The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

Summary: While I like a good tablet in my hands, I am not so big a tablet fanboy to understand that the laptop is not going away any time soon, post-PC blockbuster or not.

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As a self-professed tablet fanboy you'd think I would be preparing for the death of the laptop with the introduction of the iPad 2 and other capable tablets such as the Motorola XOOM. While I like a good tablet in my hands, I am aware enough to understand that the laptop is not going away any time soon, post-PC blockbuster or not.

Laptops have this thing called a keyboard that a tablet is lacking, and it makes a huge difference for users needing to create written content. It may not be the most efficient way to get lots of text into a document, but it is far better than alternatives. Say what you will about typing on a laptop keyboard, it is much better than tapping fake keys on a screen.

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Don't get me wrong, tablets will indeed take sales away from laptop makers. There are a lot of folks who dont create much written content who will be happy without a physical keyboard. Sales of tablets will continue to grow at a fast clip, especially with lots of products about to hit the market that provide choice. But laptops aren't going anywhere, in fact maybe competition from this unexpected source will drive notebook prices down.

I started thinking about this tablet/ laptop thing after a visit from my step-daughter last night. She brought our grandbaby over for a visit, and while we were cooing over the baby she noticed the Motorola XOOM sitting on the coffee table. She picked it up, and was instantly hooked.

She uses a netbook at home, but like a lot of folks her usage is confined pretty much to online activities. She got excited the longer she played with the XOOM, as these online activities fit the tablet perfectly. She is now seriously considering replacing her netbook with a tablet of some kind, as it fits her lifestyle.

So how does this back up my statement that the laptop is not going to disappear in favor of tablets? Listening to her describe how perfectly the tablet fits her current lifestyle, I realized that is only temporary. In just a few years her daughter will be heading off to school, and based on my experience with our kids I know that's when she'll need a laptop, no matter how prevalent tablets become between now and then.

Schoolkids are expected to use laptops for homework, and with particular software tools. That means Microsoft Office, and not a generic equivalent. Assignments have specific guidelines which basically requires a laptop with web connectivity, running Office. This is a good thing, as in addition to enforcing uniformity in the student's work, it insures they will get experience using the tools that are in common use.

It is important that kids get exposure to these tools commonly used in the workplace, and this means computers with keyboards. The training wil prepare them for the real world, and that does not mean touch tablets. The enterprise may start incorporating tablets in the the workplace, but on a limited basis. There are too many factors that will make laptops the preferred computing tool in the enterprise, so kids will need to learn how to use them.

So laptops are here for the duration, and that's a good thing. The more choice we have determining the tools we use, the better. I love my tablets, but I need the keyboard.

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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94 comments
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  • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

    What's wrong with plugging in an apple keyboard? I do.
    Reged
    • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

      @Reged......... Portability?
      ChoMlo
    • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

      What about lack of optical drive,decent storage size, no SD card slot, lack of USB ports, I could go on. If you think adding a keyboard fixes everything then you don't do much with your iPad.
      jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @jscott418 Or a floppy drive for that matter? just kidding. But seriously, if everything's going to the cloud do we really need optical drives? There are so many great apps for watching TV and movies that hunting around for a possibly scratched or dirty DVD seems pretty antiquated these days. Software installs? With the App Store no need for optical drives there either. Backup? Happens when you do a sync with your desktop computer now, but I can imagine it won't be long before Apple cuts those ties so everything gets backup to Mobile Me and you don't even need a PC anymore. I think that's what Apple is getting at when they talk about the Post-PC era. Sure we'll be hanging onto our laptops for a while still, but the iPad 2 isn't the end of the evolution of these tablet devices. The list of reasons for people choosing a laptop over a tablet is getting shorter all the time. Kids growing up with iPhones and iPads will be so used to them that using a tablet device will just seem more natural.
        Bill Snebold
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @bill Really want to know why laptops are not going away? Because Steve jobs got it into his head that the tablet cannot be powered by a mouse. You see I have a tablet and bought the keyboard. What a mistake. Typing is one thing, but having to constantly raise my hand to touch something not the screen just plain sucked. Of course if you jail break the device there is a mouse driver. But only if you jail break.

        Tablets are information consumption devices only. Nothing bad with that. And quite frankly I will continue to own a tablet and a notebook.
        serpentmage
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @jscott418
        That's the point most miss: do you want a consumptive device or a pc-like device - pick your tablet accordingly.

        I looked at and like the folio with keyboard for the iPad, but as I want a pc-like device I'm looking more at the Android tablets.

        @James K - I cannot agree. I think Motorola has the right idea - smartphone or tablet that can be plugged into a laptop style dock or something very similiar. As the cpu race for tablets heats up and energy use gets more efficient, I feel the laptop will be relegated to some business and hi-end gaming. The average user will have a plug and play smartphone, tablet or both.

        ;)
        rhonin
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @jscott418
        LOL what a waste of money
        mikroland
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @jscott418
        Lol your dead on but in general ipad and apple users aren't very smart, don't demand much for their money and live in make believe worlds lol. Thge ipad couldn't replace a netbook let alone a full on laptop thats a given.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @billsnebold
        The thing is not everyone really wants the cloud environment. I think it has a niche market but the complexity of it for the novice and the security issues for companies make it not very ideal or attractive. I as an it guy myself like the cloud for entertainment storage only ie music videos and such but to kjeep important info or files in a cloud nooo wayyy. It's scary to think ebay will be going to a cloud based server with all the users info on it its a giant disaster waiting to happen so drives are a must and great must haves for anyone doing basic work or play.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @jscott418

        If you need Netbook type of functionality simply just plugin a keyboard, runs a Windows virtualization software such as ThinServer and it will work !

        http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm
        Jen8
      • Sounds reminiscent of the Macbook Air...

        @jscott418
        And look how many idiots have give up much of the storage options (not including the keyboard of course)... lemmings will always follow an only realise what they are missing when Job's re-adds it as a "an amazing new feature"!!
        kaninelupus
    • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

      @Reged

      If ipad is powerful enough in the future to have some other software installed like MS Office, the life span of laptop will be much shorter.

      In addition, cloud computing will speed up this trend.
      mlwan
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @mlwan <br>What Apple needs is flexibility to make that work.<br>- common storage area on device for all apps to use<br>- basic file system when I can't use/get to the cloud<br><br>Unfortunately, I don't see this happening in an SJ controlled environment. But then stranger things have happened.<br><br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">
        rhonin
    • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

      @Reged Whats wrong with turning my slate into a netbook? ... nothing ... thats the point. I think slate/book conversions WILL replace a lot of netbooks, maybe even laptops someday. I thought this the first time a saw a dockable/wireless/touchscreen monitor. Maybe not tomorrow, but eventually. (I think)
      shadfurman
    • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

      @Reged what is the point then - if u carry the keyboard then it is same as to carry a full netbook. tablets are known for mobility.
      scrakshit
  • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

    Finally someone that is willing to admit it. I don't see the laptop going away either. The tablet market may gain some share in the short term but then people will realize its less functional than the laptop and those shares will quickly diminish.
    Loverock Davidson
    • No one even hinted that laptops will be going away

      @Loverock Davidson: at most, there was talk that netbooks, which are mostly "good for nothing" devices, might feel some decrease.

      Goog laptops will continue to sell.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        I don't understand why people can't see the iPad/iPad2 for what it truly is, which is a way for Apple to keep making money. Since Apple's overpriced computers have a crappy market share compared to the PC's 90%, they are not making any money in that area. The media devices (iPod, iTouch, Nano, etc.) is where they made their mark in the industry. Apple can't out sell the PC market when PCs are selling at around $600 these days and a laptop for $700. Apple has a whopping $1,500 - $2,000 price tag for their desktops and laptops. It's ridiculous and Macbooks and IMacs are not all that magical. Apple is riding this media device wave and they are going to continue to ride it because it's their "money maker." Since some people seem to think that the iPad is the best thing since sliced bread, then its popularity probably won't end anytime soon. The notion that the iPad could replace the laptop is a pipe-dream and it probably came from somebody at Apple to raise the curiosity of the public even more and make people want the iPad even more. Unfortunately, its obvious that folks who bought into the iPad thinking that it could replace their laptop, are disappointed with it. They will not admit that because they just spent nearly $1,000 getting it and have to convince themselves that its a good product. The fact that it's sold $18 million doesn't mean that it's the "future", it just means that the iPod is still a popular device...so popular that people want a king size one instead of a pocket sized one. That's it. No magic, Steve Jobs is not a genius, and the iPad is not a laptop killer.
        Gadget Girl
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        @Gadget Girl

        <i>Since Apple's overpriced computers have a crappy market share compared to the PC's 90%, they are not making any money in that area. </i>

        Actually, they are ridiculously profitable in this area. They have a small market share, but their margins are so high relative to other PC makers that they suck up a huge percentage of actual profit in the PC industry.

        <i>The notion that the iPad could replace the laptop is a pipe-dream and it probably came from somebody at Apple to raise the curiosity of the public even more and make people want the iPad even more.</i>

        An iPad can replace a laptop for people who don't have to create content, but merely consume it.


        The "tablet" as a separate entity is probably short-lived anyway. Fast forward a few years where full desktop OSes run handily on iPad-thin hardware and mobile docking stations with laptop-style keyboards and mice/trackpads exist and there will no longer be much of a relevant difference between a tablet and a laptop. It will just be "mobile computing".
        SlithyTove
      • RE: The iPad 2 is here, but laptops are not going away any time soon

        [i]The "tablet" as a separate entity is probably short-lived anyway. Fast forward a few years where full desktop OSes run handily on iPad-thin hardware and mobile docking stations with laptop-style keyboards and mice/trackpads exist and there will no longer be much of a relevant difference between a tablet and a laptop. It will just be "mobile computing".[/i]

        It's gonna have to have a touch-centric interface that's intuitive. And it will also have to have a long battery life. The iPad changed the game in all that.

        Merely band-aiding a windoze desktop OS with a few stylus options on to what amounts to a laptop with a weak_ass swivel screen, ain't gonna cut it.
        search &amp; destroy