July 4, 2012
Are Tablets Taking Over The PC Market?
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
If you´ve had your eye on one of those new MacBook Pros with a Retina Display or some other PC laptop, you may want to go ahead and pull the trigger. According to a new forecast report from NPD DisplaySearch, laptops may be well on their way to extinction in just 4 years, being rapidly replaced by none other than the sleek and svelte tablet.
According to DisplaySearch, laptop shipments will reach 393 million units by 2017. Not a bad number, mind you, but tablets will surpass this number by 23 million, shipping 416 million units by 2017. While not an overwhelming lead, DisplaySearch forecasts a much smaller 121 million units shipped this year, meaning tablet shipments will grow by more than 3 fold in just 4 years.
Pushing these tablet sales is a popularity in what the DisplaySearch report calls “mature markets,” including North America, Western Europe and Japan. Of all the tablets shipped this year, 66% of them will arrive in one of these 3 countries. Come 2016, these countries will still be demanding around 60% of the world´s tablet shipments.
Richard Shim, senior analysts with NPD´s DisplaySearch recognizes that laptops and tablets share some major similarities in functionality, though consumer preference seems to be leaning towards mobility and sexier tablets.
"Tablet PCs are expected to evolve in form factor and performance," the report said, "making them a compelling alternative to notebook PCs."
Technological advancements in tablet-based computing are also expected to drive the popularity of these mobile devices. For instance, the tablet´s “instant-on” capabilities, as well as an improved battery life and shrinking case are all factors which will drive the popularity of these devices, not to mention multi-core processors, increasingly sophisticated operating systems, and growing application libraries.
NPD´s DisplaySearch isn´t the first to make such predictions, however. Tim Cook announced in February that it was his belief that the tablet market would one day surpass the laptop market, admitting that the best-selling iPad has already begun to cannibalize Mac sales.
"The Mac is still growing, and I think it could still grow, but I strongly believe that the tablet market will surpass the unit sales of the PC market," said Cook. "It's just a matter of the rate and speed and time that that happens."
Though the iPad has taken some Mac sales away from Apple, Cook doesn´t think the PC industry will be dying anytime soon. “That doesn't mean that the PC is going to die," said Cook. "I don't predict the demise of the PC industry."
So far, this year has been a huge one for tablets. Normally a market reserved for the iPad alone, Microsoft has announced their intention to enter the tablet market with a device all their own, though they have yet to officially announce pricing or release dates. Google also announced a new tablet option in the Nexus 7, which starts at $199. A 7-inch tablet with no profit built in, the Nexus 7 is expected to compete more with Amazon´s negative-profit 7-inch Kindle Fire.