Apple iPad Is Changing the IT Industry: 10 Major Ways

News Analysis: Apple's iPad is changing the IT industry in a big way, and PC vendors are starting to realize that in a big way. The iPad is taking sales away from full-featured PC models, and that is a trend that is shaking the industry to its foundations.

Apple's iPad has been selling extremely well. In 2010 alone, Apple reported that it sold 15 million tablet units. During its last-reported quarter, Apple sold 4.69 million iPads, helping to further solidify its position as the most dominant and arguably most influential company in the tablet market. Now, all others, including Google, Motorola, Research In Motion and Samsung, are trying to catch up to the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

But the iPad's significance goes beyond the tablet market. That space might be where the device appeals to consumers, but its impact stretches across the technology industry. Companies that aren't even competing in the tablet market are seeing their operations affected by Steve Jobs and Company. And looking ahead, the iPad's impact will only continue to expand.

Simply put, the iPad is changing the technology industry in several major ways. Read on to find out how:

1. Tablets are all the rage

It's important to remember that before the iPad launched, there were PC tablets on store shelves. However, those tablets were niche devices that failed to catch on with the mainstream. The iPad, however, changed all that. The device ignited a tablet craze that caused several more devices to come out after it. Now, tablets are everywhere. And the iPad is the main reason for that.

2. Who needs netbooks?

Prior to the launch of the iPad, netbooks proved to be the go-to device for users who wanted to be more productive while on the go. There was even some speculation that netbooks would hurt notebook sales and potentially carve out a significant portion of the market. But then Apple introduced the iPad, and all that changed. Now, itseems like only a matter of time before netbooks fail.

3. Are notebooks that much better?

Of course,netbooks aren't the only computers that might be in deep trouble now that devices like the iPad are on store shelves. Lightweight notebooks, devices typically featuring 13- to 15-inch displays and boasting less-capable specs than their more-powerful laptop counterparts, are also having some trouble finding a customer base. As the Great Recession proved, consumers have a finite amount of cash to spend, and when they want mobile-focused products, opting for both a tablet and lightweight notebook isn't always possible. Considering the iPad's sales, it seems many folks are choosing Apple's option over notebooks.

4. Touch screens are more popular than ever

The touch screen isn't necessarily the best solution for enterprise customers who want to be productive. However, they do tend to work quite well on tablets. Since the iPad has become so popular, touch screens have become more appealing to consumers in the computing market. It's an interesting shift that can't be overlooked. If it weren't for the iPad, the touch screen wouldn't be nearly as popular in the computing market as it is today.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...