The Future is Tablets … and the Future is Already Here

iPadsResearch firm NPD expects that tablet shipments will grow fivefold over the next five years and will overtake notebook shipments within that timeframe. They also predict that Apple’s iOS will still dominate the market, with over 50% marketshare.

This information is all well and good, but it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to see this trend. As the article I linked to summarizes, tablets are quickly becoming the portable PC of choice. But not 5 years in the future – it’s happening today. However, the term “tablets” is far too generic. As I’ve said before (and others are as well), Apple’s iPad so thoroughly dominates the industry that there is no “tablet” market – there is only an iPad market. We’ve already seen that the “iPad Effect” is significantly cutting into PC marketshare. So the reality is that iPads are quickly becoming the portable PC of choice. Research firms are usually fairly conservative in their reports. So we should probably expect that given Apple’s success over the last several years, the predictions by this research firm will probably either happen much quicker or to a degree much bigger than they predict.

This report acknowledges that the tablet market has been dominated by Apple. But in the usual conservative nature of the industry, it also predicts that others will begin to make inroads, believing that the Android operating system will have 40% of the market in five years. However they base this prediction on the assumption that, “competitors become better attuned to consumer preferences and find opportunities to break new ground …” Given the way that Apple’s competitors have yet to figure out why Apple has been and continues to be a runaway success, this assumption is very weak. More likely, given Apple’s lead in the industry, it will be many, many years before anyone can “catch up”, and by then Apple may have moved on to the next big thing. If anyone thinks this isn’t possible, just take a look at the iPod market. Apple still dominates after over 10 years and the battlefield is littered with the corpses of competing devices that failed. Basically the iPod’s only competition are Apple’s own new iOS devices. The iPhone is responsible for any decline in iPod sales, but if you consider the iPhone (and the iPad) to be an iPod, then it obviously isn’t any decline at all.

The bottom line is that the future is already here. We don’t need to wait five years. Apples’s iPad is the future and the present. Other devices are years away from even getting close to where the iPad is today. But many people and business are waiting. And that is a recipe for failure. The New World of Technology gives everyone a chance to get on an even playing field. There are no more excuses for being “technology illiterate”. If you do fall behind, the only person to blame will be yourself.

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