Nothing Important Happened Today

Mike Halsey MVP
Mar 3, 2011
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Apple, Companies

I took delivery of my new Windows 7 Tablet today, an ExoPC Slate, on the day ironically when Apple unveiled the iPad 2 to the world.  It's thinner, lighter and has two cameras.  The latter we already knew and the former two should have been expected of a new device.  But what does the arrival of the new iPad actually mean for the people of planet Earth?

The iPad has so far sold extremely well, in the last year Apple have sold 15 million units (though in fairness these will be units sold to retailers and not actual units in end-users hands).  This is a very large, nay huge, number whichever way you look at it.  It's odd then that, while tablet computing has finally found its niche with the help of Apple, that it's still not been embraced by the mainstream in the way that netbooks were in the same time period.

Now before you all come back at me shouting how brilliant the iPad and comparable Android devices are, and how rubbish my personal choice of a Windows 7 tablet was, let's discuss some of the finer details.  Certainly the iPad is revolutionary.  It's the one colourful adjective used by Steve Jobs to describe it that I'd actually agree with.  It's not reinvigorated the tablet market, it's not even reinvented the tablet market.  It's taken something that was calling itself the tablet market and shown it how wrong it was.  But how many people do you see sitting in bars or cafes, or travelling by bus or train using such a device?

Not too long after netbook's hit the market they were everywhere.  You could see them in bars and coffee shops.  You could see people getting them out on trains and planes.  This just hasn't been the case with tablets.  My view, and this is only one perspective, isthat tablets are, for now at leats, very much a home use device, and for only a limited number of people.  Those would be tech-savvy people like myself and yourself who read websites like gHacks or follow the latest technology in magazines and the news.

This is an ever growing number of people which partly explains why tablets have taken off in a way they didn't when Microsoft first introduced the concept a decade ago.  People have recognised that the technology is now at a point to make such devices viable.

It's smartphones that have done this for us, and done this for Apple, in getting people accustomed to touch screen interfaces, web browsing without a keyboard and mouse, and that have now lead those very same people to want more from such devices.

But listen to the rest and you'll hear nothing but silence.  At least from the rest of the population there was a murmur when netbooks were revealed but there is much more resistance to the "tablet revolution".

So where does this leave tablets?  Apple will always claim the iPad and iPad 2 to be huge successes, and in raw numbers that's exactly what they'll turn out to be.  Other tablets could do equally well and sell in huge quantities.  But no technology has really become successful until it's broken into the mainstream and won the hearts and minds of the general population.  For this market that's still some way off, but it's coming and it's only a few short years away.


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  1. ilev said on March 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Your are wrong. My bank replaced all netbooks in braches with iPADS which assist the officers dealing with customers waiting in lines for service. Salesforce IT department has been instructed to check ways to replace all notebooks with iPads. Many other enterprises are doing the same. iPads are used to loging into Windows stations /servers using Citrix…..
    You are way behind the current trend.

  2. jim said on March 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    @ilev. Tablets are NOT replacing netbooks. They are two very different market segments with different needs. Tablet users mainly browse the web with minimal user input. Netbook users tend to do a lot of user input, so the tablets will not meet their needs. A good example would be students. Trying to take notes in class with a tablet would be torture. A netbook is clearly a better solution for them. Some netbook owners will undoubtedly move to tablets because they really needed a browsing device, but the tablets really didn’t exist back then. It is also likely some of those will return to their netbook when they become dissatisfied with the limitations of tablets.

  3. ilev said on March 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Ipads are now replacing netbooks which are dying. iPads are replacing notebooks in the Enterprise/ hospitals/salesmen/banks…

  4. Troy said on March 3, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Apple has been smart by leveraging this opportunity. Rumors are circulating that another iPad may be available at the end of the year. With few competitors offering devices similar to iPads, it only makes sense to gain a dominant market share right now.

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