The popularity of media tablets is extraordinary, given the fact that they emerged on the market less than two years ago. While some market research firms predict that eventually slates will match or outsell notebooks in terms of unit sales, Apple is confident: media tablets like the iPad are on-track to outsell personal computers in general.
"I truly believe, and many others in the company believe, that there will come a day that the tablet market and units is larger than the PC market," said Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.
Modern tablets can do a lot of simple tasks, but they are clearly not personal computers and cannot be used for content creation, although Apple, Google and Microsoft are working hard to bring tools from "big" operating systems onto tablets. But tablets are perfect for a number of things like reading, monitoring the Internet and receiving information. In fact, last quarter more tablets were sold in the U.S. than desktop PCs were shipped.
"It is interesting to note that in the U.S., it ss clear from the IDC's recent data on desktop PCs in the U.S., that tablets exceeded desktop PC sales last quarter in the U.S.," explained the head of Apple.
With around 15.4 million of iPad 2 media slates sold during the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple was clearly the biggest supplier of tablets back in Q4. Although the company admits that sales of its Macintosh systems are growing slower because of the iPad 2, it claims that those tablets are also cannibalizing sales of Windows-based computers as well.
"There is cannibalization clearly of the Mac by the iPad, but we continue to believe there is much more cannibalization of Windows PCs by the iPad and there is many more of them to cannibalize. So, we love the [cannibalization] trend, we think it is great for us," added Mr. Cook.
But while tablets have rather bright prospects, there is a big question whether tablets will outsell PCs provided that they are bought as companion devices.