Is the short era of tablets over?


Four and a half years ago, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs went on stage to show a brand new category of a device: the iPad.

Here is how Jobs introduced the iPad: “The question has arisen lately: is there room for a third device in the middle, in between a smartphone and a notebook?” A device, Jobs said, that will not only stand in between like a form factor but be far better than both a smartphone and a laptop at certain tasks like browsing the web, email, photographs, video, games, and so on.

And it caught on like wildfire. At least initially. Apple was selling more iPads than it could make, and the competition was again caught off guard, and rushing to catch up. Samsung, in a typical fashion, started churning tablets of different forms and variations, competing with Apple directly in terms of price. Amazon launched the extremely affordable (but app-restricted) Fire tablet series. Google joined with its own super cheap Nexus family of tablets.

It all made sense in the beginning. The 9.7-inch tablet was a huge step up from the 3.5-inch iPhone and other, similarly-sized smartphones at the time.

Problem is that situation only lasted a short while. Smartphones quickly evolved to 5” in size and larger, while notebooks also underwent a revolution with innovative touchscreen, 360-degree hinge (hello, Lenovo Yoga) designs. Microsoft also jumped in on the bandwaggon with an outrageously priced Surface tablet, but it quickly brought it to pace with Intel Core i-series super powerful chips and a solid keyboard.

The iPad and other tablets, on the other hand, kept their limitations - with no kickstand, you cannot just rest it and watch on a tablet, instead you need to hold it at all times, and with notebooks growing faster and leaner, the tablet started losing sales. Now, in 2014, the iPad is expected to record its first annual decline, with sales dropping 12.7% on the year.

Does this mean that the short era of tablets is coming to an end? What do you think?

Is the short era of tablets over?

Yes, it's over. With smartphones and notebooks, we don't really need tablets.
39.7%
No, far from it. Tablets still make a lot of sense.
60.3%

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55 Comments

1. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Changing phone is like changing clothes, you change whenever you want Changing tablet is like changing computer, you change when it's broke Low sales doesn't mean low usage, people just see no reason to upgrade

2. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

^^this

4. TA700

Posts: 83; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Same here.

55. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Smartphones have caught up in screen size, battery life, and performance. I'm rocking the Note 4, and have no need for a tablet. When I want to sit on the couch and use a computer, I have my gaming rig with an SSD set up to my TV, with wireless keyboard and mouse. The trend I've started seeing is the comeback of laptops. Instead of buying a $600+ (or $800 for a Note Pro 12"), one could just as easily buy a new, slim, lightweight, and powerful Ultrabook with far more storage. Since people started replacing their old/busted laptops with tablets, they have also sought out keyboard cases to make it more "laptop-like". Now that Intel has even more efficient processors, battery life has gotten better on Ultrabooks without over-throttling.

29. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Agreed. Plus smartphones are catching up in battery life (in some cases, surpassing) and functionality and tablet PCs are becoming more viable. I bet we'll see MacPads, Yoga ProTabs etc. with Core M processors in the near future. ARM-based tablets are gonna be doubly-useless if Nvidia or AMD pushes compact, fanless GPUs.

31. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

Spot on!!!

38. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

This article is a pure manifestation that the author is an Apple fan boy. The story revolves mainly on Apple iPad (2010) being the first to implement tablets. Think about Microsoft Tablet PC (2002) and Slate PC (2010). :3

41. DBounce

Posts: 172; Member since: Apr 26, 2014

Agreed.

47. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Agree! For phones I must have the latest and greatest each year. But for tablet usage my 2013 Nexus 7 is still solid. Google dropped the ball with the Nexus 9 and Apple did a even worse job with the iPad mini. And the full size iPad is stale no matter how thin and fast it gets.

49. surethom

Posts: 1719; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Totally agree tech lasts way longer than they use to so you can still use a tablet for 3/4 years before you even start looking for a new one. Unlike phones you don't get a new one every 2 years.

3. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

For me, it never began. I have my smartphone for when I'm travelling and my computer for when I'm not. Tablets seem like an unnecessary compromise...

45. mschmal

Posts: 23; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

You are fogetting one thing that tablets do way way better than phones or laptops. E-Books and reading media. The Kindle is great but the best one is expensive. I have a Sammy GalTabPro with qHD screen. Its like the letters are etched into the screen.

51. VHMP01

Posts: 93; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

No, I just got an Acer Switch 10 instead of a Tablet for my 12 year old duaghter and it is great for all she uses it; including homework and guess what? Reading e-books! Within Tablet price range too!

5. xeonfire

Posts: 94; Member since: Feb 15, 2014

If the notebook or smartphone catch on to the size and features of a tablet, don't they just become a "tablet " also? So why would tablet go away?

6. android_hitman unregistered

I really don't see the point of the tablet. For example I use a Surface Pro on which I can really do a proper work. I don't see why we need a square screen that has the same capabilities of a smartphone. But wait until Apple will really thrive; that will be when they will launch a Surface Pro like tablet running full MAC OS, then they will claim again that they innovate and they are first to deliver a full OS to a tablet and of course everyone will piss themselves again.

9. Victor.H

Posts: 1079; Member since: May 27, 2011

Rumors are actually that Apple will can the iPad mini and introduce a Surface Pro-like 12-inch iPad early next year.

7. SaintHelena

Posts: 397; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

The tablet sale that going down is iPAD. When an american analyst such as IDC said something, it's mean apple product. Android tablet sales are going up. Android also already have big screen phone for long, so the sales of tablet will not see a hiccup this quarter. In the end, the market share of ipad will be roughly the same as iphone.... around 12%. So, yes, the ipad era is over, but tablet is still going up.

14. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Most android tablet, I can tell, they're putting in drawer after sales. I have a mipad inside my drawer and collecting dust. Meanwhile I saw many people using iPad 2 on coffee table talking about insurance package with their clients Judging popularity based on sales is pure ignorance , how about go outside and take a deep breath and see the real popularity outside your cage. http://m.electronista.com/articles/14/11/06/still.down.slightly.from.record.high.amazon.tablets.more.popular.than.samsung.tablets/

48. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I would say confusing North America with the world is a big mistake. And Chitika concentrates on that market.

8. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

I love tablets man and the fake CEO above is right, you don't change your tablet anywhere near as much as your phone. I'm still lugging around an Iconia A501, way back from the first generation of honeycomb tablets, flashed it a Kitkat rom, its slow but it gets the job done. The fact that iPads still sell in millions is incredible considering how bad the PC market it doing.

10. huttedut

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 27, 2014

Is this a typo or what? Since when is a tablet at 9.7" with no phone capability a phablet? "The 9.7-inch was a huge step up from the 3.5-inch iPhone and other"

17. Victor.H

Posts: 1079; Member since: May 27, 2011

It was a phypo :) Corrected now, thanks!

11. alumoyo

Posts: 392; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

I think 12 inch tablets might help stem the tide - BRING THEM ON. But also urgently re-work the OS so that its not just a blown up phone! Make more use of that size for goodness sake. Strange that an iPhone 6 Plus has more homescreen icons than full size iPad for example. Makes no sense really, the best OS when it comes to using all that space is windows, which is rather sad.

12. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Just because iPad is declining for the first f**king time doesn't mean All the Tablets are falling. f**king fanboy

15. SaintHelena

Posts: 397; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

American analyst always measure all things with iToys.

37. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Because most american analyst were avid apple users.

13. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Yes!!! Dem motherfugher tablets no one needs them!!!!

16. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

My area show zero sales of desktop on three consecutive quarter, does that mean no one needs desktop? See comment #1

18. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

No one needs still they buy :)

21. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

No one needs smartwatches, still they buy.

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