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What is it?
It hasn’t even been a year since Steve Jobs pro-
claimed that the iPad would be the device to fill
the gap between smart phones and full-fledged
laptops. A nd he had many doubters, with some
pundits questioning whether consumers would
see a need for such a device in the age of ultra-
light and ultra-practical netbooks. They missed
the point. With its intuitive multitouch interface,
instant-on functionality,10-hourbatterylife, and
30,000 apps, the iPad hasn’t just redefined tablets,
it has started a computing revolution.
“Apple did what no one else was able to do
for the better part of 15 years, including Microsoft,
and that was to take this device that was neither
phone nor computer and successfully sell it to
the mass market,” said Michael Gartenberg, an
analyst for Gartner.
The research firm and others call this cat-
egory “media tablets,” because they’re primarily
designed for consu ming content. But today’s —
and especially tomorrow’s —tablets have huge
potential for productivity, too.
Why it’s important
There’s no question that the iPad caught the
industry off guard, with Apple gobbling up an
al most laughably dominant 95 percent tablet
market share by the end of the third quarter.
Tablet sales are expected to grow a whopping
181 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 19.5 million
units to 54.8 million.
ButtheiPadnow has some company, starting
with the A ndroid-based Samsung Galaxy Tab
(see p. 22). This 7-inch slate uses the same OS
found on Android phones and is more portable
than the iPad. It also boasts features which Apple’s
tablet lacks, such as dual cameras, F lash support,
and easier portability. However, neither Google
nor app developers have yet released software
optimized for ta blets, wh ich has caused most
vendors to delay their launches.
According to Carolina M ila nesi, resea rch
vice president at Gartner, it’s just a matter of
time before the Android camp gets in gear.
“You’lldefinitely seeSamsung building uptheir
portfolio,” she said. “ T hey’re al ready talking
about a 10-inch coming next year. LG will have
a tablet, Motorola will have a
tablet. I’m expecting HTC will
have a tablet soon.”
BlackBerry hopes profes-
sionals on the go will gravitate
toward its upcoming PlayBook
tablet, which will feature a dual-
core processor and a brand-new
OS for tablets. It’s already generating so much
buzz that a recent Cha ngewave Survey showed
that nearlythreetimes as many respondents said
they were interested in purchasing the PlayBook
(8 percent) than the Galax y Tab (3 percent).
Where was Apple in that su rvey? 80 percent.
Also hoping to take a chunk out of Apple’s
mammoth mind and market share is HP-Palm,
whose webOS earned critical acclaim. Milanesi
says it would be unwise to count Palm out now
that it has the muscle of the world’s largest PC
maker behind it.
soft. Despite the fact that the company invented
ta blet PCs, consu mers have thus far ignored the
smattering of slates runningthetouch-unfriendly
and power-hu ng ry Windows 7.
hoW it Will Change your life
Theappeal oftheiPad, and deviceslikeit,isthat
you can just pick it up and start using it, whether
you want to scan the latest headlines, check e-mail,
or read an eBook. But that’s only scratching the
surface. Thetrue utilityshines throughonce the
user customizes a tablet with apps. The iPad, for
example, lets you do everything from playing
console-quality games to creating slick-looking
presentations on the f ly.
Where tablets get even more interesting
is in the business world. According to Apple,
about 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies are
testi ng or deployi ng the i Pad. Apple’s COO also
said recently that it is seeing fast adoption in the
education market, where students are using the
iPad to take notes as well as buy eBooks.
“Anecdotally,you see alot ofiPads outthere,
and people are replacing their laptops when
they can,” said Gartenberg. “It’s that notion of
ubiquitous computing, and it crosses the barrier
between personal and business.”
Even with the expected onslaught of A ndroid
tablets, and such major players as HP-Palm,
Microsoft, andRIMgetting inthe game, the iPad
will likely continue to dominate well into 2011. But
real competition in the tablet space will also start
to heat up, which is good for consumers.
Can anything touch the iPad?
VieWsoniC VieWpaD 10
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