Let's start with the story from a market of one...
I bought the first iPad from Apple and loved it immediately. I wound up lugging it around with me all over the world along with my MacBook Pro. As soon as the latest version of the MacBook Air was released, I got one. It quickly became my most favorite computer of all time. I loved it so much that I didn't understand why I would need to carry around the MacBook Air and the iPad at the same time. I loaned my iPad to a family member and quickly forgot about it. Once it was returned to me, I started fidgeting with it again and realized how much I enjoyed the experience. I went out and got the new iPad (3? HD? whatever!). Now, I'm busy carrying both the iPad and MacBook Air all over the world. The truth is that I use the MacBook Air for nothing but writing (blog posts, articles and books) and for publishing the audio podcast. That's about it.
Tablets have come of age.
I'm not the only who feels this way. Looking out - not too far - into the horizon, I could see myself completely ditching the laptop/computer in lieu of the iPad. Yes, a couple of things need to happen (me getting more used to typing with it, multitasking, better content creation), but it doesn't feel like any of those things are all that major. While some may say that I lie closer to the bleeding edge than most, it turns out that the bleeding edge is moving ever-closer to the center of mass adoption.
Are iPads killing laptops?
Earlier this week, Research Brief ran the news item, Is The Laptop Threatened By The Tablet?, which stated: "12% of iPad users already say the device has completely replaced their traditional laptop, while another 54% said it had partially replaced their laptop. In addition, 44% of marketers believe tablets will have a high or very high impact on laptop use in 2012." It's not the first time that we're experiencing dramatic transitions to new and emerging technologies, but we have to remember that the iPad didn't even exist three years ago. So (once again) things are moving at an exponential rate. When Apple CEO, Tim Cook, took the stage to announce the latest iPad back in March, the most telling piece of data he revealed was that iPad 2 had outsold almost every PC in the previous year.
Fad or trend?
At first blush, many thought the tablet could be a fad. That the average consumer could never let go of the physical keyboard or the mouse. As usual, those people were wrong. The majority of people are not major content creators and are getting by - just fine, thank you very much - with a tablet. They can take and shoot pictures, write quick emails, create a Facebook status update and more. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the tablet is a true contender (not companion device) for what we had called the "home computer" or the "laptop."
It seems obvious.
While that may seem obvious to you and I, it's a pretty startling revelation when you look at how quickly it came to market and how quickly the technology is evolving as well. For under eight hundred dollars any one of us can have significant computational power that is not only highly mobile, but with more-than-impressive connectivity speed (streaming videos stream just fine). From a marketing perspective, it's even more fascinating: brands are still grappling with websites, e-commerce platforms and social media in a web-based browser world as they slowly trickle into mobile (on the smartphone side). So few are thinking about the utility, content and opportunity that tablets and the iPad bring. It's a big deal. Rumors are abound today that Facebook will be built into the next Apple iOS (looks like iPhone first, then iPad) - more on that here: TechCrunch - After Years Of Flirting, Facebook And Apple Set To Achieve Relationship Status In iOS 6. Suddenly, everyone is trying to figure out what their brand looks like when everyone can touch it in ways that they could never do before.
What does that tell you? Welcome to a faster pace of change.