Tablets will soon surpass personal computers

Blair Hanley Frank

During Apple’s quarterly earnings call in April, one of the major announcements was that the iPad now brings in more money in revenue than Mac sales. Personally, I don’t see that trend reversing itself anytime soon.

For the vast majority of consumers, their primary needs as far as a computer goes are fairly simple: They need to check their email, perform basic office software tasks like building presentations and editing documents, and browse the web.  Maybe they’ll listen to some music. For those people, tablets like the iPad are going to become more attractive as their one computing resource.

Personal Computers––from laptops to desktops, Macs to Windows––are designed to be workhorses, and back in the day when keeping multiple Word documents open was a small feat, having the latest and greatest in processing was worth the money. Now, that’s not so necessary. Most people don’t even need the processing power in a MacBook Air in order to do their jobs effectively. As it stands, laptops and desktops provide a few key advantages like physical keyboards that tablets cannot yet provide, but the writing is on the wall.

The future seems to hold a smaller role for the workhorse personal computer, which is just fine with me. I want a computer that allows me to stream video, edit large image files, check my email and play a game of Tetris all at the same time. Playing my favorite video games is something that I value. But not everybody needs a screaming-fast processor, a massive hard drive and tons of RAM.

The personal computer is becoming increasingly similar to a pickup truck. Not everybody needs a pickup. I don’t see myself hauling massive payloads back and forth from place to place on a regular basis. A sedan will fit me just fine. The same goes for computers: Not everybody needs the latest and greatest anymore, and perhaps having a portable tablet with long battery life will be more important than having a computer that can work harder than anything else on the market.