Very seldom does a single product change the face of technology. The most notable device to rewrite the definition of technology was the personal computer. It increased productivity, fostered the birth of the Internet, which connected people worldwide, and ultimately became a part of nearly every household. With all of its monumental and iconic contributions to technology, it is facing extinction. The personal computer’s extinction has been accelerated if not entirely implemented by the proliferation of mobile tablets, mainly the introduction of the Apple iPad.
Although the iPad was released in April of 2010, it was actually announced on January 27, 2010 by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. On its first day of being sold, the Apple iPad sold more than 300,000 units and instantly became the must have item. The first iPad featured a 9.7-inch touchscreen display and the Apple A4 processor. Less than a year later in March of 2011, over 15 million iPad tablets were sold, which equated to a hefty $9.5 billion in sales. More importantly, Apple’s iPad dominated the tablet market with over 90% of the tablet market share.
Proliferation of Tablets
When Apple stormed the market with the iPad, other manufacturers scrambled to produce tablet devices to get in on the gold mind Apple had struck. Eventually, more and more mobile devices stormed the market with varying price ranges and capabilities. While the clear choice for a tablet is still Apple’s iPad, several Apple iPad contenders have been gaining ground.
Apple iPad Contenders
- Samsung tablets have emerged as a true competitor for Apple’s iPad. Equipped with the latest version of Google’s Android, each iteration of Samsung’s latest tablet attempts to one-up the current iPad.
- Asus tablets also run Google’s Android operating system and is another major competitor in the tablet market. All Android operating system tablets are currently engaged in a price war, and Asus just fired another shot with the $129 Memo Pad.
- Kindle Fire is the tablet computer version of Amazon’s initial e-book reader. The Kindle Fire has been an attractive option for $200 and runs a version of Google’s Android system. In addition to web browsing capabilities, it offers access to millions of songs, books, movies, and magazines.
- Microsoft undoubtedly suffered the greatest hit from the proliferation of the iPad. However, even the personal computer operating system behemoth, Microsoft, is attempting to stake a claim in the tablet market. Microsoft’s version of a tablet is the Surface RT, which offers consumers both a a laptop and a detachable and touchscreen tablet. Bolstered by Windows 8, consumers can choose the traditional desktop mode or the new Windows Metro.
Growing Tablet Shipments
In the first quarter of 2013, the IDC reported that worldwide tablet sales have increased 142.4% from the previous year. The 49.2 million tablet shipments in Q1 of 2013 exceeds the shipments from the first two quarters of 2012. These numbers show Apple owns 39.6%; Samsung 17.9%; Asus owns 5.5%; Amazon 3.7%; and Microsoft owns 1.8% of the tablet market share based on 2013 first quarter numbers.
Happy Trails Personal Computer
Thriving tablet sales, led by Apple’s iPad, are indicators to the changing of the face of technology. According to the program manager for IDC’s Mobility Trackers, Ryan Reith, “Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and applications and ecosystems that power them. Although technology is synonymous for change, very few ever imagined Apple’s iPad being on the helm of the ship of evolution, while the staple household and business commodity, the personal computer, is left behind.