Why will tablets be just a fad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by brayhite, May 13, 2011.

  1. brayhite macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    N. Kentucky
    I read articles about tablet PCs and the iPad on an almost daily basis, and while most authors ooh and aah over the iPad 2, others write it off as a fad. I can't help but think similar things were said (even by some posters on this forum) about the MP3 player, specifically the iPod. So I ask myself now, why will the tablet be just a fad?

    It (the iPad 2, as it's the only tablet I have firsthand experience with) achieves many valuable things and delivers on many wants consumers have for mobile computing - lightweight, ease of use, ease of transport, snappy performance, developer support, etc. It also connects many users with their Apple products, making it a supplement to everyday computer use and a complement to our existing toys.

    While it has its flaws (no native Flash, camera quality, screen size [to some]), as a tablet PC, it has set the standard of what to expect from a 7"-10" touchscreen computer. It's also worked its way into enterprise use and the medical field, finding adoption from the college student, the medical doctor, all the way to the President of the US.

    So why, I ask, does this seem like a trend, or a fad? I'm not saying tablets will live forever. All pieces of technology die, fade from mainstream use, or evolve eventually (see: cassette tapes, VHS tapes), but you wouldn't look back and say, "Oh, the Sony Walkman [for cassettes] was just a fad." It was introduced in the early 80s and lasted until the mid to late-90s. IMO, 15 or so years isn't a "fad" or a "trend".

    In 15 years, we may not have the iPad 17, but we will have some evolved form of mobile tablet computing, I think.

    Why do some think the opposite?
  2. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I agree with the theory that there's more of an iPad market than an actual tablet market. I don't know--maybe if someone else would release a good tablet we would find out for sure.

    Leo Laporte said it best the other day--the iPad is the computer that Steve Jobs wanted to make 35 years ago when he started Apple. It's a computer for non-geeks. Anybody can use one. THAT is why there is really not a general tablet market, but rather an iPad market.
  3. alan111 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Nice analysis, but for the record, Sony ceased production of the Walkman in October of 2010.
    1979-2010 = 31 years. That's one hell of a reign.
  4. brayhite thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    N. Kentucky
    But keep in mind I'm not saying the iPad will be the only successful tablet PC. I just discussed my experience with it, as it's the only one I've used.
  5. brayhite thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    N. Kentucky
    I referred to it's fade from the mainstream use, sorry. I should've clarified. As the CD became popular, Sony created a CD-compatible version of one. Now they produce the MP3 Walkman.
  6. MozMan68 macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2010
    Right here...
    What most common consumers don't realize is the onslaught of cloud computing...there is less and less of a need for actual hard drive space or memory as the "tablet" can simply access the required data via wifi (which is only getting better and faster).

    While I'm enjoying my iPad as a great way to surf, play games, social networking...I bought it for work so I can create and give presentations on the road without the bulk of a traditional laptop. Of course, there is still work that is easier or must be done on a "computer" and then transferred to my iPad, but who cares. It's there when I need it.:)
  7. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    As the hardware and software improve, it's likely that we will be the generation that sees the end of hardware keyboards in consumer computing, which is being led by slate/pad devices. Even the virtual keyboard may be short lived if performance continues to improve speech to text and language translation technology.
  8. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2011
    No speech to text software will ever make it more socially acceptable to dictate private emails on a bus or in a dr's waiting room, and being able to do basic computing tasks in places like these is a big draw of tablets. However, I do think that good stylus input and handwriting recognition software will be much more popular than Steve Jobs is willing to admit. I think we'll see people using the input that suits them and their task best - something you have less flexibility on on a traditional computer.
  9. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    Why? I can think of two possible reasons for such articles:

    1. Lack of imagination: The author cannot see a reason for him or her to have a tablet, and thus no one needs a tablet in their view. After all, their view must be the correct view, no?

    2. They get benefits (or direct pay) by hewing to a party line that praises incumbent computer companies that have not yet created credible tablets. So the author downplays tablets. Once that incumbent computer company has a tablet ready for the market, the author will do a 180 and tell everyone why tablets are the future.

    My own view on tablets? The iPad ushered in the start of the post-PC era. By 2020 the majority of computer purchases by the average home consumer will be in the tablet form, with PCs being widely used by techies who have specific keyboard or mouse needs but not in the majority any more. Tablets are our future, and by no means a fad.
  10. Kupp macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    I see tablet devices sticking around as semi-self reliant supplementary interfaces.

    By that I mean they will be able to do they things they do now, but to a better degree as well as much more easily being able to access home or shared server systems.

    They will be personal data device interfaces which when needed extend a connection to other systems for completing tasks that they are not equipped to or to retrieve data they do not carry on board.

    Self sufficient terminals in a larger networked system at a point when wifi, 3G, and bluetooth are all replaced by a new faster and broader spectrum solution.

    I also see such systems being able to offload complex processor tasks to much better equipped servers and having the results returned. This outsourcing of resources to network based processor arrays, perhaps centrally housed, or composed of the other tablets in the system using free processor time to complete tasks.

    That said, I do not think this interface is going anywhere but into the future.

    Unless we experience a technological calamity that knocks us back to the dark ages.
  11. maclaptop macrumors 65816


    Apr 8, 2011
    Western Hemisphere
    It's far too early to tell. Just because Apple is selling a zillion of them means very little.

    They sell a zillion of anything and everything. Apple marketing prevails. As long as it has an Apple logo reality goes out the window.

    Those who follow main stream news on the net may remember that one marketing survey that Apple did was really fascinating.

    After the first iPad was announced, they asked people what it did and why they were buying one. A large group, said not only did they NOT know what it did, but they were buying one anyway because Apple products are "cool".
  12. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    I'd dig out evidence to the contrary but if you were interested in evidence you would have checked anyway (the point is you're wrong)

    Source (lol) for this 'marketing survey conducted by Apple'?
  13. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Right now, we're in a computing transitional period. The system isn't quite ready for cloud computing. Also, a lot of people are still embedded with their desktop computers.
    It could be that the ipad is a transitional device that'll tide us over. Or maybe this is the new set up.
    Prognostication is a bitch. Back in the '40s, no one would have ever thought that we'd have a black President. Ten years ago, it'd be inconceivable that gays would be openly serving in the military. Think about all those people who thought there'd be flying cars during this time period. Don't forget the show Buck Rogers was supposed to be set during this time period. :D
  14. 4DThinker macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2008
    I see a tablet-ish device staying around for several years. The world needs something like it but far more portable. A commodity. Until that truly magic device shows up the tablet format will reign. JMHO
  15. Kupp macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    Umm... Buck Rogers leaves the 20th century to return in the 25th century, so not sure what you mean by that.

    But since we are being silly: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2011/05/09/reasons-why-people-want-a-mac-graph/
  16. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    I truly believe that we are only at the start of a new age of computing.

    My (perhaps crazy) theories :)p):

    Tablets in their current form will become obsolete and what we get instead is a hybrid-like device with the form factor of an iPad but the power of a Macbook Pro.
    It can operate as a tablet, but the software is flexible enough to allow multiple UIs.
    For example, on the go we have simple, easy to navigate UI but with the functionality of a desktop, but depending on our needs we can have it automatically sync up to monitors, keyboards etc where we have a UI similar to what we have on our "proper" computers.

    With a mixture of internal memory and cloud services (depending on how well that progresses) means that instead of multiple devices we have one computer with many functions.

    Or instead of powerful hardware we have an online service which essentially means our computers exist only virtually, and can be accessed from web enabled displays, tablets, laptops etc. But then I guess that's more of a cloud computing thing...
  17. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Its not a fad, its the future

    The model we've used to interact with computers for the past 30 years or (a keyboard, screen, and mouse) has been tremendously succesful. and undoubtedly has been used far more, and by many times more people, than the model that preceded it: punch cards and tractor-fed printout.

    But just as the mouse-and-keyboard model opened up computing to people (and tasks) that would have been impossible with punchcards and printout, so does the touchscreen tablet open up "computing" - and all its possibilities - to a still yet wider swathe of the population. You only have to look at the Youtube videos of centenarians, infants (and cats!) playing with an iPad to see evidence of this.

    But a lot of tech writers who see this sort of evidence tend to dismiss the iPad. They see ONLY the codgers and kitties, while overlooking the tremendous possibilities the iPad tablet model offers to the rest of us. And I think people who try to make an iPad (or other tablet) into a "replacement PC" are making a similar mistake. Lets look at what the tablet makes possible:

    1) Unsurpassed portability. By totally dispensing with the keyboard, and making the device small enough to hold in one hand - while still having a screen large enough to display detailed images - the tablet model can go places no laptop ever went. Dusty or muddy archeology digs, where debris might jam a keyboard or creep into extraneous ports. Beds and couches. Subway seats.

    2) Unsurpassed battery life. Again, by dispensing with the extraneous, the iPad-model tablet can last literally days between recharges. A claim no laptop can hope to match. And, ultimately, I think you may see watt-sipping tablets become the computer device of choice in those huge parts of the world where regular mains electricity is still a rarity. Chinese companies are ALREADY selling solar mobile phone chargers throughout Africa.

    3) Touchscreen and embedded sensors. Think about some of the astronomy Apps, where the device knows where you are, and displays a sky map that changes to match your orientation. That responds to taps on the stars and planets displayed on screen with more information about that object. I cannot think of ANY way such functionality can be built into a laptop. And such Apps are just the beginning - developers have had less than a year to think about what can be accomplished.

    4) Low cost. Sure, right now the $500 and up iPad is seen as a luxury for hipsters. But by dispensing with keyboards and cases, ports and disk drives, the tablet model ultimately gives the consumer an incredibly powerful and capable device, with the minimum of waste. The tablet model, IMHO, comes much closer to fulfilling the actual goals of the $100 laptop project than the underpowered and klunky devices we've seen this far.

    Once you've used the iPad for a few months, I think most people would have a hard time looking forward to a future without them. It may not be the ONLY computing device in their lives (some sort of PC and probably an entertainment-centric set-top box probably also have their place, along with a smartphone) - but its certainly not going to disappear.
  18. pcunite macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2010
    Then iPad and tablet computing are not a fad but they are not replacement devices either. I'm not giving up on my 24" monitor for serious work anytime soon.
  19. brayhite thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    N. Kentucky
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I agree with the opinions of most on here. And while there may be some sort of vendetta authors have (notably the one for PCWorld whom admitted she wasn't a fan on Apple), people still have reasons for tablets not being feasible for long-term usage and market growth.

    To those who do say it's just Apple's marketing that sells the product: if that's so, how come Apple has products that flop? Did their marketing just not do well? Does their marketing make the product useful for doctors, students, parents, teachers, factory workers, hosts at restaurants, etc.? Or does the product actually provide usefulness in the workplace, leisure life, and in between?

    As a marketing student, I understand that the ads you see influence a large part of how a company and its products and services are perceived, but most products and services that have no foundation tend to flop and fade fast. Or never quite catch on. Consumers aren't entirely stupid when it comes to purchase decisions, despite their patterns of irrationality.

    With that said, I'd bet a majority of iPad purchasers see use out of the product more than or as much as they expected. I know I have.
  20. Sothos macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    IMO, it's a natural reaction for people to say it's a fad when there is a seemingly overexuberant reaction to it.
  21. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
    Well it's a fad that's very popular......


    IPad.....very popular and will continue to grow in market share.
  22. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    So that's why they're selling a zillion AppleTVs? That's why they're still making Xserves? Try again.

  23. Janet1 macrumors member

    May 9, 2011
    When Sony first came out with the first laptops that were right around 2 lbs., I ran right out and bought one, and at that time, that tiny laptop put me back close to $3,000.

    I ended up not using it much, very little actually. It only had a 16 gig hard drive, no dvd, cd, or any kind of drive. It had a USB port, but there were no USB thumb drives at that time either. It just didn't have much functionality and for my needs, was practically useless. I ended up just giving it away and chalked it up to experience. Swearing never again to buy a cute, tiny, and utterly useless, laptop.

    Then netbooks came out and I bought one. What was I thinking?

    After those 2 horrific experiences, almost hard to believe I did it yet again, buying a ipad, especially since, well, they also start at 16 gigs (mine is 64 gigs though) doesn't even have a USB port, and lacks most of the other features of my first tiny Sony, only without a lid. It's a lot more functional however, which is kind of surprising.

    That's because of the touch screen, apps, and built-in WiFi, and mine also has 3G, among other things.

    So whether or not tablets will survive the test of time? Guess it depends on what they come out with next.

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