The Terrible Tablet Tsunami Two

on September 20, 2012

On June 18, 2012, I wrote about the changeover from PCs (desktop and notebooks personal computers) to tablets in an article entitled “The Terrible Tablet Tsunami and the Future of Computing“. Today the trend toward tablets continues — only more so., has been kind enough to consolidate several tablet bullet points, with sources, into an infographic that can be viewed here. Let’s take a look at a few of their key findings.

In The Beginning

In April 2010, the tablet category was reborn with the launch of Apple’s iPad. People who compare the iPad to previous iterations of the tablet are comparing apples to oranges (all puns intended). The iPad had many features that made it successful but its true genius lay in the twin combination of an entirely touch user input combined with an entirely new, built-from-the-ground-up, operating system designed to take advantage of that touch input. As successful as the iPad has already been, we still don’t seem to fully grasp how quickly it has changed the face of computing and how rapidly the pace of that change is accelerating.

Within 18 months, tablet penetration among U.S. households hit 11%. No other technology – not electricity, telephones, computers, mobile phones, internet or smartphones – has penetrated society so quickly.

Fastest adopted technology EVER. Step back, take a moment and think about that for a second.


Tablet sales are expected to edge out PC sales by 2016.

The personal computer was introduced in the mid-seventies – some 35 years ago. The iPad was introduced in April 2010 – some 30 months ago. It will only take the tablet 6 to 7 years in order to match the annual sales of the 35 year old PC.


77% of tablet users report that their desktop and laptop usage decreased after getting a tablet.

In my article: “The iPad Put A Fork In Personal Computing“, I compared the PC to a knife and the tablet to a fork. I attempted to point out that the fork does not replace the knife – but it does decrease one’s use of, and reliance upon, the knife. The exact same thing is now happening with tablets and computers. The evidence is indisputable – but it’s being disputed anyway. (See “Beneath Contempt”, below).

1 in 4 owners say their tablet is now their primary computer.

One. In. Four.

How many times have we heard – and will we have to hear – naysayers declare that the tablet cannot replace the PC as one’s primary computer? Here’s a clue for the naysayers: Not only CAN the tablet replace the PC for some computer users, it’s happening and it’s happening right now.

And not only is it happening, it’s happening FAST. In my article: “The PC is the Titanic and the Tablet is the Iceberg.“, I focused on the the fact that the bulk of the tasks that the tablet excels at lies beneath the PC’s areas of expertise and competence. The tablet isn’t becoming the primary computer for many DESPITE its less sophisticated, simpler nature – it’s becoming the primary computer for many BECAUSE of its less complex and simpler nature.

3 in 4 American enterprises have adopted the tablet in some way.

The Enterprise is notoriously conservative and slow to adopt new technologies. You can always count on the Enterprise to adopt the newest technology – after they’ve tried everything else. The fact that three-quarters of American enterprises have already moved to adopt the tablet in its first two and a half years of existence is truly astonishing.


Beneath Contempt

“The next big thing is always beneath contempt.” ~Clayton Christensen

Many of us are in denial about the rapid ascendency of tablets. Even as the shadow of the onrushing Tidal Wave blots out our sun, we insist that the PC will always be the center of the computing world.

Analysis isn’t about proving who is right, it is about discovering what is right. It is not our job to have the facts on our side. It is our job to be on side with the facts.

Most importantly, we need to stop the insults and the contempt for others. We should not assume that others are ignorant just because we don’t understand them. When we don’t understand others, we should assume that is is we who lack understanding.

The Tablet Tsunami

The tablet tsunami isn’t coming, it’s here. We can ride the wave…or we can wave goodbye any chance of understanding the future of computing.