Tablets don’t have better performance characteristics than PCs, in fact they have much less functionality than PCs, but people want tablets, not PCs.
Half of all tablet sales last year were in Q4, says Futuresource Consulting, that’s 64 million tablets sold in one quarter. In the whole of 2012, 136 million were sold.
Averaged out across the year, about 83 million PCs are sold per quarter.
It’s an unfair comparison, but it shows the distance tablets have travelled since Apple kicked off the genre less than two years ago.
It’s unnerving to see the first iPad was launched in April 2010.
Analysts don’t expect unit yearly sales of tablets to equal PC unit sales for another three years.
That’s a blazingly fast replacement cycle of one genre by another.
Last year, 350 PCs were sold to 125 million tablets, says Future Horizons. In 2016, PC and table unit sales will be the same at around 300 million.
But, if Q4’s month-on-month tablet unit growth of 100% is replicated throughout 2013 then, of course, tablets will overtake PCs early in Q3 2013.
Why are tablets so popular?
One reason, I think, is because women love them. Suddenly women are looking up train times, hotels, restaurants, airline routes, shop opening times, ticket prices etc – tasks which they used to delegate to a bloke with a PC.
In pre-tab days, I think women didn’t want the fag of booting up a PC and navigating through all those menus to find stuff.
One day we’ll remember how, for 25 years, we used to look in stores at serried ranks of identical Wintel machines and think: Why on earth did they never change?