Apple's iPad 2 has been an absolute retail success. The device is still extremely difficult to find on store shelves, and those who order it online still need to wait weeks for it to arrive on their doorstep. That success, combined with the sheer number of tablets expected to launch this year, has just about every analyst saying that the tablet market is poised for a sales explosion. And over the next several years, consumers will continue to jump at the chance to buy an iPad or similar device.
That success has caused some to speculate about the future of notebooks. Traditionally, notebooks have been the mobile companions for consumers and enterprise customers alike. In addition, their sales history has proved that the market is keen on those products. But a new report from AppleInsider, which cited "supply chain" sources, reveals that demand for PCs is rather "weak" right now. And the publication's sources say that it could be due to the sheer number of people opting for tablets.
It's an interesting report, and on one hand, it might make some wonder if the notebook's days are numbered. However, laptops are here to stay. While devices like the iPad 2 are undoubtedly hurting notebook sales, these mobile devices won't eliminate their chief competitor.
Here are the reasons why:
1. The enterprise
Although an increasing number of companies are warming to the idea of bringing the iPad 2 or another tablet into their corporate networks, the vast majority of companies realize that notebooks are still relevant and necessary. Employees must be able to have access to Microsoft Windows when they're away from the office. And they also need to be productive. Tablets don't afford those opportunities in any sufficient way right now. Until they do, the corporate world alone will be keeping notebooks afloat.
2. It's too hard to type
One of the biggest drawbacks with tablets is that they don't make it easy for users to type. The iPad 2's virtual keyboard is arguably the best on the market, but it still can't compare to an old-fashioned physical keyboard. Yes, consumers can buy a separate keyboard access for the iPad 2, but it's not ideal. Having a physical keyboard built-in is another reason notebooks continue to be relevant.
3. The operating system isn't powerful enough
As nice as iOS is, it can't compare to Windows or Mac OS X. It simply doesn't have the kind of firepower that customers are after. Mobile operating systems are built to be lightweight and capable of engaging in simple tasks-like email, surfing the Web and watching video-as efficiently as possible. The operating systems lack worthwhile file systems, a more robust interface and all the other things that people will find in the operating systems running on notebooks.
4. Windows is still important
Following that, it's important to keep in mind that Microsoft's Windows platform is still important in today's tech industry. Microsoft's operating system is running on the vast majority of computers around the world. It's a platform that people are comfortable using. Perhaps most importantly, it's the operating system most folks use every day at work. Until Windows somehow loses a significant portion of the OS market, notebooks will be here to stay.