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Tablets to gobble 35% of the PC market in 2011  (Source: Apple)
Tablets may change the companies that profit in the PC market

There have been a few disruptive forces in the computer market over the years. The netbook really upset the notebook market as users flocked to the cheap and highly portable machines. Apple’s iPad then came along and put a sizeable dent into the market for netbooks (at least according to ASUS).

As more competitors enter the tablet fray, the impact on the computer market will only increase. Goldman Sachs has announced that tablets are one of the most disruptive forces in computing in nearly 30 years. The company says that tablets will eat into the PC market so heavily that they will start a reshuffle in who profits most in the PC industry that is currently dominated by Microsoft and Intel.

Microsoft dominates on the back of its Windows operating system installed on the vast majority of all computers. Despite the fact that Microsoft is huge in the PC market, the company is slow to take on new markets and is currently not offering a version of Windows specifically for consumer-oriented tablets. This leaves a notable window for competitors to seize the market like the iOS-packing iPad and Honeycomb-powered tablets like the Xoom.

The big impact for Intel will come thanks to the fact that the vast majority of processors used inside tablets today are not Intel parts. ARM is the leader in the tablet and smartphone market today. The big reason for this is that the ARM processors user relatively little power leading to better battery life for tablets.

Sachs predicts that both Apple and Google will begin to catch up to Intel and Microsoft thanks to the popularity of tablets.

The Goldman Sachs report noted, "This [wide adoption of tablets] should result in a theoretical loss of 21 million notebooks in 2011 and 26.5 million in 2012." Sachs expects the tablet to cannibalize about 35% of the PC market in 2011 and 33% in 2012.

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RE: Media consumption device
By Thrymm on 4/20/2011 1:43:57 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds spot on!

I for one, have no want or need for one. I can wait till I get home to get access without having this hulking thing around.

RE: Media consumption device
By Tony Swash on 4/20/2011 2:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds spot on!

I for one, have no want or need for one. I can wait till I get home to get access without having this hulking thing around.

That's what I thought. I changed my mind.

I love my MacPro and 30 inch monitor and I love my iPhone and MacBook Pro and I thought the iPad V1 looked cool but was not for me. Then I bought one for my 80 year old aunt and spent a week setting it up for her (she has literally never touched a computer), I didn't really need a week but I found myself constantly picking the damn thing up and kept delaying taking it to my aunt.

Inevitably I decided to get an iPad2. Its true there are many things I would rather do on my MacPro (like the heavy duty photo editing session today) but there is much I would rather do on my iPad and some new ways to interact with technology that I could do not on desktop or with my laptop (or least not comfortably). For example today I got up and used my iPad to watch the BBC news channel whilst eating breakfast, took my tea over to the sofa and kept skimming the news sites, checked my email on the john. Used the great Discovr app to explore some musical connections to a band mentioned in the news, propped the iPad up next to me when I worked tuned to BBC Radio 4, propped it up to read a recipe while I cooked, checked the weather just before I went for a walk. When I got home I streamed a movie to my TV using Airplay and later as it got dark I saw an interesting and bright star and wondered if it was a planet so I opened the live virtual star sky app and held it up to identify what it was I was looking at and later tonight I will read using the iPad in bed.

Other than the virtual sky app there is not much I couldn't have technically done using a laptop but using the iPad was so comfortable and easy compared to using a laptop, the sense of interaction so much more immediate and literally tactile. The whole experience of using an iPad, and this surprised me, transforms the subjective experience of doing common place computer tasks in way that is profound.

It seems to me that the tablet revolution is just that - a revolution and so all attempts to understand it and analyse it using the concepts from the old PC era will fail. That is why most observers so deeply underestimated the impact and potential of the iPad at it's launch. Tellingly its is especially likely that the techie/geek community, i.e. those most enmeshed in the old paradigm, will most underestimate the impact of the revolution.

We are already at the stage when we can talk about tens of millions of people using tablets, soon it will be hundreds of millions and tablets will very rapidly find their way into not just homes but all sorts of workplaces. This is not speculation it is what is actually happening.

It is clear that as the tablet revolution gathers momentum and scale the old PC industry will inevitably be hit, probably hard.

It is early days (the equivalent of about 1984 in the old PC era) and what will be possible as the tablet platforms evolves is not entirely clear - what is clear is that there appears to be huge potential for evolution and innovation in this new platform.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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