PC will still exist since we have SW application that needs a powerful machine like Photoshop and CAD. Tablets are in demand today because of the rise of the cloud computing technology - wherein users can easily access anything without storing data/information in the device.
Pen based full functional tablet computers were on the market since 2001. They have never taken off. With modern tablet computers the functionality is minimized to essentials and a small screen with multi-touch makes them very friendly. Besides all that they are very thin and easily portable. I think going back to full function tablet PC (or Mac) would be going backwards most likely loosing sales because of higher price.
By the way, iPad 2 has an optional Bluetooth keyboard with a upright dock.
Tablets in the current form represent only the first wave of the device. While the demand is quite strong right now I believe the market will begin to change over the next few years as manufacturers add accessories and make them even more functional -- more like notebooks. That second wave is already starting.
One company has introduced a tablet computer that, unlike the iPad, can dock to use a keyboard, offers USB connectivity and maybe all the applications you can use on a normal laptop. iSuppli believes tablets will become more like laptops in future and have the processor, memory and storage of a conventional notebook. That will hurt the laptop market though it won't supplant it.
Tablet computers similar to iPad in design opened up a new market for portable communication/entertainment device. This new market may affect sales of laptops only from point of cost. Some percentage of customers will not be able to afford both. Others will update their desktops to allow for personal cloud computing. Tablet computers like iPad will see the largest growth this year, not doubt about it. Just like these devices created new market they have created also new market for application specific usage from inventory control to science and entertainment. The growth is there and market saturation is not visible yet for at least a year.
I agree that tablets only compliment PC's and Laptops. Tablets do have many advantages over a bulky laptop or even a smaller netbook. At the same time they do have many disadvantages that the business world wants. I know of many people who use tablets while on a plane, only to transfer the data to their laptop when they reach their destination. As great as some of these tablets are, I don't see them replacing laptops, just like laptops haven't replaced the PC.
You nailed the key criterion investors and companies will use for deciding "where to put their money." Growth. We should not be surprised if higher sales of tablets eat into notebook and desktop sales. It is inevitable that there will be some impact because some people may opt for a desktop at home and, instead of a notebook, the tablet for mobile computing.
The same calculation is being made by components manufacturers who must constantly review current market demand, new products, consumer and business preferences to know which section to support, how much resources to put behind it and which OEM to place their bet on. This is already happening in the tablet market and, as we all know, whichever company initially picked and supported Apple (Foxconn, for instance) and stayed on the company's best side is rolling in profit.
Is the debate about replacing PCs with tablets? I dont think so. The debate is about growth. Desktops and Laptops had their boom period and now, just like mobile phones, tablets and smart phones will have a growth story. It is for all to see that companies which invest in a growing market succeed against those who invest in a saturated one. The longer life of PCs and laptops might actually result in less interest from OEMs going forward. For instance, have a look at how the indian market responded to mobile phones as against the landline. Of course, the fixed line phone has the same advantages as that of a desktop PC; Long life, cost, ease of sharing et al. but people still took explosively to mobile phones while the landline network grew at its own pace. I think the difference in growth rates is so large, one has to put the money where the growth is.
While it's true that tablets are becoming increasingly trendy and popular, the PC market has little to worry about.
First of all, tablets aren't really a replacement for a PC, they're a compliment. Just like laptops didn't suddenly destroy the market for desktops, tablets will not destroy the market for PC's. You'll still need a PC.
Secondly, while tablets were surely popular with the attendees of the NY investors conference you attended, the form factor makes far less sense in corporate environments, the developing world, and people/organizations/companies on a budget: PC's in general are cheaper, have a longer life-cycle, are more durable, and more easily shared with others.
Tablets are the latest hip, cool thing but is it the future of personal computing? No, I don't believe so.
Before the first iPad the meaning of a tablet computer was very different. It was the same laptop with touch screen interface. When iPad came out some writers tried to coin a new name the slate computer because this new device was not a laptop and owner could not load any standard programs driven by mouse. All menus were simplified and meanings were streamlined. Somehow the tablet computers died off and the new devices inherited this name. All two millions tablet computers build before the iPad cannot be counted to the sale of the new tablet computers. While somehow industry thinks that Windows operated tablets will gain momentum is not materializing. I see only two major competitors the iPad and new tablets with Android OS. All others will be far behind. Sales of laptops could shrink in advantage of a cloud computing through new tablet computers connected wirelessly to desktops or mainframes. It would be nice to have access to a supper computer just from an iPad anywhere in the world.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.