We’ve been hearing about the post-PC revolution since the original iPad came into full view two and a half years ago. It immediately killed off the netbook and sales have been rising steadily ever since. But what about the notebook? It’s still the most popular mobile PC. The question is, for how long?

According to a new survey, in a little over three years from now more people will be buying tablets as their primary mobile PC than notebooks. So much about the iPad not being suitable for content creation

Research firm NPD is out with a new research note today spelling doom for notebooks in light of the rising popularity of tablets – that is, Apple’s iPad.

While notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208M units in 2012 to 393M units by 2017, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 121M units to 416M units in this period, for a compound annual growth rate of 28%.

So why did I put ‘the iPad’ in the headline and not ‘the tablet’?

Because tablet market continues to be the iPad market. Apple sold more than 70 million iPads thus far and if this trend doesn’t reverse itself by 2016, it’s fairly safe to assume it’ll still dominate the market, even if its unit share drops below 50 percent.

So, why does NPD think people will be picking up “tablets” in droves by 2016?

A key driver for tablet PC growth is adoption in mature markets (including North America, Japan and Western Europe), which will account for 66% of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60% range throughout the forecast period. Tablet PC shipments into mature markets will grow from 80M units in 2012 to 254M units by 2017.

Also of note, Ryan Kim writing for GigaOM yesterday reported that tablets are now bringing in more traffic to major shopping sites than smartphones.

Monetate, which analyzes more than 100 million online shopping experiences, said that in the first quarter of 2012, tablet traffic to commerce sites hit 6.52 percent, overtaking smartphones (5.35 percent) for the first time. In the last year, tablets’ traffic increased 348 percent while smartphones visits grew by 117 percent over the same period.

Tablets you say?

Almost all of the traffic (95 percent) was from the iPad, said Monetate.

By the way, John Gruber has an opinion about this particular line.

Looks like Steve Jobs was right.

When challenged by technology columnists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in 2010 that one couldn’t use the iPad for serious work over lack of decent content creation apps, he simply replied that “time takes care of a lot of these things”.

Here we are, two years later, and the iPad has an insane Retina display, a much beefier hardware and a bunch of apps to compose music, edit photographs and office documents, create websites and lots more.

What a difference two years make.

Now imagine what the iPad will be capable of by 2016.


  • Aric Bolf

    I tried iPhoto on my iPhone. I didn’t like it because of the lack of labels for knowing what buttons do. But that was months ago. i bet there’s a website out there now that explains what everything is now.

  • Rasel Miah

    Hey Jeff, on a unrelated note, do you know off any good free proxy server for Siri?

    • jose castro

      there is one that i have that is 20 bucks a year if that helps.. usually free ones kinda sucka and its slow

    • What does Jeff have to do with this article? Are you reading impaired?

      • jose castro

        well jeff does not really answer emails.. and if he does it rare.. so why not ask….

      • Have you tried tweeting him?

  • By 2016, lots of Jailbreak Tweaks will be integrated into iOS…
    Gosh, that iPad will be so much “feature rich” natively haha ;p

    • jose castro

      ya if they can find a better battery lol

  • By 2016, lots of jailbreak tweak will be integrated into iOS… So of course, the iPad will be awesome 😀

  • Shadowlink

    By 2016 the iPad will look the same with a few little features here and there that I won’t even be able to tell the difference between that one and the first

  • People will keep buying notebooks anyway, because you cant play normal games on tablets, the only solution would be what MS did with their Surface tablet, if its powerfull enough to run at least games like WoW or CoD, it will be much better than iPad and ultrabooks, and people will buy it

    • Joshua Ventura

      it won’t last that long. games will evolve.

      • they might evolve, but going this way is like going backwards…there is no way to play fps, strategy or mmorpg on tablet. imagine playing WoW without keybinds…

    • billypuntove

      And the only market for tablets is gamers……… ?
      Trust me, a computer market is not made or broken by gamers alone.

      The tendency to generalize based on one’s habits is common but that is certainly not the case here.

      • im not saying computer market is made by gamers, but gamers are big part of it, and they will not be satisfied with just tablets…ive had iphone for 2 years now, but ive played games on it only when i coudnt use notebook

      • while I kind of agree with you on your opinion the way I look at it is that gamers may just change to using a console. I used to do the same, loved playing FPS games on my computer but theen couldn’t justify the cost of buying a computer powerfull enough to do so, granted computers have come down in price quite a bit over the years. I switched to using an Xbox when it came out and since then used an Xbox 360 for my gaming needs. I do buy iOS games here and there, when the price drops (i.e. Shadowgun for .99 today vs 4.99 normally) but rarely play them unless I am away from home and did not bring the Xbox with me. I love the concept of the Surface Win8 but probably will stick with the iPad due to stability, battery life, and cost. The Surface Win8 will probably cost $1k+ and for that kind of money I can get myself a computer and an iPad for home to run my media network of Apple TVs and iPads for my family.

      • i just recently bouth MSI gaming laptop with geforce 570gtx so im not planning to buy anything similar, but i’d stick with windows anyway, i love iPhone and iOS, but windows is just number 1 for me for PC. It would be same for tablets if ppl started developing more apps for win 8. I have win 8 public preview on my PC atm and im surprised how good it is. I can be on my desktop on about 10-15s when i turn it on. I do have xbox 360 at home, but i attend university in different city, so i would need to have 2, still i only play racing games and arcades on it…PC is much better for games, and if someone wanted, he could use it as console either way

  • Hahahahaha!! First let me develop applications that are able to tap into the network device, let me create my own device and allow installation of driver, and no apple approval on that. I would MAYBE agree.

  • What a load of bullshit! By the time tablets become as powerful as today’s notebooks, the notebooks will be at least ten times as powerful. Software and hardware wise. It is impossible for such a useless category of products to replace portable computers, and it will never happen.

    • Microsoft Surface will have I5 processor and Windows 8 !!!! I think this is powerful , software and hardware wise.