The growth of tablets continues to surpass expectations, throwing the PC industry into disarray.
The iPad is so popular that publishers and other content-rich industries are forced to reposition their wares or risk failure. A powerful wave of content ‘applification’ has swept over many industries. Are you ready for it?
This month research firm Gartner became an unexpected casualty of the iPad’s assault on the market after they were forced to revise their worldwide predictions for PC and laptop growth.
The firm forecasts that these devices will grow 10.9% to 388 million this year. Their initial prediction was 15%. These revisions are the result of reduced expectations for laptops and netbooks, which have driven PC sales in the last few years, the firm noted. People are increasingly turning to tablets.
Not that simple
The assumption has for some time been that iPads and Android tablets are only used for tasks like email and web browsing. These are being challenged by market trends. Even astute market watchers are caught unawares.
Education has for a while been a firm proponent of tablets. The iPad as a teaching medium makes sense for textbook publishers, education departments and families. Apps and content repositories make it an ideal portal for content and learning.
Entertainment is another no-brainer. Thanks to the ability to embed multimedia such as video in magazines, the tablet experience is ultra-immersive, engaging and interactive. Further enriched by a rich application ecosystem, media convergence and personalisation, tablets are great for watching video, gaming, playing music and more.
Industries depending on content can benefit from the very immersive tablet experience. From travel and leisure companies to consulting firms and e-commerce store fronts — the list is virtually endless.
But, the most serious underestimation of the iPad might be missing its allure for general industry. It is not just a replacement for entry-level laptops and netbooks, nor does it appeal only to some industries: The iPad is becoming a corporate workhorse.
Everybody wants in
One can be forgiven for missing a trick; the tablet phenomenon is fast-paced and has happened seemingly overnight.
Everybody wants in. Hardware manufacturers, operating system vendors and app developers are all jockeying for position. Publishers, content-rich industries and generic corporates are regrouping for its arrival.
Even banks are getting in on the act, with FNB selling 10 000 devices per month.
With a substantial decrease in the price of the iPad 2 following the launch of the iPad 3, things will only get hotter. At the low end of the market, hardware manufacturers worldwide are devoting resources to making tablets accessible to the masses. The uptake curve will resemble, if not outperform, mobile phones.
Such a modern-day phenomenon is clearly an opportunity second to none. Content-rich industries (and who isn’t, with the advent of so much digital, social and mobile media today?) stand to benefit the most from app-lifying their content.
Wesley Lynch — Snapplify CEO