As Apple’s new iPad 3 looms large, some see decline of personal computers

“The chief executive of Apple, Timothy D. Cook, has a prediction: the day will come when tablet devices like the Apple iPad outsell traditional personal computers,” Nick Wingfield reports for The New York Times. “His forecast has backing from a growing number of analysts and veteran technology industry executives…”

“Tablet sales are likely to get another jolt this week when Apple introduces its newest version of the iPad, which is expected to have a higher resolution screen,” Wingfield reports. “With past iterations of the iPad and iPhone, Apple has made an art of refining the devices with better screens, faster processors and speedier network connections, as well as other bells and whistles — steadily broadening their audiences.”

Wingfield reports, “Any surpassing of personal computers by tablets will be a case of the computer industry’s tail wagging the dog. The iPad, which seemed like a nice side business for Apple when it was introduced in 2010, has become a franchise for the company, accounting for $9.15 billion in revenue in the holiday quarter, or about 20 percent of Apple’s total revenue. The roughly 15 million iPads Apple sold in that period was more than twice the number it sold a year earlier… Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, estimated that Mr. Cook’s prediction would come true in 2017, but others contend tablets will be on top sooner than that.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better,” – Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, February 16, 2012

27 Comments

    1. Mobile computing is not only the future, but it is here now and Windows sales charts illustrate that. Why don’t some of these idiots see that?

      I’m sure it’s because they are vested in a world view that fills their mind and pays their bills, and they resist changes to that view through the default human mechanisms of self-deception and confirmation bias, instead of dusting off their higher cognitive skills…but they’re lazy.

  1. No kidding. I don’t think it’s as much the end of the PC as it is the broadening of information technology choices. Such blanket statements are without merit. What we are witnessing isn’t the end of the personal computer, it’s the end of the Windows hegemony. Instead of being forced to rely upon Windows for business, we are opening up to standards based computing. The cloud don’t care as long as your browser is compatible.

    We are at the end of the Cretaceous period as far as Windows is concerned. IT is undergoing its own climate change and the biggest dinosaurs are bellowing from their respective tar pits.

    Going forward, Windows will no longer be the foundation upon which enterprise solutions are built. It will no longer be important for businesses to be compatible with Microsoft Windows. Due to cloud based services, organizations and individuals will have choices. In fact, it will become more important for Windows itself to maintain compatibility with the standards of the world. Microsoft won’t be able to simply subvert standards via its embrace and corrupt methodology. You can’t embrace a cloud. 😉

    As the older IT people die out, or get replaced due to lack of vision and imagination, IT departments will stop marching in lockstep to build Redmond specified, blessed, and proprietary solutions. The cloud is OS agnostic.

    Instead of Windows compatibility, issues like app availability and user experience will become important. If your company is using Salesforce.com for CRM, browser compatibility is important. App availability is important. Windows is utterly irrelevant. Even when organizations find it necessary to build their own solutions, they will build cloud based services hosted by cloud hosting companies with mobile devices as the targeted delivery platform.

    Did the iPad bring all of this about? No. Not exactly. The iPad is however, the first truly successful and visible harbinger of these changes. We have been inching toward the “cloud” for many years now, and the iPhone as well as the iPad are the most exciting “cloud clients” to come about.

    1. I agree things are changing but I disagree about ‘the cloud’s.

      It is very much platform dependant in most cases, many cloud providers are scrambling to lock users into their cloud offerings.

    2. The end of the Cretaceous Period, when the Dinosaurs all died out or took to feathered wings and flocked off.

      How apropos. Windows dies out and OS X takes wings and becomes mobile.

  2. My guess is that most of the people who read and comment on MDN articles are not interested in trading their computers for an iPad; but the vast majority of consumers use their computers primarily for tasks that an iPad can handle very easily. Computer sales are bound to decline now that ordinary consumers can access email and the web without a full-fledged computer. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out.

  3. For most people – YES — the iPad is enough of a computer as it provides about 85% of the needs to browse – create simple photos and art – listen to music – play games.
    For those people young and old there is no need for a personal computer – other then the iPad.

    However, for those needing to do office work at home and or developer – there will always be a definite need for a Desktop.

      1. I think you are right 105% of the time.

        I’m interested to understand, is development done on the iPad itself literally; as in creation done on the device?

        I don’t see that of believe so. However, I feel that developers (magazine, gaming, content providers etc.) all have adopted and accepted that iPhone and iPad are here. And definitely are in demand – hence they must conform to some degree and develop for the device — naturally.

        So, yes, scenarios for developers and the teams have shifted and must not ignore the iPad but provide and think about development of it. Kind-of-a-catch 22 or doomed if you don’t.
        The iPad and iPhone are here to stay for a long while anyways. The user base has grown and people want to consume info – play games – listen to music – freely roam and have it all at their finger tips.

        1. My information is not comprehensive, but from what I see, a majority of people on development teams rely on workstations, but a growing number of them are learning new ways to work, by including mobile devices at various points in the work flow.

          And happily moving away from the old model of being nailed to the floor of the cubicle for ten hours, drinking stockpiled Jolt Cola, staring at a poorly shielded screen, wearing holes in the mousepad, and typing until your fingertips bleed.

        2. Suppose development is done like this. Code is written and parsed on the iPad, all the prelims are done there, but when it comes time to compile, link, and execute, that’s done in the cloud, and run in virtualization mode for whatever platform you might be coding for, including iOS.

          You watch your project running on the iPad as if it’s running there, but it’s really running in the cloud.

    1. Yes many people could quite easily get rid off the desk top PC, for many others the iPad is a useful extra to be used in combination with a desk top. I use my iPad for some tasks while on my iPad.

    2. Maybe so but the iPad is evolving with every iteration.

      What will the iPad be able to do in 3 years.

      What won’t the iPad be able to do in 5 years?

      The PC of yesteryear will be long gone in the near future.

      1. You’re ignoring the ergonomic considerations. Hand-held tablet-size “computers” pose a whole new set of potential ergonomic problems for people who use them for hours a day. If you routinely prop them up on a flat surface and connect a portable keyboard, you’re much better off with a MacBook Air. The “PC of yesteryear” will change, but one size does not fit all and never will.

  4. Nick Wingfield is unprofessional journalist and should be fired. He could not even track such very basic thing like that this prediction is not Cook’s, but Jobs’ initially (May 2010).

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