Notebook vendors are clinging their hope to a fall launch of Windows 8 and Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips, thinking it’ll help reinvigorate interest in notebooks. Now, notebooks and portables in general have seen modest, single-digit growth in the past two years because a portion of the consumers’ budget has been absorbed due to iPad demand. So, what gives?

I like this paragraph in a DigiTimes story from this morning:

iPad has created new demand instead of eroding existing demand for notebooks, said Wistron chairman Simon Lin. However, iPad has absorbed a portion of consumer budgets, causing delays in replacement notebook purchases, Lin said.

Notebooks are expected to regain demand after the launches of Intel’s Ivy Bridge in the second quarter and Microsoft’s Windows 8 in the fourth, Lin indicated.

I though we were past “the iPad is not for content creation” meme.

The New York Times‘ Nick Bilton similarly ran a stupendous article headlined “Microsoft Surface allows people to create”. The author argues the Surface succeeds in content creation because it comes with a built-in pen and a keyboard cover.

And on iPad:

The iPad, for all its glory, suffers from one very distinct flaw: It’s very difficult to use for creation. The keyboard on the screen, although pretty to look at, is abysmal for typing anything over 140 characters.

There isn’t a built-in pen for note-taking, either. Of course all of this is intentional by Apple. Although there are hundreds of third party products available, Apple doesn’t seem to want the iPad to be a creator, but more of a consumer.


So Surface, which has no apps, no shipping date and no price, is supposedly better at content creation compared to Apple’s tablet, refined with apps and hardware upgrades for two years now?

And don’t get me started on the stylus.

Someone once said “if you see a stylus, they blew it”. People in dire need of a stylus on their iPad can just go out and buy one and use it in supported apps.

And on the Surface’s cover which doubles as a keyboard of sorts: I’m not really sure typing on a 3mm thick plasticky keyboard with keys that click barely 1.5mm suddenly turns the Surface into a notebook, but okay, that’s just me (and let’s not mention a plethora of accessories such as Logitech’s 8mm thick UltraThin iPad keyboard case, seen below).

The bottom line: if you need a stylus for your iPad, you can buy one. If you need a keyboard cover, you can have that too for your iPad.

To suggest that the iPad is not good for content creation because it doesn’t ship with a built-in pen and a keyboard cover is ludicrous.

Back to notebook vendors.

Of course they’re holding their collective breath for a drop-off in iPad demand.

Apple’s tablet has killed the netbook and is pretty much eating notebook vendors’ lunch. In fact, six years of consequentially outpacing the PC industry’s growth just serves to illustrate that Apple is likely milking all the profits in desktops and notebooks, just as it’s doing now to smartphones, despite Android making up for it in unit sales.

But is demand for the iPad losing momentum, as notebook makers would have us believe?

And how will Windows 8 and Ivy Bridge chips deter many from purchasing tablets – excuse me, iPads?

I’m not sure where notebook vendors are pulling their numbers from, but here’s my math. We’re just two years into this tablet craze and already iPad has sold 67 million units.

67. Million. iPads. In. Two. Years.

Here’s your perspective, courtesy of Apple CEO Tim Cook at last quarter’s conference call with analysts:

Just two years after we shipped the initial iPad, we’ve sold 67 million. To put that in some context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs, and five years for that many iPods, and over three years for that many iPhones, and we were extremely happy with the trajectory on all of those products.

This makes the iPad Apple’s fastest-selling product.

So much about iPad demand slowing down because people are suddenly waking up realizing they can’t create content on it.

They can.

Did I get that right or perhaps I’m missing something?


    I have a ipad 2 but having a full windows 8 operating system on a tablet that has a 2 layer user interface & usb ports to connect to printers or any wired device is not the same as an ipad with a bluetooth keyboard. This is what apple should of been aiming for IMHO as alot of people wanted & still wants this but had to settle for a ipad or an android alternative. Windows tablets will not destroy the ipad but it will eat into the business share that android and ipad may have. Practical design of an ipad with the practically of a windows operating system can’t be matched.

    • Dan

      I completely agree, I posted something similar in another thread. UBS just opens up so many doors, Apple needs to work something out or this could be a real threat.

    • BoardDWorld

      There’s always so many backward thinking people running around on blogs. You want more ports for wired gizmos to hang off your portable device? You want to run what’s designed to be a touch interface with a mouse using the ever so frustrating and likely windows 8 killing feature hotspots? People have no clue just how mixed up this will be. Right there in your defined scenario it seems you’ll be switching between interfacing with a mouse and touch. Think about it….

    • “practically of a windows operating system can’t be match”
      Do you think that running an anti viruses on a win 8 tablet will be practical?
      Do you think that connecting an external hard drive with wires to a tablet will be practical?
      Do you think that running applications that are designed for a mouse and keyboard will be practical when used with a touch screen?
      Do you think that trying to manage the mess of a filesystem on a tablet will be practical?
      Do you think that connecting a wire to a tablet just to print something will be practical?

  • Pukka12

    Yea I have a few Bluetooth docks and i never use them. I hate turning it on and off, then charging them. It’s such a hassle.

  • hehehehe Microsoft is just desperate, like nokia they will launch “the Next Big Thing” and one week later they will call a day like Nokia with “the Next Big Company” with no money and a lot of products in the shelves

    • Thats if and when they launch it. they are know for telling us about stuff and launching a year latter. no one even knows the specs of this thing and pepole already think it’s the greatest thing ever..
      thanks James

  • mindlessripoff22

    the part about just buying a stylus is bullshit. you need an active digitizer to get real work done (CREATION), not some sausage of a pen that works about as well as your finger

    • JamesR624

      Thank you. Until apple actually makes a tablet touchscreen that can work with styluses made for precision, the iPad SUCKS for content creation. Im sorry but with an included (and better) keyboard accessory and most likely more refined screen, hardware wise; as it stands right now, the Surface DOES seem better for content creation.

      • AdamChew

        How so that the surface is better at content creation.

        Have you try it or it just your imagination says so so it must be so.

        One more thing the keyboard and whatever you surmised are just add on which you can do with the iPad and with the apps the iPad has a better chance at contents creation.

        Oh,must my 2 cents.

      • so basically, the world as we know it before (or just excluding) tablets… sucks for content creations… because notebooks and desktops DON’T use precision styluses, or styluses.

  • JerseyD

    Christian why are you so mad? It literally sounds like you get stressed over reading articles where people say good things about surface. Apple and iPad don’t need people to defend them. Both will be fine. But seriously just enjoy these products. What exactly is the point of arguing over it.

    • J M

      It would have been a much more interesting read if it hadn’t been so emotionally heavy. I felt anxious just reading it…

      The same story could have been constructed without coming off like a big long rant and complaint.

      • And without all the typos, half of that article was in unclosed brackets.

      • Eric Armstrong

        Definitely lot’s of typos, very poorly written. It’s actually hilarious how many people hate on Christian… Sorry man, but seriously, have one of the other guys proof read before you post. I don’t even remember what this article was about because of way it was written.

      • javierE186

        I don’t mean to add to the reasons why people hate his articles but man oh man, does anyone notice that his Headlines are just awful. Like sure he has had a few good ones here and there but seriously “On iPad not being for working and learning”?. Like come on man, one it’s not catchy and two it probably confused the crap out of people, I showed this to my cousin and he almost crapped his pants trying to understand it. It was quite hilarious to see him try. Anyway, as I stated before I don’t want to add fuel to the fire but seriously he needs to reread, rethink or at least let some of the other guys proof read his material instead of just trying to push out as many articles as he cans. Now I am not saying I am a professional writer (as comment clearly shows) however it is pretty rough to read some of his articles and not feel as if they sort of bring the overall greatness of this site.

  • This blog is usally great but the bias is clear on this issue..

  • if you need content creation get a laptop. I’d use an ipad merely for superficial things like watching movies, playing games and surfing. No one is going to sit on their tablet and make a full blown website, or write a 6 pages essay. I don’t see this happening with Surface either. Besides, where are you going to stick that keyboard when you don’t want to use it? Not to mention the surface looks hideous imho.

    • Kok Hean

      Jeff does 😛

    • quietstorms

      Thank God you do not run Apple. The iPad and iPhone would’ve never existed.

      • thank god most of us don’t run apple…otherwise apple would never have gotten anywhere.

    • Ibz

      DOH! It doubles as a STAND and hides away. Do some product knowledge before commenting. It has the full windows 8 OS on it. So what does a laptop have that the surface doesn’t?

      • The keyboard doubles as a stand? The stand is built in. So do you call it a tablet or a laptop? Or a laptop tablet? Laptop tablets have been around for a while now, it’s nothing revolutionary.

  • christian:
    correct me if i’am wrong but when did they tell us that we would get a stylus and a
    keyboard cover with it. No one has said that they will include one when you buy the basic or pro model.

    thanks james

  • This whole Surface thing is getting ridiculous until they actually ship the product all of these obviously biased tech writers need to keep their mouths shut. Surface might be great but it may also go the way of the Touchpad the Playbook. Anyone rememebr the “Amatuer Hour is Over” campaign? The reality is no one knows at this point because what MS did was show of prototypes that no one got to spend any significant time with. As for the iPad not being for content creation that’s just plain ignorance at this point. There are so may great apps for all kinds of creation, sure many of the best may lean more towards the arts but that doesn’t make it any less of a useable tool. I think what people really mean is it’s not ideal for spreadsheets and other business type applications. Of course I’ve never understood that argument anyway because Apple still sells notebooks too. Apple has never meant for the iPad to be a full laptop replacement had they wanted it to be it would be running the full version of OS X.

    BTW – It was Steve Jobs Who said “if you see a stylus, they blew it”.

  • “Apple doesn’t seem to want the iPad to be a creator, but more of a consumer” is that so?

  • My favorite article you’ve ever written, Christian. Nicely put.

  • JimGresham

    AGREED – across the board. Great article.

  • I think that surface will be better than ipad for creating content, but it will not be so good, I can’t imagine my self doing all my work with this small screen.
    but the idea is than after lunching windows 8 we will see in the market a hole new generation of tablets with all screen sizes, with or without stylus……..
    that what apple should worry about.
    Just like android.

  • I use my iPad for college presentations, essays, studying for my practical tests, taking notes in class, researches, searchs, blogging on my blog, photo editing, name it.. And it has served me better than my Compaq mini notebook which I have stopped using since I got this iPad last october.
    iPad not for content creation my ass!

  • I uploaded my KeyNote to dropbox, opened it on my iPad in KeyNote and everything just worked. The videos the sound, everything, no extra editing needed. Such kind of portability is just freaking awesome!

  • i don’t know what is the deal with the surface, it’s just a tablet with a keyboard.!! we’ve seen this before!

  • Shugo Asakura

    Man, I really have to start checking the authors before I read these. Christian, we appreciate the article, but please, tone down the apple fanboy-ism.

  • Pffff I doubt the surface will ship with the keyboard and stylus. That shit will cost you extra.

  • D.

    This kind of post just makes my day.

  • I love how people are saying things like “this is what Apple should have been aiming for…” yea, the market says Apple failed with the iPad. Seriously, nobody wants a full OS on a tablet except uber geeks. If I had the need, I use a terminal app… but I don’t ever see the need because my tablet is for apps and my Macbook Air or iMac is for full OS related activities.

    I’ll agree the Surface will eat into enterprise sales… but honestly this is paltry for the tablet market. Most of it is consumer related – even in the enterprise. Only my most geek friends want more Microsoft software to deal with, and many of these are majorly disappointed with Win8. (why? My guess is its too much like Apple’s OS and not enough of a copy of Win95 like past versions)

    Microsoft people typically don’t embrace change. Thats why this will be a hit for them. My guess is they won’t enjoy the experience as much as real tablet owners will.

  • JohnCorab

    Seriously? Just go and buy stylus? Did you ever try to use a stylus on iPad?
    I did.

    I have and iPad 3 and I can say that it really doesn’t have anything related to a serious content creation. This is a sad true. When Apple doesn’t want us to use a real stylus (with a pen pressure and a decent precision) – it kills anything related to content creation and even the note taking. I hate Apple for that even though I’m a longtime Apple user.

    The same thing is with the keyboard. When you attach an external keyboard you lose a half of user experience and usability. I’m artist and web designer and iPad is nowhere near to suite my needs – I use Mac for that.

    500,000 apps in the AppStore are games and web viewers. iPad is the entertainment device – nothing more.

    What these guy say is a sad true. I don’t know what they’ll make about their surface, but current iPad is deadly seriously flawed.

    • Ibz

      Exactly. This person shares my opinion as he is a Creator like myself.
      Give me 3DS Max or Maya on the iPad. N il throw my laptop away.

  • thor_molecules

    It is true that the iPad can’t be used to create any and all content. As a college student, I’m sure I speak for the majority when I say that I definitely would NOT want to type a research paper on the iPad.

    That aside, I’ve found that my laptop has long replaced my notebook as my preferred device for content consumption.

  • unknown

    once again microsofts stylus and keyboard are standard, stylus has its place when u dont want to use it, the keyboard doubles as protection for the screen, how about ipads??

  • Ibz

    You DO realises the stylus you can buy for an iPad IS NOT A STYLUS AT ALL but rather a toy?? Try doing some graphics work with it. Windows 8 is a FULL operating system as a platform. Not some app-toting gaming and web browsing system like iOS

  • Ibz

    Sorry Christian but your article here is nothing short of apple fan babble.. Give the surface the credibility it’s due. With a graphics stylus you can create content in a full Adobe CS6.. Not some simplified iOS version. And buy a stylus?? Really?? U ever used a Pogo Stick for anything? It’s worse than your thumb at drawing lol

  • Wael Abdo

    creativity varies from a person to another and each sees the iPad as device for something, very few realized that its a device for everything…..

  • The author tells it like it is and the iHaters are weeping and wringing their hands. How amusing. Those Windows notebook vendors are still in a state of denial. They first stated that the iPad was just a passing fad, now they’re stating that some new batch of Windows computers are going to put the iPad in its place. Good for them. We’ll see if they know what they’re blathering about in about six months time. We’ll see if they’re so attuned to consumers needs and desires and prove that Apple doesn’t know what the hell it is doing.

    Yeah, Windows 8 is going to save the world from the horrible iPad and the wickedness it has brought upon mankind. Windows 8 is going to change everything because it does everything so much better than the iPad and iOS. When Windows notebook sales are flat six months from now, I wonder what their sad excuse will be. Just wait until Windows 9 notebooks are available. I don’t want to talk about the ZunePads just yet since not one ZunePad is in the hands of a consumer. As it stands now, it’s iPad = 67 million and ZunePad = 0.

    When the iPad was first introduced there were so many people who swore on their mother’s grave that it was going to be a huge failure because it was already proven that consumers hated tablets since Microsoft couldn’t give them away. Now there are so many of those same people claiming that the Microsoft ZunePad will be a huge success because it’s is better is so many ways than the iPad is. Only time will tell if they’re right about how a stylus and an attached keyboard will change everything consumers hated about Windows tablets. I have no idea whether the ZunePads will be successful or not. I’m not making any bold predictions about the future. Ship the damn ZunePad first and then let’s just wait and see how many consumers buy them.
    (Surface = ZunePad)

  • Robert Goldberg

    I liked this one.

  • The real meat of content creation will never migrate to tablets, at least not in the coming future. The reason is programs like FL Studio, Logic, Maya and even Adobe CS6 need a lot of RAM (4GB min, 8-16 recommended), processing power (min quad core) and HDD space to be effective. Those kind of specs are still far far off tablets and even if they come to tablets, by that time newer versions of Logic, Maya etc will be out that will require even more processing power. I’m not even gonna get on screen real estate and how useful it is for content creation.

    So what are tablets good for? I think a tablet can replace a laptop for a lot of people (I actually know a few people who have an iPad and don’t need a laptop), they’re pretty good for managing mail and browsing the web, getting quick access to a lot of information and social networks and making a lot of tasks a lot more productive and easier (Maps, Siri, TripAdvisor, Snapguide, etc) and of course, content like games, images and videos and tons of cool applications like those kid learning apps (if anyone has kids, you know how insanely good an iPad can be for you kid if you use it right).

    I think office applications (spreadsheet, word processor, presentation) do run well on the iPad. Perhaps for a big research paper or keynote where you need to have a lot of reference handy (a lot of websites open, a lot of books around you) then it might not be ideal, but then again, a surface or any tablet in general wouldn’t be handy either because of screen space constraints and limited multitasking options (JB tweaks like Quasar for iPad are great but are kinda limited by the screen space).

    The point isn’t to have 3DSMax or Maya or Logic running on an iPad, the point is making apps and hardware that will allow the users of these apps to complement their work on an iPad (because they’re never gonna give up desktop and notebooks for these apps), like for instance, a DJ using Traktor on his notebook could use a complementary app on his iPad to control effects or something.

    Tablets need really little to replace notebooks for most consumers (who only do email, web, media content and basic content creation like office apps) and one of those things is a good stylus and a good keyboard and, in my opinion, better multitasking solutions. All of that and I really don’t see why the bulk of notebook consumers would need to buy a laptop. Only geeks, gamers and professional content creators are gonna be wanting laptops and those are a teeny tiny minority. There’s nothing you can do to a tablet to make those people buy an iPad instead of a notebook so you might as well try to give them an incentive to buy both (which is pretty much what’s happening right now).

    So basically, I think both iPad and Surface are on the right track. To be fair, it’s not in Apple’s biggest interest to phase out notebooks, they have a pretty good lineup of notebook computers. They want to sell both and for that intent, they have a pretty good balance right now between what the iPad can do and what their cheapest laptop can do so you can realistically want both, not one or the other.