for a lower price. However, my premise still remains, and that is that, people don't have the money in these economic hard-times to be making new PC/Mac purchases, and therefore, they'll hold on to what they have if those things can still do the job. Getting an iPad or tablet is novelty and redundant to a lot of people, but there will always be those who believe that it's a "must have" product when it really isn't. BTW, my last computer purchase, back in February, was a desktop, with six-core CPU, 2TB hard-drive, 16GB main memory, Windows 7 Pro. So, where can you get that kind of PC for less than $800? A $500 - $800 PC can be purchased, but likely with half the specs, which admittedly, might be enough for most people. But, if they were to be happy with half the specs, they might as well keep what they currently have, and that's essentially what's been happening with the PC market, where people don't feel the need to "upgrade" right now.

wordwytch
wordwytch

I was speaking metaphorically, but in all honesty while it may not be a totally new thing, there are those releases that qualify in the same manner. Otherwise why would Apple have gone for the iPad2 if all was going so well. Why did Motorola go up in size on it's tablet? Why did phones go from no dial and a person to connect parties to something straight out of science fiction? We live in a time where development moves so rapidly, it is something to wonder at. As for new inventions, they will show up. The question is what form will it take? When they arrive, they will be the new 90 Day Wonder.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Reading that bit about '90 days' was another 'Huh?' moment. As to something better coming along, that's why I remain on the sidelines.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Tablets are intended to supplement the workstation ... This is why so many people can't see the potential of a tablet device; they want it to be an all-out workstation ..." I underestimated the willingness of people to spend money on an additional device that provided mobility but offered only a subset of the features of the device they already owned.

adornoe
adornoe

and my point is that, people will be holding on to what they currently have which serves all or most of their purposes, a lot better than the iPad or any other tablet. My point is that, most people don't need the kind of hardware represented by a tablet, especially when they already have something more powerful in a 3 or 5 year old desktop or laptop or even netbook. My point was also that, it makes no sense to purchase a $500 - $800 tablet when a much more powerful computer can be had for approximately the same price. Now, when it comes to my 64 bit Win7 PC, I'm a regular user, just like most people out there, and I'm also a developer, and what I'm developing will require huge storage and huge main memory and really fast response times because my application, if and when I decide to implement it, might serve millions of people at the same time. My little six-core PC will not cut it, but, it's a start. Admittedly, most people are not in the same category of user as I am. However, the specs for my PC will become standard for most computers sold, and applications will be developed that will use the power in them.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"A $500 - $800 PC can be purchased, but likely with half the specs, which admittedly, might be enough for most people." That was my point, that most people don't need that kind of hardware, either at home or at work. I assume you bought the 64-bit version of W7. What are you doing with this puppy, editing video? CADD?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I think everyone here can remember how actively the computer market has been striving for true mobility pretty much from day one. I personally remember seeing one of the first 'portable' desktops that weighed nearly 50 pounds and was bigger than your typical rack-mounted oscilloscope. The Apple IIc was intended to be a portable desktop--even more portable than the rest of the II line. Laptops started in the latter half of the 1980s with LCD screens that were only good for text and 2-bit graphics--gradually increasing to 8-bit greyscale and finally color over the next decade. Even now, the Amazon Kindle has a display little better than those older portables with the advantage that it doesn't need to keep a charge on the screen to hold the bit state. Battery life on these different portables started with none at all (plug in or else) to a couple hours to now some laptops capable of 6 hours or more--though even now such extended charge cycle is less common than it could be. Tablets have effectively doubled the laptop's battery life while maintaining remarkably good video display capabilities. I will agree that science fiction has inspired many of our modern technologies and will continue to do so. Star Trek has been an amazing influence with the original series' "Padd" to the Next Generation's touch and voice controls. Such sci-fi is becoming an accepted fact of life as these devices invade every aspect of our lives from our desktops to our cars. Even so, the metaphor of being a 90-day wonder falls flat with much of this because it's not disappearing. The Popiel Pocket Fisherman is a 90-day wonder--where is it today? But the flip-back communicator from Star Trek became the flip-type cell phone that is still the most prevalent type of cell phone at the moment and with certain protective cases even our modern smart phones maintain that look at apparent functionality. Our smart phones are rapidly becoming Star Trek's "tricorder", able to plug in sensor devices to display diagnostic information for both medical and mechanical devices (ODBII connectors are now available to troubleshoot your car). So, 90-day Wonders? Which will end up short-lived fads and which will end up affecting life as we know it for decades down the road?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

especially since I don't personally have a need for a mobile computing / communications device. The baton can't be passed to me when I'm not even in the race. Professionally, that's someone else's decision.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... and miss the baton when it is passed your way. While I agree that jumping on the bandwagon of every new gadget is counter-productive, you also have to consider what technology may become the foundation for the next platform. I look at todays' cars and don't agree with the hybrid concepts like Prius or Volt, but see strong potential for Tesla and others. The same holds true for computing, where the netbook adhered too strongly to the laptop platform for mobility and Windows adhered too strongly to the desktop platform for functionality--each giving much of the existing capabilities without offering enough progress to succeed. Based on what I'm seeing with both OS X Lion and Win8, the mobile and desktop OSes are melding to build a new platform easier to use at the desktop and mobile enough to become fully functional on a tablet. The tablet will become, in essence, an extension of the desktop rather than a stand-alone device that has to be manually synched. What is done on one will be automatically visible on the other and vice-versa. I won't say that desktops as we know them are going away, but rather that the desktop will become part of a two-piece computing platform which are hinted at by more than one of Apple's own patents and which Motorola is demonstrating with its smartphone/docking unit now on the market. Personally I think that Motorola is thinking backwards--the main processing power should be in the base station--but they are showing that this kind of desktop/mobile concept has a valid future.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... but the fact that that subset is available when and where you need it without the added bulk and clumsiness of cabling and operation even as you travel on your own two feet give you capability no other form factor can provide. Yes, there have been full-OS powered tablets for a decade now, but their functionality was as severely limited by that OS as others say current tablets are limited by the lack of that full OS. The two OSes have been mutually incompatible up to now--we'll have to see how things progress in the future.

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