Back in 2010, a few months after the iPad’s release, Steve Jobs predicted that tablets would eventually overtake PCs. Now, according to updated figures from Gartner, after five years of rather crazy tablet growth and slowly declining PC sales, 2015 will be the year that Jobs’ post-PC dream is finally realized. In 2015, Gartner predicts a total of 320 million tablet sales, versus just 316 million PC sales (desktops and laptops) — and that’s an optimistic figure, too, that presumes businesses will continue to upgrade to Windows 7, and that Windows 9 (probably due in 2015) will drive increased PC sales.
PCs are meant to take a dip between 2013 and 2014 — but it’s actually a much smaller dip (~3%) than in 2012-2013, where PC sales dropped off a cliff (~10%). Gartner says that the increase of PC sales in 2014 (or rather the slowing decline) is mostly due to the retirement of Windows XP and increased adoption of Windows 7. In 2015, traditional laptops and desktops will continue to decline, but “premium ultramobiles” (i.e. ultrabooks) will apparently bolster overall PC sales significantly. Personally, I’m not convinced that 2015 will magically see the PC market suddenly experience its first major recovery in many years — but I guess we’ll see.
In 2010, at the D8 conference, a couple of months after the iPad’s initial release, Steve Jobs predicted that most PCs would eventually be replaced by tablets, much like trucks were replaced by cars in the US:
“We were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and suburban centers, cars got more popular. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around. They’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.”
Zooming out, it’s important to note that both tablets and PCs are small fry compared to mobile phones. In 2015, Gartner is predicting 1.95 billion mobile phone sales — around 70% of which be smartphones. Furthermore, while Microsoft vehemently tries to nurse its ailing PC cash cow, Android is walking away with everything else: Of the 2.4 billion computers (PCs, tablets, phones) sold in 2014, a full 49% (1.17 billion) will run Android. In 2015, Gartner predicts that Android will stretch its lead to 53% (1.37 billion units shipped out of 2.59 billion total).
Bill Gates and the Microsoft Tablet PC prototype way back in 2010. In tech circles, we call this ‘dropping the ball.’
Almost all of these movements can be explained in terms of pricing. In most developed countries, tablet, and smartphone sales are already close to saturation. As hardware costs fall, though, developing nations are getting in on the action; in those countries, a $100 smartphone or tablet is a lotmore attractive than a $200-300 laptop. Android, by virtue of being free, is the OS of choice for these cheaper devices. Apple’s laptops, smartphones, and tablets continue to do well in developed countries and among the nouveau riche in countries like China, but it’s nowhere near enough keep up with Google’s Android. Microsoft, with its tub full of lameducks, is left wondering whether it can actually break into new markets — or whether conventional PCs are its lot in life.
Source : Computer Hardware