When Apple released the iPad, it was an extreme success. Apple had sold over 19 million iPads before they even released the second generation of them. People loved the new tablet because of it was extremely lightweight compared to laptops, it was extremely portable, it was touch screen, it was easy to use, and it functioned like a normal computer. Seeing Apple’s success, it seems as if every major computer manufacturer has been trying to compete with it, by releasing their own tablet. More tablets are being made at a faster rate than they previously have been, and it’s only going to increase as time goes by.
Statistically, far less people own some sort of tablet computer than a laptop or desktop computer. I happen to own all three of those, and they each have their uses. I tend to use my iPad only when I need to take advantage of its amazing portability, mainly at my school, where many people tend to flock around me to see me use it. A tablet is still a fairly new type of technology to them, they haven’t seen one being used before. Even when I’m not in school, curious people occasionally approach me to ask me questions about the “new” device. When they see me using the tablet, they comment on how it appears to be easy to use, and only don’t want to buy one because of the price. A lot of people think that tablets will replace laptops, but I think not.
Apart from being easy to carry around and easy to use like a normal computer, there aren’t many advantages to use a tablet over a laptop when you have the option to do so. First of all, typing on a touch screen keyboard is harder than on a laptop, even with a larger tablet such as the iPad or the iPad 2. It’s kind of the same feeling as using a laser keyboard, it’s just not the same without the keys there. Plus, the keys are usually smaller, so fast typers such as myself would have a hard time typing as fast as we would be able to on a laptop.
More advanced applications are just not the same without the hardware a computer provides also. Most tablet keyboards don’t have a full keyboard available on one screen, you have to switch or press a button to get to the rest of them. That would make programmers jobs much harder, and their work would not be able to get done as fast. Or video editing. iMovie is great for the basics, but you won’t be able to get very precise, advanced video editing on any touchscreen device, or at least not as easily. Photoshop? Forget it. I’m not saying it’s not possible. I am saying that it will never be as easy as it would be on a laptop or desktop computer. On a touch screen computer, it’s simply impossible to be as precise as you could be while using a mouse.
Another important point is that tablets can cost a lot more money than a laptop, and still not provide a fraction of the power. You could spend $500 on an iPad with 16 gigabytes of storage, a 1.0 ghz processor, and 512 megabytes of RAM, or you could spend $350 on a cheap laptop with a 2.1 ghz processor, 4 gigs of ram, and 320 gigabytes of space. That laptop would be able to handle much more than the tablet and store many more files on it. In the end, you could buy a much more powerful laptop for the same price you could buy a less powerful tablet. Again, tablets are known for their extreme portability. However, you won’t be able to keep them quite as portable if you throw in 300 gigabytes of hard drive space, now can you? Laptop are being produced with internal hard drives with storage capacities over 1 TB, yet we have yet to come across a tablet that ships with over 100 gigabytes of space.
Will tablet sales increase? Yes, they will. Will see an enormous amount of different tablets being produced in upcoming years? Yes, we will. But will tablets ever fully replace laptop computers? No, they won’t. They will only fully replace laptop computers for the people that absolutely need the features a tablet has, that a laptop doesn’t, and that’s a fairly small amount of people. Far less than the amount of people who would benefit buying a laptop over a tablet. In short, tablets will not replace laptops.