I’m (supposed to be) on vacation this week, but I saw an article by Peter Bright of Ars Tecnica, that got my dander up: “Op-Ed: Tablets really are the new PCs; nobody needs to buy them any more.”
Peter Bright’s article looks for trouble, finds it where it doesn’t exist, diagnoses it incorrectly, and applies the wrong remedy. So here’s my (not-so-very) quick ((Apparently, even my “quick” responses are over 1,000 words.)) response.
I need a six month vacation…twice a year.
Some Joly Analysis
- “The tablet market is tapped out. We saw signs of this when Apple reported that its iPad sales were down year-on-year and we’re seeing a similar message from retailers. Re/code’s Walt Mossberg recently talked to Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, who said that tablet sales had “crashed.””
With all due respect, Hubert Joly doesn’t appear to know the difference between “flattening” and “crashed.” It is fortunate for us all he is not an air traffic controller.
- “Global tablet sales are still rising—though less quickly than they once were…”
Again, “rising” is very different from “crashing”
- “…but in developed markets the tablet boom may be over.
That’s a mighty big “may”.
- “…Joly reported that PC sales—which the tablet was supposed to kill—have picked up. He attributed that resurgence partially to the end of support of Windows XP.”
One of these arguments is not like the other, one of these arguments doesn’t belong…. ~ Sesame Street
Tablets Aren’t The Next Smartphone
- “The computer industry has to face an uncomfortable truth. Tablets aren’t the next smartphone. They’re the next PC.”
Agree and disagree. Tablets were never the next smartphone. Phones are smaller, fit in our pockets and are expected to be with us at all times. Plus — “duh” — they’re telephones. This means they will be ubiquitous.
Smartphones are the first stage of computing where the addressable market isn’t a segment, group, industry or demo, but everyone on earth. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) 7/13/14
If anyone ever contended that tablets were the new smartphone, the blame falls squarely upon the faulty analysis, not upon the tablet.
Tablets Aren’t The Next PC
As for tablets being the next PC? Well, that isn’t really true either.
Apple sells more iPads each quarter than PCs were being sold when Windows 95 was launched. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)
There are at least twice as many iPads as Macs in use today. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) 7/24/14
But let’s set aside the fact the four year old tablet market is already about to eclipse the sales of the 40 year old PC market and continue with Peter’s analysis:
- “The low-hanging fruit of easy incremental improvements [for tablets] seems to be tapped out. Short of an unpredictable revolutionary new feature, our staff felt that they’d stick with their tablets until they broke, their batteries became useless, or they ceased to receive software updates.”
Gee, Peter. It’s August and that prediction could be proven wrong by as early next month when the Fall tablets arrive.
Tablets Aren’t The Next Netbooks
- “Unable to win sales by making PCs substantially better, the OEMs slashed prices. Netbooks epitomized this; they cut dozens of corners in screen quality, keyboard size and quality, thickness, and even performance. But they sure were cheap.”
Yeah, about that. iPads are not netbooks. Netbooks were HATED. Tablets are not only respected, they are, by many, adored.
(W)hat’s most important to us is that customers are enjoying their iPads and using them heavily. In a survey conducted in May by ChangeWave, iPad Air registered a 98% customer satisfaction rate, while iPad Mini with retina display received an astonishing 100% customer satisfaction rate. ~ Tim Cook
Tablets Are Not Big iPod Touches
- “A large screen smartphone can do all the things a smartphone does (including important things like fit in your pocket and make phone calls) and it can do all the things a tablet can do… just with a slightly smaller screen. And among large screen devices, the laptop always has the edge as the richer, more capable device.”
“Who needs tablets?”
Wow. I’ve stepped into a time warp and it’s 2010 all over again.
“There is no surprise with this device; it is just a huge iPod touch. ~ John C. Dvorak, MarketWatch, 26 March 2010
(H)ere’s what that S-curve of adoption looks like. It puts saturation of the market for iPads sometime around 2018, not 2014. … Something like half the people who will someday own iPads haven’t even purchased them yet. ~ Horace Dediu
Tablets Are A Separate Category
Is there room for a third category of device in the middle? Something that’s between a laptop and a smartphone? ~ Steve Jobs
In order to really create a new category of device those devices are going to have to be far better at doing key tasks. Better than the smartphone, better than the laptop. ~ Steve Jobs
Let’s keep this analysis simple. For many tasks, a larger screen is better than a smaller screen. The end.
Not believing a bigger screen is important is the same as not believing in gravity and I’m not going to waste my time arguing with you about either.
It’s so much more intimate than a laptop, and it’s so much more capable than a smartphone. ~ Steve Jobs
When the iPad appeared in 2010, it had its doubters. For a humorous look back, check out The iPad Death Watch. Apparently four years of experience has taught us nothing. The doomsayers have retaken the forum.
The only thing experience teaches us is that experience teaches us nothing. ~ Andre Maurois
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ~ Douglas Adams
Here’s the thing. Despite its recent lull in sales, the tablet is BELOVED by many. You can’t pry it out of the hands of most owners (and especially seniors).
I think I have become addicted to my iPad. — my mom ~ Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie)
Sometimes tech people outsmart themselves. You’ve got two pieces of evidence before you. Customers love their tablets. Tablet rates flattened for two quarters. For one to assume that tablet growth is over, one has to ignore the former and put all of their analytical weight on the latter.
There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them. ~ George Orwell
For an excellent analysis of what’s really happening in tablets, check out “Why Ipad Shipments Aren’t Growing, But Might Start Again Soon” by Jan Dawson.
129 thoughts on “Counterpoint: Tablets Were Never Supposed To Be The Next Smartphone”
A tablet is the best piece of technology ever made for consumption such as books, videos, light game like Candy Crush, which is a huge market. but it will never be able to compete with computers or Laptop when it comes to productivity and smartphone when it comes to mobility no matter how hard you try, hence the confusion.
“but it will never be able to compete with computers or Laptop when it comes to productivity”
Who’s productivity? Office productivity? Sure, if your productive life is sitting behind a desk 8 hours a day, I agree. If your productive life is onsite or otherwise beyond the desk in just about any industry, a tablet is hard to beat.
I think that the so-called productivity and consumption categories are starting to overlap. I use my iPad for 90% of my web browsing (consumption) but also for 5-10% of my work (namely when I need to proofread a document). The thing is, now that the iPad exists, I would never use a “real computer” to do a proof reading. There lies the success of the iPad in my work: being indispensable at performing a specific task within the larger “productivity category”. I would be curious to see other examples along the lines I exposed.
[Edit] First time poster: I was replying to Kenny.
What’s interesting is my laptop has essentially become my desktop PC. As such, it is always easier to grab my iPad to go to meetings and onsite work where I used to lug my laptop (and I say that as someone who lived through the “lug-ables” era). So now it is a nuisance to have to grab my laptop. Times have changed. And no doubt will change even more.
“What’s interesting is my laptop has essentially become my desktop PC.” – jfutral
Excellent observation, Joe.
Welcome, Pierre! You first comment was a good one. Look forward to reading many, many more from you in the future.
I am a big fan of Techpinions.
what you use it for does not necessarily define what is best for hence the difference.
what would you say to those who use their phablet with a keyboard?
Where’s klahanas when you need him? The device that is best is the one I can use.
Been travelling friend…
Carrying (in luggage) two 2 in 1’s (Sony Vaio Duo 13 and SP3), two tablets (7” and 12”), and one quad core 15”. SP3 getting the most use by far!
Good to hear from you again, klahanas!
Thank you kind sir. Enjoy your vacation.
Welcome back? Hope the travelling was safe. The SP3 news doesn’t surprise me. I hear that from everyone I know who has one, including Mac users.
I’m guessing that the SP3 is a fantastic tool for road warriors…
…but most people aren’t road warriors.
Yeah, I’m not totally clear other than those of us in technical theatre tend to be pretty geeky and get excited about esoteric technical gadgets by nature. I haven’t had much of a chance to chat deeper, but at least two of my friends consider it a laptop replacement, which may explain why MS changed the thrust of their ads to make the SP3 more of a laptop than a tablet.
And this makes sense since Windows has a predictable interface as a PC and a pretty sketchy history in tablets/slates. I don’t think any of my friends really consider the tablet aspect as all that, but if I find out more I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity to pass it on! Regardless, at this point they do like their SP3.
Will be travelling for a while more. I will be checking in though. Can’t stay away from the quality dialogue we have here.
I know that you are having a good response to your SP3, but you are the exception, not the rule. Microsoft has lost an estimated 1.7 billion on SP3 and there are no signs of a turnaround. Further, sales of other two in one devices are moribund.
Here’s a link to a Canalys chart that shows that two-in-ones have both virtually and literally flatlined:
Market success or failure is a better measure of popularity than whether it’s a good product or not. They are closely related, but not the same.
This trip has given me a new perspective on things. Metro is really the second coming of DOS shells. As such, it’s just an application. And it’s entirely optional. Remember Desqview, Dosshell, Deskmate, etc.? It’s like that. It’s just an App. Which got me thinking about the iPad. The whole device is just an App, but there’s no “outside of the App”, it’s not optional. Then there’s the hardware differences…
“Microsoft has lost an estimated 1.7 billion on SP3 and there are no signs of a turnaround”
I believe you mean has lost 1.7 Billion on the whole Surface lineup since inception.
Anything or any kind of productivity that require the use of a keyboard or mouse to be . efficient.
because Once you install a keyboard on a tablet, you can no longer call it an IPad, it becomes a lousy Notebook.
a very lousy one indeed
“Once you install a keyboard on a tablet, you can no longer call it an IPad, it becomes a lousy Notebook”
iPad users — like Ben Bajarin — would vehemently disagree with you. They use their iPad as a tablet all day long and add the keyboard when they want to enhance their ability to quickly add text to a document. The keyboard doesn’t turn an iPad into a notebook because the user interface is still based on touch…
…and that makes all the difference in the world.
a tablet with a keyboard or a mouse it’s like a lousy surface 2-1
you can use it if you are in love with the product but it’s still not the best tool for the job to be done
taking aside our love for Apple product a Chromebook automatically become a better and more efficient product for this type of job that rely on keyboard
don’t be bias
Kenny, nothing is lousy in comparisons to the Surface 2-1. The Surface has already locked up the distinction of being lousy all by itself.
The Surface is an attempt to kludge two disparate operating systems together. The market has spoken — even if you and Microsoft are not listening. People don’t want two-in-ones. They want devices that work and that make their work feel like play.
The Surface is an attempt to kludge two disparate operating systems together.(John)
isn’t that similar to what you just suggested by installing a keyboard on an IPad, and turning it into a surface 2-1 type of Netbook for productivity?
“isn’t that similar to what you just suggested by installing a keyboard on an IPad, and turning it into a surface 2-1” – Kenny
No. Adding a keyboard, at will, is not at all the same as being forced to switch between two separate operating systems.
Still all things equal, one cannot be good with a keyboard for the job and the other be bad
that my whole point with your argument.
“one cannot be good with a keyboard for the job and the other be bad”
I can add a carrier or a hitch to my car if need be, but that does not make it the same as a truck. Cars and trucks serve different purposes. Tablets and notebooks/tablets do too. The keyboard is not the key. The user input inherent in the device is.
SP3 user’s like klahanas would vehemently disagree with you. But that’s okay. So would Vaio Duo users like klahanas, notebook users like klahanas, and Android tablet users like klahanas.
Mr. Bajarin, and you, are just as right in your own reasons. Pity it’s just not on my radar.
“a tablet with a keyboard or a mouse it’s like a lousy surface 2-1”
No, it’s like a tablet with the option of typing on a physical keyboard. Don’t mistake similarity of hardware for similarity of the product.
Surface is a windows 8 PC in a funky form factor. Ditto all the other 2-in-1’s out there. It has all the advantages of desktop windows with all the disadvantages of a crappy keyboard, tiny screen, and a kludged way of attaching the screen and keyboard together that takes up more room and provides less stability than an ultrabook. It provides a kludged together touch-based UI that kinda-sorta maybe sometimes works for MS Office if you want to punish yourself, and is otherwise only useful for a tiny selection of metro apps.
An Ipad or an android tablet with a bluetooth keyboard is a different animal altogether because it’s a fully touch-based OS to which you have added (temporarily) the advantages of a hardware keyboard. There’s no kludge involved. Pair the tablet with the keyboard when you want to type a bunch, remove it from the keyboard when you’re done typing and want to have just the tablet.
Microsoft has successfully brainwashed many people into thinking that “Office” and “productivity” are the same thing. But in the real world, productivity means “doing your job” and there’s all kinds of work that doesn’t involve using Office. If your job would benefit from software, but involves being on your feet and moving around, then an Ipad with the right app is a much better productivity tool than any laptop. If your job involves being on your feet and moving around on the one hand, and typing a lot on the other hand, then maybe instead of a laptop and a tablet, a tablet with a keyboard case would be the perfect tool.
If your job would benefit from software, but involves being on your feet and moving around, then an Ipad with the right app is a much better productivity tool than any laptop. If your job involves being on your feet and moving around on the one hand, and typing a lot on the other hand, then maybe instead of a laptop and a tablet, a tablet with a keyboard case would be the perfect tool.(Glaurung-Quena
that was my whole point
anything that require the use of a keyboard and a mouse are best for a Laptop than an IPad wit a keyboard
“anything that require the use of a keyboard and a mouse are best for a Laptop than an IPad wit a keyboard”
And you seem to have missed my whole point. Suppose I use a tablet to take notes out in the field. When I get back home, I need to turn those notes into a brief (3-4 page) written report.
I could transfer the notes to a PC and edit them there. Or, I could use a bluetooth keyboard to edit directly on the tablet. Both ways would work equally well. If I already have a PC that gets used for other kinds of work, there’s no reason not to do the editing on the PC.
But, if these brief reports based on field notes are the only things I ever need a physical keyboard for in my work, why spend the time and money and IT support budget on a PC when, with a bluetooth keyboard add-on, I can just as easily produce the reports directly on the Ipad?
It is clear that most Apple loyalists who trash the Surface and/or Windows 8 have never used either.
I own a Surface Pro 2. I also own an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy S4. I have family members who own iPads, and I have used them extensively.
The use of “hybrid” or “2-in-1” to describe something like the Surface Pro is misguided. These are the differences between the Surface Pro and the iPad:
– The Surface Pro runs the full version of Windows, rather than a mobile-only operating system. This means that you can use a multitude of peripherals with it, including a mouse.
– The Surface Pro has an integrated keyboard port, which attaches with a thin magnet, negating the need for “keyboard covers” that turn the iPad into a clamshell.
– The Surface Pro is heavier and thicker than the iPad Air. The trade-off is that it has much more storage capacity and processing power.
– The Surface Pro has a USB port, and a Mini Displayport.
That’s it. The only major advantage the iPad Air has over the Surface Pro (or any similar device) is its weight.
“It is clear that most Apple loyalists who trash the Surface and/or Windows 8 have never used either.” – JoeS54
It is clear that a lot of non-Apple loyalists have rejected both the Surface and Windows 8.
Calling those who dislike the Surface and Windows 8 “biased” is like calling a Jew who dislikes the tactics employed by Israel, anti-semitic.
It’s really simple. If you have no experience with something, and you pretend you do while trashing it, your opinion has no merit. These comments often make it clear in their own text that the person has never used either. That’s not just “bias”, it’s dishonesty.
JoeS54, you missed my point. It is the Windows users who are trashing Windows 8 and the Surface. You can’t dismiss their complaints as biased.
“It is clear that most Apple loyalists who trash the Surface and/or Windows 8 have never used either.”
It is clear that you neither read nor understood my comment. None of what you so condesendingly say in your comment has any impact on my observations that 1) the surface makes a lousy laptop, 2) using a touchscreen to work with traditional (non-touch optimized) Windows apps is an exercise in masochism and 3) the surface makes a passable tablet only if you never want to run any third party apps, since there are still very few touch-optimized metro apps for it.
“That’s it. The only major advantage the iPad Air has over the Surface Pro (or any similar device) is its weight.”
And its software. So far my friends who are using the SP3 and enjoying it are using it as a laptop replacement, not as a tablet. Time will tell how much this changes.
What kept me from the SP is that lack of thoughtful tablet support. None of the software solutions I would want it for are supporting the tablet functions, which was really disappointing.
When either MS or Apple or Google can figure out an OS that excels at both on one device, they will certainly have me giving them a serious look. Right now a dedicated OS for each is the superior way to go. However, MS gets props from me for at least giving it a go in the wild. That may even give them an edge in the long run. But then again, in the long run, we are all dead (ht-J.M. Keynes).
Certainly no less a tablet than a Palm was a PDA when people started attaching keyboards to that.
“Anything or any kind of productivity that require the use of a keyboard or mouse to be . efficient.”
But that’s a very limited definition of “productivity”, likely one that MS would love everyone to buy into. Hardly all encompassing.
how o you defined computer base productivity?
please don’t forget that computer has been created with a mouse and a keyboard for productivity
For me computer based productivity is using a tablet onsite to view and edit stage scenic and lighting designs, keeping track of paperwork that used to require print outs, note pads, and/or a laptop toted around on stage during a load-in (quite hazardous for the laptop, which had to be set down most of the time after being referenced, now the iPad consolidates all that), remote recording and editing (both video and audio) of musical performances, remote control of video and audio playback, remote control of proprietary lighting consoles, keeping track of cue sequences and running times of performances, video conferencing a choreographer who is in another country with his dancers in the US rehearsing his work, many electric guitarists now run much of their FX through an iPad, orchestras and bands use iPads for their lead sheets, I use mine as my fakebook. That’s just off the top of my head and certainly not everything we do with an iPad in the entertainment industry.
In other words, not all productivity requires a desk. Keyboards and mice were created to make using PCs usable for the office tasks they were created for. Not all computer tasks are office centric anymore.
Productivity is a very broad term, which is precisely why I said that productivity based on the use of a keyboard and mouse
everything you point above can also be done as well it not better with a smartphone or phablet, hence why the need for a tablet?
We (in my industry) did use our iPhones, but the iPad makes things much easier. But we do also use our iPhones. Right tool for the productivity task. Nothing like that smartphone ringing in the middle of either making a live announcement or in the middle of calling cues. And you still need to have the phone when you are waiting to hear from the truck driver who is picking up your gear at the end of the performance.
Here is where you started:
“but it will never be able to compete with computers or Laptop when it comes to productivity and smartphone when it comes to mobility no matter how hard you try, hence the confusion.”
I’m trying to be polite here because I actually agree with you many times, even though you often think I don’t. That is just ignorance speaking. Which I actually kind of find amazing from someone who chided tech enthusiasts for not having imagination (which is something I ardently agree with).
i correct myself by saying productivity base on the use of a keyboard and a mouse.
Your response to my argument seems to have more to do with the extension of the job to do with an iPad because of your love for the product than it’s the best tool for the job.
I understand that there are many specific things that one can do with an iPad just as with a smartphone as you pointed out above, but that’s still not the reason the majority of consumers bought the iPad for, which is why I do not expect a widespread adoption of the tablet at school or in the workplace where the use of a keyboard and mouse is necessary.
“Your response to my argument seems to have more to do with the extension of the job to do with an iPad because of your love for the product than it’s the best tool for the job.”
I’m sure since you have never had to do those tasks, that is why you would say that. This is your bias.
extending the job to be done of a product does not necessarily make it the best tool for the job.
why do you think that the majority of people bought their IPad for?
What makes it the best tool for the job is that it accomplished what nothing else did, including traditional instruments.
A lot of the people I know are buying iPads as something to be creative with. For them, this is productivity.
you mean to tell me that an IPad with a keyboard and a mouse is more efficient than a Laptop for editing, typing,etc?
“you mean to tell me that an IPad with a keyboard and a mouse is more efficient than a Laptop for editing, typing,etc”
First I never made such an implication, although Pierre did offer that proof reading on an iPad is far more efficient than on a computer. I can see why he said that. So, sometimes, yes. Maybe not all the time. Probably not most of the time. But I can see where there are situations that the answer is yes.
My point was, the keyboard and mouse is a very limited way of thinking of productivity. My point is that an iPad, even without a keyboard and mouse, is more efficient at many productivity tasks. I think that trend will continue for many years to come.
The iPad and the contemporary tablet is a liberation from dictatorial forms. Now a PC with a keyboard and mouse can be a choice rather than the only possibility. It will take time to change old habits (and likely mostly from human attrition). Personally, I am amazed at how much the iPad has already accomplished.
“you mean to tell me that an IPad with a keyboard and a mouse is more efficient than a Laptop”
A device needs to be taken in context. A swiss army knife is lousy for carving a turkey but its great on a camping trip. And vice versa. An iPad is a lousy laptop but its a great tablet that can be used as a laptop in a pinch. A laptop can almost never be used as a tablet in a pinch. A 2-in-1 tries to be the best of both worlds but ends up being no good in either world. It’s like adding a carving knife to a swiss army knife.
Forget the mouse, I do all my editing/writing on my iPad with a hardware keyboard and touching the screen to select/edit/insert/etc. It’s really nice. Once you get used to it a mouse seems ancient and awkward. I like the purity of it, somehow it feels more thoughtful. Now, I’m sure others have different experiences, but I find the iPad with a hardware keyboard far more efficient. And I’m quite sure that’s true of my kids, for them the iPad is their primary PC, their fingers dance across the screen like magic, it’s what they’re used to. Of course I understand that someone who has used nothing but a mouse/keyboard/PC for decades will have trouble adapting, but it’s a mistake to assume your difficulty in adapting to a new tool means the tool is deficient in some way.
“Once you install a keyboard on a tablet, you can no longer call it an IPad, it becomes a lousy Notebook.”
How do you “install” a keyboard on a Ipad? No such thing. You pair a wireless keyboard to it. Wireless, as in, it’s not attached. Anytime you want to type something long, plunk the ipad on a stand next to the keyboard. When you’re done, pick it up and take it with you. Kind of hard to do that kind of trick with a notebook (unless we’re talking a 2-in-one, in which case, it’s not a notebook, it’s a tablet)
Anyone’s productivity. When it comes to that, the most capable computer wins. It’s true, tablets are not netbooks. Tablets have replaced netbooks in the bottom of the computing pyramid.
“it will never be able to compete with computers or Laptop when it comes to productivity” – Kenny
The buyer, not you or I, defines what “productivity” is and tablet owners are finding their purchases to be quite “productive”.
The buyer, not you or I, defines what “productivity” is and tablet owners are finding their purchases to be quite “productive”.(John)
do you really believe that John
i did not expect that coming from an Anti Microsoft Surface 2-1 as you
what happen to you favorite phrase: just because you can do something does not necessarily mean it need to exist.
As usual, Kenny, I’m not able to follow your train of thought.
you want me to believe that unlike the windows surface an IPad with a keyboard is a good tool for a 2-1 productivity.
isn’t that a complete contradiction to all of your argument against the windows surface
I think the Surface and other 2 in 1s are superior tablets for folks who depend on certain PC tabular apps, typically Excel, which really is difficult on tablets. I don’t find it difficult at all to use other PC type apps with an iPad and a keyboard, plus you get so many unique IOS mobility features that you don’t get with 2 in 1s.
IBM seems interested in partnering with Apple such that the Apple IOS Ui is married with an IBM analytics back end. This will be attractive to some organizations where distributed Excel spreadsheets used for decision making are at odds with each other.
“you want me to believe that unlike the windows surface an IPad with a keyboard is a good tool for a 2-1 productivity” – Kenny
Not what I said, Kenny. I said that productivity is defined by the user, not you or I. If I’m a tour guide, a tablet is far more productive than a notebook, and a mouse and keyboard are positive drawbacks. If the user finds the tablet to be productive — and sales clearly indicate that they do — then it is not your place to say otherwise.
many statistic base on usage said otherwise.
the majority of buyer use their IPad for consumption, not productivity.
I think that is true of the larger tablet market, especially for Kindle buyers, as that is the purpose. I think this is also reflective of PC home buyers, who were part of the over selling of PCs. But I do think people who adopted iPad are discovering more and more that can be done, both personally and work. I think that will translate to tablets overall, too. Android is still following in terms of possibilities of the tablet form. But I don’t think it will stay that way forever. Unless Google just doesn’t care about tablets in the workplace, which is entirely possible.
the usage Statistics was for the iPad.
the things is in the business world even with the IBM Partnership the IPad form factor will always be a complementary product when it come to general use rather than a primary one.
“the usage Statistics was for the iPad.”
Here’s the thing about that. First “productivity” is usually defined as, at most, office work, or more narrowly MS Office. Let’s face it. When coming from a system dominated by Windows and Office, what else would they think? And that system necessitated a keyboard and mouse. As computers grew in usage, no more what is about hardware to fit the needs of the task, it was about software for a task needing to fit the mold of keyboard and mouse. Productivity was now defined by the system, not what the system was created to support.
Additionally, MS Office only recently came on board iOS devices and is just now expanding.
So, from those two perspectives, which defined the argument (and much of the anti-Apple/iPad productivity position), iOS and iPad in particular has not been considered as productivity devices. What els would the usage stats show? (Never mind, I would guess that iPad outstrips any other tablet _for_ productivity usage).
In reality, only as the form undermines and changes the definition of the terms being used will we see those usage stats shift. I.e. when people realize a great deal of what they have been using the iPad for is actually productive, we’ll see the iPad has been a productivity tool all along, as many of us have already realized, even as you would prefer to brush us off as biased.
while your argument may be true when it comes to productivity, but I do not think this is really the case when it comes to consumption
I suggest you take a look at the statistics of the most used App on iPad for 2014, then tell me how many of them are related to any productivity type of use?
“I suggest you take a look at the statistics of the most used App on iPad for 2014”
The only thing that stat will tell you is the most used app, not whether or not iPads are used for productivity, which, clearly they are.
As much as I use my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook for work (to the degree that I always opt out of employer provided gear), that doesn’t mean I don’t clock in a large number of leisure, or non-productivity hours on each.
just because a small percentage of consumer use their IPad for productivity does not necessarily make it a primarily productivity device.
Same is also true for those who use their Galaxy Note with a Keyboard.
“just because a small percentage of consumer use their IPad for productivity does not necessarily make it a primarily productivity device.”
Hmm. I thought we just went through that exercise. Not sure I have the stamina (or interest) to retread.
“Same is also true for those who use their Galaxy Note with a Keyboard.”
I agree. And I don’t think I’ve ever said otherwise. I have a co-worker who loves her Galaxy Note. She doesn’t use it exactly the same way I do for work, but it does get used for work. And TV. You got to keep yourself occupied somehow on those long bus and plane tours. You can’t just keep looking at work.
“the majority of buyer use their IPad for consumption” – Kenny
Consumption/Productivity is a false dichotomy. There’s no need to draw a line between the two. Tablets do both. That all we need to know.
“Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life.” ~ Edward L. Bernays
“All dichotomies are false, but some are more of a bitch to transcend than others.” ~ Venkatesh Rao
Multi- media consumption is a well-defined category, except for those who think that writing a comment on Facebook is productive.
I wrote a comment on Facebook that landed me a job. Is that productive?
[edit: easily half my “Friends” are more work associates. I would give anything to move them over to at least LinkedIn. Sadly the truth speaks otherwise.]
sure, as much as dressing well can land you a job
Well, since we weren’t talking about dressing well, not sure the relevance. Easily half of my Facebook time is work related. But because most people won’t categorize Facebook as a productivity software, it won’t count as “productivity” since it isn’t Word or Excel. But, hey, it does require a keyboard!
“the majority of buyer use their IPad for consumption, not productivity.”
So? The majority of home PCs are used for consumption (web surfing, etc) and not productivity. That does not have any bearing on the fact that many people buy Ipads to use for work.
Nor does not have any bearing on the fact that the Ipad enables developers to make software that helps people get more varied kinds of work done than laptop software ever did.
May I suggest you look at some of the Ipad ads that Apple has run in the past couple of years and at the Apps that get featured in those ads — all of which are productivity apps, none of which involve anything like Office. cf, for example, http://www.apple.com/your-verse/
“The majority of home PCs are used for consumption (web surfing, etc) and not productivity. That does not have any bearing on the fact that many other PCs are bought and used to do work. ”
I just think this can’t be stated enough. All this talk about “productivity vs consumption” forgets how much PCs have been and are over sold. And likely ignores how many and to what extent work PCs are also used for consumption.
I think you’re stuck on the idea that you need a keyboard and a mouse to be productive. I can assure you, a hardware keyboard with a touchscreen is a really great combination. You get used to it very quickly. Now I find a trackpad or a mouse old-fashioned and awkward. Of course with a vertical desktop screen a mouse is necessary. But once you angle the screen it is very easy to use the touch UI instead of the mouse. I would love a 13 inch iPad in a good keyboard case. No mouse required!
Steve Jobs would disagree and slap anyone would install a keyboard on a IPad
read he’s Quote below
(Is there room for a third category of device in the middle? Something that’s between a laptop and a smartphone? ~ Steve Jobs
In order to really create a new category of device those devices are going to have to be far better at doing key tasks. Better than the smartphone, better than the laptop. ~ Steve Jobs)
That’s interesting, since when the iPad was launched, by Steve Jobs, one of the main accessories was a keyboard dock and a traditional Apple keyboard.
I would suggest you watch the video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPad, I especially like the bit where he introduces the KEYBOARD DOCK and says “When you really need to do a lot of typing, this is the way to go.”
“Joly reported that PC sales—which the tablet was supposed to kill—have picked up. He attributed that resurgence partially to the end of support of Windows XP”
Just a quick point on this bit, and maybe I didn’t read his analysis correctly, but didn’t Horace at Asymco pick apart this latest PC data, and taking out the Mac growth, found that PCs were actually still in decline?
Laptops have become desktop replacements and tablets have become laptop replacements. Separate, the smartphone is with us all the time, and all three go together like a delicious peanut butter & jelly sandwich. You really need all three.
When you see the world through the eyes of an Apple fanatic, you will never see it clearly.
“When you see the world through the eyes of an Apple fanatic, you will never see it clearly.” ~ JoeS54
Accusing others of being biased generally says more about the biases of the accuser than of the accused.
If you are seriously trying to suggest that you aren’t a major Apple enthusiast, and that it does not drive every word you write, you’re not fooling anybody. If you think you are, I don’t know what to tell you.
Ad Hominem (Circumstantial)
argumentum ad hominem
(also known as: appeal to motive, conflict of interest, appeal to personal interest, argument from motives, questioning motives, vested interest)
Description: Suggesting that the person who is making the argument is biased, or predisposed to take a particular stance, and therefore, the argument is necessarily invalid.
Person 1 is claiming Y.
Person 1 has a vested interest in Y being true.
Therefore, Y is false.
I think it is an objective fact that you are a huge fan of Apple, and you primarily use your column to defend them, and attack anyone who you feel threatens your beloved company in any way.
One possible alternative explanation is that you have your entire life savings invested in Apple stock.
Either way, I have never seen you criticize Apple or any of its products in any significant way. If you have, maybe you could point out that article.
To be fair, there really isn’t anything about this article that was about defending Apple, except in as much he could use the evidence to support tablets overall. Exactly as the other article used Apple news to support their position about tablets overall. There is nothing irrational about this.
This article was a response to another article about tablets. John was challenging some of the suppositions the other article seemed to be riding on. Really, it was pretty much us, the commenters, who made it about Apple and iPad, some bashing, some taking the opposite position. If you attack, why wouldn’t the other defend?
Sure… find me the article where has was critical of Apple or one of their products.
That’s totally missing the point of this article and this discussion. You’re trying to keep score. That’s not rational discussion. That’s what undermines most of you have to say. We’re trying to have a conversation.
That’s all I have to say about that. Do what you want.
JoeS54, it would help if you would respond to the points made instead of attacking me. It doesn’t matter who says what, it matters what was said. Every time you say I’m biased, you’re admitting that you having nothing of merit to add to the discussion.
“Just to drive John Kirk into a blind rage, I’m going to refer back to the central insight of Bill Gates way back at the dawn of the PC”
You’re trying to relive the Eighties. The iOS operating system is large enough in absolute terms to be self-sustaining. If you want to continue to prophesy a return to the glorious past that no longer is, you’re welcome to do so. But the world is going to move ahead without you.
I’m not trying to relive the 80s, or return to anything in the past. This is a truism that remains true. Software is what matters.
“This is a truism that remains true.” – JoeS54
I feel like we’re having two separate conversations on two very different topics.
“Tablets do not have the replacement cycle or mobility of smartphones. They tend to be shared in families – every individual does not need their own tablet. They’re not a replacement for PCs. They’re accessories to one’s digital ecosystem, and they are the least essential component. They’re a luxury item and a convenience.” – JoeS54
Opinions all, without a single shred of proof to support any of them. If you build your argument upon the shifting sands, don’t be surprised if it quickly crumbles with the changing of the tide.
I suggest reading your own site, for starters. These are not original insights on my part.
I didn’t say they were original. I said they were unsupported. If you can substantiate any of your claims, I would welcome your input.
“Having software that runs on every device is much more powerful than having the most profitable device.”
There’s a third option you’ve missed, having integrated hardware and software on a device ecosystem a billion strong.
That’s not the case, though. How good is Apple’s software compared to the alternatives? Of the default apps in iOS, how many do people replace with third party apps? When it comes to their other software offerings, like productivity – where would you rank their offerings in terms of quality or usage among the alternatives? How about iCloud? If you count Microsoft and Google as their chief competitors in these areas, Apple is dead last in all of them.
The advantages of having a software “ecosystem” that is completely independent of the hardware manufacturer or operating system are clear. Apple puts very little effort into their non-OS software, and they have shown little interest in making it work well cross-platform.
To put it into concrete terms, lets say I have a bunch of documents and data saved in one of these places – Google’s ecosystem, Microsoft’s ecosystem, Apple’s ecosystem, or a bunch of third party apps from different companies. I own a Windows PC, an iPhone, and an Android tablet. Which of those ecosystems has the best software, and with which of those ecosystems would my transition from one device to another be the most seamless? That’s a tough call. What’s not a tough call is that Apple is dead last in every category.
For you this may be true, but once again you’re ignoring the benefits Apple’s vertical integration provides. Why is it so hard for you to understand that what is true for you is not true for others? Your experience is that Apple is dead last in a bunch of ways that are important to you. This does not mean that is the case for everyone.
“When you see the world through the eyes of an Apple fanatic, you will never see it clearly.”
Whose eyes do you see the world through?
I see the world through the eyes of a skeptical consumer. I will try any device or software from any company in search of what best suits my needs.
Right now, I’m frustrated by the fact that nobody seems to have really figured things out for the new landscape. Every option has advantages, combined with major drawbacks. As a result, I am unsatisfied in many ways.
How does that make you any less biased? How does that provide its own coloured filters to see the world through? Being frustrated and unsatisfied is equally influential to being satisfied and not frustrated in affecting how one sees the world.
It makes me less biased, because I’m not rooting for some specific company. I’m objective about what works and what doesn’t. I could go on for a very long time about how much I dislike Google, but demented Google worshipers who thinks they can do no wrong barely exist. I could list all of the areas where Microsoft is lacking, but the entire tech media does that continually.
I like a lot of what Apple does. After trying to find an alternative, I’ve come to the conclusion that the iPhone is still the best smart phone on the market. On the other hand, I think the iPad is a waste of money. I like iOS (although the graphic design of iOS7 is terrible) but ONLY as a phone OS. On a tablet its limitations become too glaring.
IMO, negativity is the worst bias. No one is objective. Most likely you are aware of what works for you. By your own admission nothing works for all things. For most people, all that is important is that it works for the things they need it to work for. Everything else is irrelevant. For you, the iPad is a waste of money. that’s your bias. For me, it means I finally don’t have to lug my laptop around everywhere, especially places where it is not suitable. That’s my bias. just because you are wearing that shirt and I am wearing this shirt, doesn’t mean one of us is wrong.
Yeah. And I think skepticism is the only rational approach to someone who wants to sell you something. Adoring Apple is irrational.
This whole issue with adoring Apple, you’re projecting that onto other people. I don’t know anyone who adores Apple. I know satisfied customers, people who get lots of work done with Apple gear, people who have positive experiences with Apple’s products and services, and so on. You take all of that to mean ‘adoration’. But that isn’t what it is.
There are many people (ands many websites) devoted to rooting for Apple, and attacking anyone who criticizes them (this is one of those sites). I know of no such phenomenon surrounding any other company (although Android has some of those types, but they’re not Google fans, they’re Linux acolytes who don’t seem to realize Android is Google).
“There are many people (ands many websites) devoted to rooting for Apple, and attacking anyone who criticizes them (this is one of those sites).”
From your point of view I have no doubt that seems true, to you.
Not sure if your reply makes you skeptical. It sounds more likely you are just a frustrated person that can never be happy.
Reading this whole discussion, I think you’ve made some excellent points, and Defendor also. I want to question one of them. I’m not sure it’s really, any more, all about the software.
I use Apple products because Apple has done so many things to make my life better. Using Apple has been painless and productive. I make my living using my computer and rely on my phone for the same things as everybody does, and in many, many ways I feel as though Apple has been my ally. Apple helps me get things done.
When I was a PC user I felt exactly the opposite about Microsoft. It was always getting in the way and trying to stop me from getting things done, in a million different ways. Google and therefore Android is all about selling me to third parties. I don’t consider either to be an ally even if they do provide tools which I might occasionally use. In their complex assessments of goals and business tactics and strategy, attention to the user experience falls… somewhere.
From my perspective, the platform is consequently much more important than the software. I don’t care *that* much whether I’m using Pages or Word; iTunes or some Android mp3 player; they will probably all get the job done. I like OS-X, but I’d live with Windows if the roles were reversed. I’ve been satisfied with Apple’s software, but nothing is perfect. Maybe something else would work better in some areas, but I’ll never find it, because it really doesn’t matter that much. Because Apple has made my life so much easier in so many ways they have me locked up as a loyal and willing customer and supporter for the foreseeable future. Their software only needs to be good enough. The platform is what matters.
Apple will continue to improve their platform, and also I hope their software, and I think smart people will be attracted to it because Apple does things in ways that are specifically designed to make it the best user experience. That’s the key. That’s what Apple cares about, and they may not be the best in every way, but they’re the best at that; at least they are for me.
Quite a ways back I said I thought tablets were showing signs of saturation and that JK was a little overboard on the PC doom and gloom.
My position has always been more middle of the road.
Tablets entered the space, and did change the landscape. They added yet one more gadget to peoples lives. PC purchases slowed as tablets/smartphones also vied for the attention and dollars.
None are dying. None are going away, but they all coexist, vying for a budget that is split more ways on computing gadgets, and tending to lead to slower than traditional upgrade cycles for the PC.
Tablets I have also argued before are likely going to face a slow upgrade cycle.
I have a PC/Tablet/Phone like many others.
If I had to give one up, it would be the tablet without hesitation. It will also be the last thing I refresh (Honestly I can only see doing that when it dies).
Once the market stabilizes, tablets and PCs are both going to be looking at long refresh cycles. Doom and gloom for either is now and always was misplaced.
Respectfully disagree. Macs will continue to grow but the PC market overall will continue to fade. Or perhaps it will stabilize and merely continue to be a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall computing devices. And I expect tablets to resume their upward climb in the very near future.
Our positions are consistent with when we last disagreed on this, but now the reality is looking a lot more like I predicted.
If tablets haven’t saturated their primary market, then why the drop in sales?
If you had to do without, from this day forward: A) A PC (includes laptop) B) A smartphone, C) A tablet.
Which would you forgo?
I think the “drop in sales” is overstated, and is rooted in sell-through variations & misinterpretation of growth rates reduced from astronomical historical rates.
There may be a saturation of early adopters, but the bulk of people who will own a tablet don’t own one yet (they are the untapped market). We’ll find out in a couple of years, but I see hints that tablets will come on stronger than the PC did, and have a similar seismic impact.
Oh, to answer your query – with what I can do with iPad with AirPlay & Bluetooth, I can (largely*) do without a PC. The smartphone has an advantage in portability that, heretofore, cannot be duplicated. But if I had to pick just one, I think it’d be the tablet. It’s relatively portable (certainly around the house/office) and offers a default screen size that’s mostly useful.
* – progress doesn’t happen all at once, so I’ll admit I do still encounter challenges that I use a PC to address. But this happens with decreasing frequency. This mostly stems from websites that restricted to the PC toolset.
Hey, I like this poll. I’ve actually been thinking about this lately. Where I’ve come down to is I’m willing to ditch my smartphone for a feature phone. I think the monthly rates are exorbitant and I like that I can buy per use for the tablet. Most important messages come via text these days and most email can usually wait. Most of the work things I use either phone or tablet for are best done on iPad. And I hate how smartphones are getting larger. My thumb has never hurt so much, even when I spent all my free time gaming.
That’s just my workflow. YMMV.
Why would you ditch your smartphone for a feature phone? Just ditch the expensive data plan. One of my buddies does this. A smartphone without a data plan is still much more capable than a feature phone.
Mostly it is about simplifying my life. One reason is most of the important work tasks I use it for are better handled on a tablet. Another, really is I don’t want a larger phone. I use it one handed a lot and even the 4″ iP5 screen is a stretch for me.I really mean it when I say I would love a new model iPhone 4s form factor.
Otherwise, I really do only need the phone to be a phone and SMS. It is also a whole lot easier to swap out SIMs when I travel internationally, which I do a lot. I do have two very important tasks that aren’t work related that are making me hesitate. But if I figure I really can live without those, it is a done deal.
Personally, I think the trend for larger phones will backtrack after awhile, similar to how laptops went from small screen, to mega screen, then settling back to 12-13″. Phones will probably settle into that 4.5-5″ range.
“One of my buddies does this.” – Defendor
What Geeks do and what regular people do are two very different things. We need to think in terms of the 99%, not the 1%.
“What Geeks do and what regular people do are two very different things. We need to think in terms of the 99%, not the 1%.”
Really? Do you think going backwards from a Smartphone to a Feature phone is what the 99% will be doing? because this is what he is contemplating, and I offered a sensible alternative. This is just splitting hairs about some sub 1% case either way.
I think the idea is an iPad with a data plan and a feature phone. The feature phone then takes care of the ‘talk on the phone’ aspect. This is exactly what I do, except I don’t have a data plan for the iPad. I don’t want to be connected all the time, and I don’t need to be. And the work I do is better suited to the larger iPad screen.
With a dumb phone you can pay as you go, and since I don’t use it much it’s cheaper than a smartphone without the data plan. Not to mention you can get a dumb phone for almost nothing. I have a piece of crap Samsung dumb phone, it’s tiny, which is handy. I suppose the dumb phone is almost a kind of accessory for my iPad.
Right. And even then, iPad data plan only as needed.
Yeah, I think I’d dig some kind of wireless phone accessory thingy for the iPad. I don’t really need an iPhone and an iPad, and I prefer the iPad. Maybe an iPhone Nano? But a dumb phone works for now.
“If tablets haven’t saturated their primary market, then why the drop in sales?” – Defendor
Tablet sales have not dropped, they’ve unexpectedly slowed and only for two quarters. It’s very premature to say that the market is saturated. Some 50% of iPad buyers are new tablet owners. There are lots of consumers and TONS of businesses that have not yet bought, but soon will be buying, their first tablet.
To answer your question, I have an iMac, a MacBook, and an iPad 2 in a ZAGG keyboard case. I don’t own an iPhone, don’t need it. I use the iMac and the iPad. Haven’t touched the MacBook in a couple years. I need my iPad, it’s my main on the go work device.
To your other point about the PC market and iPad sales, I made this comment already but I’m pretty sure Asymco parsed the PC data and found that when you take out the growth of the Mac, the PC market is still actually in decline.
iPad sales aren’t actually down, they’ve slowed. This didn’t surprise me, I’ve said a few times that iPad sales had to slow down, the initial growth rate was absolutely crazy, beating the iPhone to every sales milestone. We need some context here, even the ‘poor’ iPad sales of the most recent quarter would make the iPad as a standalone business the top PC seller in the world, beating Lenovo. Unless my math is off, but I’m fairly sure that’s correct. And Lenovo characterized their last quarter as ‘outstanding’.
iPad sales are down. For 2 consecutive quarters, they sold less than they did the same quarter a year ago. That is the very definition of sales being down.
Yes, they are down YoY in those two quarters, would you like a cookie? 🙂
I’ll wait to see what the annual total is, could be that iPad sales for the year are level with or slightly better than the previous year. Tracking quarterly feels too granular to me, there’s been too much shifting of launch patterns and buying cycles for me to put much faith in the two off quarters Apple has every year. Keep in mind that fiscal Q4 is the back to school quarter, it’s possible the mix of iPads goes up in Q4. We shall see.
As I said, context is important, yes sales are down, but down from what? That’s why I say slowed, because that’s a more meaningful description. “iPad sales are down!” is a clickbait headline without context. But you would get that cookie for being technically correct.
If iPad sales levelled off from here on out that would be around 70 million per year. Lenovo sold 55 million PCs in a year and called that a record year, an outstanding result. You’ve got to twist the current data pretty hard to get a gloomy outlook for iPads.
“iPad sales aren’t actually down, they’ve slowed.”
“Yes, they are down YoY in those two quarters, would you like a cookie? :)”
You don’t have to be snide about recognizing reality. Sales are actually down. To say they are not down, is rationalizing/equivocating.
You conveniently ignore the part where I explained why I say slowed instead of down (I did that on purpose). Everybody knows the numbers, you’re not bringing new information to the table. I’m more interested in the proper context and analysis of the numbers. Most analysis right now is using ‘down’ to mean ‘in trouble’ or ‘doomed’, but it is more accurate to say the rate of sales has slowed. Also, we don’t know yet if iPad sales will actually be down annually. If I’m remembering my numbers correctly Apple needs to sell 16 million iPads in the back to school quarter to be level with 2013.
So again, it is premature to draw conclusions, we don’t have enough good data yet. You can’t seriously believe that basing your analysis on two non-buying quarters is a good idea.
Sales are down for 2 consecutive quarter and its a mystery as to why. But assuming that the “why” is that tablets have peaked is the least, not the most, likely answer.