Tablets Will Be Our Main Point of Computer Access, Says Forbes

By Steve Anderson April 25, 2012

Before his recent passing, Steve Jobs was often heard to remark that we were in what he called a “Post-PC” era, meaning that devices like Apple's iPad, and its legion of competitors, were overtaking the standard PC and becoming the main way we accessed information, played games, and did all those things we used to do on big, bulky desktops.

Considering that Apple actually sold both PCs in their iMac line and similar offerings and laptops through the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines, skeptics of the Post-PC era could be forgiven. But now, Forbes is joining the assent and saying that tablets will become “our primary computing device.”

Admittedly, Forbes has a host of good reasons why the tablet is a wonderful device. They're incredibly convenient; so much so that, at last report, many people kept them on hand while watching television to multitask or augment their television experience. They have great battery life, they handle being always-on very well, and they're starting to get the hang of things in terms of content creation.

Trying to type on a touch screen has never been easy for anything much longer than a web address, but with haptic feedback systems and a variety of Bluetooth-based keyboards – some contained inside tablet cases – emerging on the market, those problems are running out of steam.

Forbes also goes on to assert that tablets are being bought at a rapid pace, with a projected 375 million tablets to be sold worldwide in 2016, and many tablets retired within three years of their original purchase date.

So should a user put that old computer on eBay now and learn how to use an iPad? What Forbes seems to be overlooking is that, for many, tablets aren't used in place of desktops or laptops, but rather, as supplements to them. Even Forbes admits that tablets cannot, as yet, bring the same kind of raw processing power to any job that a desktop or laptop can. And considering the wide PC gaming market, it's a safe bet that Major League Gaming won't be running Halo and StarCraft II matches on tablets any time soon.

Have we, as a society, reached that “Post-PC” era that Jobs often mentioned? No. Chances are many are reading this on a desktop or laptop screen, and that's proof enough that the era has not arrived. It may well arrive in the future, especially as tablets improve and more computing is done on a mobile level, so Forbes' assertions could yet turn out right.

Indeed, a laptop is little more than a particularly fat tablet with an attached keyboard and no touch screen capability, so the suggestion isn't out of line. Considering the often-debated impact of Moore's Law, that dictates that computing power doubles roughly every 18 months, by the time 2016 shows up we may well all be using tablets and wondering how we ever got along with those giant clunky desktops. But until that day, the skeptics are well-advised to maintain their skepticism.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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