The tablet revolution that never was7/30/2014
The tablet is a quandary; it’s a stretched out smartphone that supposedly offers a computing environment similar to a laptop or desktop. Its size allows for easier reading, and its mobility offers the ability to work practically anywhere imaginable. Even with these advantages over smartphones and stationary computing systems, tablets are not tech necessities. In fact, as sales are starting to show, owning a tablet is most definitely a luxury.
Even prior to its initial release in 2010, Apple’s iPad was a hot commodity. Everyone had fallen in love with the iPhone and thought a tablet version not only made sense but would revolutionize computing. Four years later, the iPad is still cool, but the revolution never came to pass.
Altogether 195 million tablets were sold in 2013. But what a difference a year makes. Whereas the iPhone continues to see growth in sales, the iPad has actually seen a 10 percent sales dip over the last nine months, a frightening prospect for Apple considering that included the holiday shopping season.
Tablet manufacturers using Google’s Android operating system actually hold the lion’s share of the market at 62 percent. However, as separate companies fighting for consumers, the sales figures paint the tablet marketplace as a bloodthirsty battle royale. Samsung, Apple’s No. 1 manufacturing competitor, sold only half the tablet stock of its rival. Microsoft, whose tablets tout its Windows operating system, sold an embarrassing four million units in all of 2013. If Apple’s top dog product can’t entice the fickle tech consumer, what hope do its adversaries have?
Tablets aren’t all bad. They’re great in airports or helping a business cut down on paper. Still, in the end, the lagging sales makes sense. You can’t put a tablet in your pocket, typing on one is a sick joke compared to a laptop, and plugging in peripherals such as printers or hard drives is practically impossible. Could it be the obvious next step in computing evolution was a misfire? That might be going too far, but chances are, if you own a tablet its primary function is a Facebook machine or a Candy Crushing console. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.