To everyone out there concerned about tablets destroying the PC market -- don't worry. A recent study confirms a poorly kept secret: There is the iPad, and everything else.
The NPD Group (news, site), a research firm focused on consumer information and the retail sector, has released a report indicating that Windows 7 is more to blame for the current state of the PC market than the rise of the tablet.
That's not a misprint. Thousands of PC users skipped Vista and lived with Windows XP as long as possible. Then, when Windows 7 was finally released, those same thousands of PC users flocked to buy new PCs and notebooks.
After all that growth, it's not surprising that the PC market would find itself in a slight recession. It just so happened that the iPad arrived at about the same time as the Windows 7 rush was happening. Therefore, it's not a huge leap to associate the debut of the iPad -- and the exploding tablet market -- as the reason for the weakness in the PC sector.
But Tablets are Still Awesome, Right?
If by tablet you mean the iPad, then yes. Apple is experiencing a backlog of sales on the iPad 2 that even Apple has never experienced. Apple is selling the industry leading tablet faster than the devices can be made.
For other tablet providers -- think Samsung, Research In Motion, and Motorola -- the requested production numbers for the remainder of 2011 are being cut by as much as 20%. That's not good news if you are not Apple. The demand for non-iPad tablets is just not there.
The success of the iPad will follow the same pattern that we saw with the iPhone, and, to a certain extent, the iPod. There was a time when few people had smartphones and those who did were predominantly using Blackberrys.
The unparalled popularity of the iPhone led to the birth and growth of the Android operating system, which has put smartphones in millions of hands that never would have held smartphones otherwise.
The impact on the enterprise is being felt as IT administrators scramble to find ways to accommodate all the different devices that need access to enterprise resources.
I expect the tablet market to follow a similar trajectory. The iPad has opened a new Pandora's box that won't be closed and there will be a smaller market for people who want a tablet but don't (or can't) buy Apple.
My question is: How long will it be before the big plastic phone on your desk is replaced by a durable tablet and a bluetooth headset? Don't push-button phones seem totally antiquated?
What do you think? Is the PC dead? Will tablets ever enable data entry the way a standard keyboard does? Share your thoughts in the comments.