The easy to use, large screen and light weight are some of the reasons that have recently enticed the 85 years old monarch – Queen Elizabeth, to buy her an Apple iPad after owning at least 2 iPods (http://digitallife.today.com/_news/2011/05/11/6624168-ipad-buying-queen-now-her-royal-i-ness – accessed on 12th May 2011). MSN suggests that popular gadgets like PDAs, Fax machines, portable navigation system, CD/DVD ROMs, Netbooks and e-readers will go extinct in the next five years (Update from Jan 2016 – the first four devices are already extinct!).

It can be argued that devices like Apple iPad are responsible for this. The new generation tablet PCs integrates all the above mentioned devices in one handheld lightweight pad like gadget. The revolutionary tablet PCs are loaded with dual core processors for faster computing and graphic cards with perform up to nine times better than a traditional graphic cards and hence provide an class-apart gaming experience (http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/ – accessed on 12th May 2011).

These devices are equipped for the next generation technology like video calling and conferencing, music players, browsers and apps for online shopping, social networking, gaming, its Wi-Fi & dual camera feature and with longer battery life to assure that the devices don’t run out of juice, running all the features it provides. Not to mention, these devices sense motion, are touch screen operated with an LED screen for any angle viewing and comes with an operating system which are immune to computer viruses, so far (http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/ – accessed on 12th May 2011).

Apply with its products have obtained monopoly in most of the markets, for instance Apple has a market-share of over 78% in China (http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/ent2894.html – accessed on 12th May 2011). But will the iPad be able to replace laptops is the question.
Analyses of the features of an iPad suggest that it may eat some of the share of laptops, but will not be able to replace it. Some of the reasons include that most corporate and academic users need an access to software like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint for their daily activities and these tablet PCs, especially iPad, fail to be compatible with them. The touch screen keypad makes it difficult to type when it comes to typing long emails and assignments. Again a mandatory requirement of the previous mentioned segment.

Tablet PCs are not loved by all users and more importantly there exists a huge chunk of consumers who are decidedly anti-Apple for their own reason (http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/iPad2-Tablets-Will-Wound-but-Not-Kill-Laptops-10-Reasons-Why-401421/1/ – accessed on 12th May 2011), which is good because this will prevent Apple from acquiring any kind of monopoly and more importantly, sustain it.

Apart from these reasons the most important reason why iPad will not be able to replace laptops is because the market is very huge. The data provided by IDC last year, indicates that there were 93 million PCs sold and 15 million iPads. It can be argued that the iPads were high in number because it was its launch year; however the PC buyers must have bought their PC as a replacement to the existing one and still did not prefer an iPad over it.

Be it a fad or be it a replacement for laptops, but one thing is certain, iPad is definitely an innovation and have opened the doors for new possibilities.

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I'm an eCommerce Project Director at an agency in London and a consultant for a number of eCommerce start-ups. I founded Think etc 9 years ago which now lets me share my research and experience with all the interesting brands, people, places and projects that I have been privileged to work with. My work on crowdsourcing was published by Oxford as part of a journal article and I have been obsessing over eCommerce and Magento over the past several years.

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