Ina Fried

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Tablet Sales in Fourth Quarter Could Surpass PCs, With Annual Tablet Sales Set to Eclipse Computers by 2015

It looks like Steve Jobs was right to predict that the PC would become the “truck” to the tablet’s “car.”


“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm,” Jobs said at our D8 conference in 2008. But, he went on, as we became a nation of cities, cars gradually overtook trucks, and became the dominant form of transportation.

Fast-forward five years, and Jobs’ projection appears to be on track. Market research firm IDC projected on Wednesday that tablet shipments in the fourth quarter will outpace the number of desktop and notebook computer units sold. By 2015, annual tablet sales will top PCs, as well, IDC said. (Tablet sales are seen passing notebook PC sales this year.)

But it turns out that even more people are opting for the motorcycle, if you will. Smartphones will make up more than two-thirds of the smart-device market by 2015, IDC said, accounting for 1.4 billion devices.

While the tablet and smartphone markets are maturing in some places, trade-in programs should help keep the market growing.

“At a time when the smartphone and tablet markets are showing early signs of saturation, the emergence of lower-priced devices will be a game-changer,” IDC analyst Megha Saini said in a statement. “Introducing new handsets and tablet devices at cheaper price points along with special initiatives like trade-in programs from Apple and BestBuy will accelerate the upgrade cycle and expand the total addressable market overnight.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work