Why Laptops Will Survive in a Tablet World
By Michael Blumreich
Tablet computers have been getting plenty of press lately, thanks mainly to the iPad, the newest Apple product to hit the market. The iPad features very portable, user-friendly web browsing capabilities combined with an intuitive and up-to-date operating system that has everyone talking about the future of computers and where the portable computing world is headed.
The reality of the situation, however, may not be what most people anticipate. Laptops are still the workhorse of the portable computing world, and will most likely weather the tablet storm and perhaps come out ahead of its netbook cousin. Sales of netbooks are in fact predicted to decline over the next year or so, with some sales going to iPads and some to laptops in equal measure.
The main advantage that laptops have over iPads is their ability to process and create information in a fast, predictable, and comfortable manner. Laptops are made for content creation and do it well, with fast processors, a full keyboard, and a bright, large display. While only 25% of the average computer user's time is spent in content creation, that 25% represents the most interactive and critical part of computer use for most people and buyers tend to consider their content creation rather than consumption when shopping for a new machine.
The iPad, on the other hand, is designed for content consumption. It's incredibly portable and features a bright screen that's perfect for reading, media interaction, and web surfing. Its user-friendly platform takes the mystery out of the internet for the uninitiated user and allows for quick, fun, and easy web surfing. However, for users who need to complete reports, manage music, edit videos and pictures, and send long emails, the iPad is not nearly as practical due to their relatively small screens and difficult data input.
Odds are good that instead of laptop extinction, we'll start seeing smaller, more portable laptops. These smaller and lighter progeny of our current laptops may very well replace netbooks on the market, particularly if tomorrow's laptops show a slight price reduction to bring them more on par with netbook prices. The current speculation is that many of us will own both a laptop as our workhorse for content creation and an iPad for the lighter side of computing, like sitting outside and surfing the internet on a nice day.