How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets

He who fights and runs away

May live to fight another day.

But he that is in battle slain

Will never rise to fight again.

J. Ray, History of the Rebellion, (1749)

Former (and now deceased) Apple CEO Steven Paul Jobs Boldly declared at the launch of the Apple iPad in April 2010AD that we had entered the “Post-PC Era”. I liked that so much that I did an article defending the concept of the Apple iPad killing Laptops and PC in Are we witnessing Laptop and PC Extinction? and The Apple iPad Effect – Post Pc Era Accelerant in Nine Moves.

So far, his predictions seem spot on, as the Apple iPad’s ability to enable Mobile Computing is catching on and in the process creating a whole new class of computing: Mobile Computing. In the process it killed off the Netbook, easy pickings due to their slow single Core Intel Atom Processors.

In conjunction with smartphones, it’s also making Console and PC Gaming extinct thanks to more simpler, compelling gameplay and cheaper games starting at US$1.00 as concluded in Nintendo and Sony vs Smartphones and Tablets: Post – Portable Gaming Era. Console and PC Gamin’s future is now up in the Cloud, the only way they can achieve the lower pricing margins to compete successfully with Game apps on smartphones and Tablets as noted in Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds.

Tablets have heralded the little publicized Death of the Mouse when the Apple iPad launched in 2010AD and now with many Laptops and the new Ultrabooks and All-in-one PC such as the HP Spectre One all-in-one coming with Multi-Touch Touchpads, clones of Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

This is already happening long before the Apple iPad came on the scene, as many Millennials [ages 18 to 28] grew up using Laptops, which many use without a mouse. Thus their minds already conditioned to the idea of a computer without a mouse, making the Death of the Mouse and the coming of the Trackpad an easy call, with Hard core Gamers and Graphics people being the only supporters left for this ageing input device.

The Apple iPad and its would-be motley-crue of Tablet assassins is also slowly killing off Hewlett Packard’s Printer business, forcing them to also go into making Windows 8 Tablets, albeit this time geared toward their Corporate and Enterprise customers who are using less and less of their printing products.

The Retina Display on the Apple iPad 3 eliminates the need to waste paper printing and be locked into HP’s Printer Cartridge and Toner Revenue cycle, making printing not only totally unnecessary but a money saver for any small office that used to print tons of paper and thus heralding the coming of the Paperless Workplace. Even US Airways Pilots and most likely the US Air Force’s Pilots are switching to using Tablets to replaced reams of flight documentation.

The 1.5lb Apple iPad replaces some 38 lbs of bulky manuals and eliminates some 12,000 sheets of paperwork pr pilot per year, resulting in US Airlines saving some three hundred and twenty-six (326,000) gallons of jet fuel a year when given out to its eleven thousand (11,000) Airline Pilots.

The PC and Laptop World is not faring so well either. No more clunky, heavy Laptops with poor battery life, as beginning with the Apple Macbook Air, the Apple iPad’s Nemesis. Thanks to these two (2) devices as chronicled in MacBook Air and FLASH-based Harddrives – The Quest for Instant On, every PC and Laptop owner is eyes wide open and now desirous of Windows PC and Laptops with:

  • SSD (Solid State Drives)
  • Instant-on wake up times
  • 10hr plus battery life

The demand for better performance and specs can be best expressed in the equation: SSD’s = Lower operating temperatures + better performance at lower processor speeds.

PC’s themselves may eventually survive in a form factor similar to that of the Raspberry Pii USB Drive PC as I have been boldly predicting in $25 Raspberry Pi Mini USB PC and the $22 Aakash Tablet – Computer Adoption on a Budget and FX Tech debuts Cotton Candy – Sweet Android Gingerbread USB Stick Mini PC.

Clearly the demand for better performance is what’s now driving the now slowly dying PC and Laptop Market, which is being changed by the introduction of the Apple Macbook Air and now the Apple iPad. Interestingly enough, Intel’s attempts thus far since May 2011AD to coax PC and Laptop makers to debut clones of the Apple Macbook Air, which go by the name Ultrabook with the following recommended specs:

  • Less than Two to three (2lb to 3lb) pounds
  • 0.8 inches thickness
  • Instant-on From sleep
  • Speedy SSD or Hybrid Hard-Drives.
  • i7 Core Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Intel Processors
  • Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 Ports ONLY
  • 3G or 4G Modem support
  • Power Management coupled with longer battery life
  • Lighter Li-Ion Polymer batteries
  • Sub US$1000 (barely), mimicking the Apple MacBook Air’s US$999 price tag

Unfortunately despite these compelling performance-centric specs, due to a lack of coordination among PC makers, proper marketing to define to the skeptical American public how Ultrabooks differed from high-priced Ultrathin Laptops or even the Apple Macbook Air, these Ultrabooks have thus far failed to resonate in any significant way with the masses.

This based on the September 2012 analysis in of IHS iSupply, quote: “Challenges stemming from the nebulous marketing and unappealing price surrounding the ultrabook can be overcome, paving the way for shipments to rise by more than 300 percent in 2013.”

Indeed, the Table market is growing, with Analyst ABI estimates of 100 million Tablets shipped and sold by the end of 2012AD in a report published in August 2012AD being turned up a notch by analyst IDC from 107 million by the end of 2012AD to 117 million. Combine that with predictions by Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman that one in three Americans will own a Tablet by 2016AD, the future for PC and Laptops does not look so bright as Mobile Computing begins to make computers affordable, accessible and easy  to use by the masses.

These are projections folks; the real bean-counting of what went down in Christmas 2012AD will only be revealed at the First Quarter Shareholder’s General Meetings in 2013AD. At that time the Silicon Valley Titans that are ruling the Tablet world will announce their sales figures and how much money they made.

Fast forward in 2012AD and this time Intel is now waking up to the reality that the Apple iPad is now an Ultrabook Killer. They’ve decided to join the Tablet party, albeit a bit too late and with a Dual-Core Atom Z2760, codenamed “Clover Trail” being launched as a Intel-based Tablet centric option for PC Makers that’s compatible with Windows 8 with the performance of the low power cheaper ARM Processors .

Folks, please note that this is merely an upgrade of the same Single-Core Atom Processor whose lackluster specs have resulted in the death of the Netbook. In my humble yet experienced opinion, the use of the Intel Atom, albeit improved to Dual-Core, is a Kiss of Death for Intel’s Tablet plans in a Tablet World already preparing to go Quad-Core Processors by 2013AD.

Success in the Tablet arena among the PC Makers has only been seen by Asus Tek of South Korea, who have thus far chosen to use  Nvidia’s Dual-Core Tegra 2 and eventually Nvidia’s Quad-Core Tegra 3 codenamed “Kal-El” GPU (Graphic Processors Units) as reported in Nvidia and the Quad-Core Kal-El CPU – Android leaves A5 Dual-Core Processor in the Dust.

Asus Tek’s Tablet Strategy is simple: commit wholly to Tablets built using the fastest processors available and designing them dockable with a Keyboard accessory made by themselves. In essence, Asus-Tek Transformer lines of Tablets are Gaming dockable Tablet-Laptops hybrids, the main reason behind their success thus far.

The 8.9” Asus Transformer Prime, Asus-Tek’s latest Tablet introduced in November 2011AD which like its predecessors runs on Google Android OS, then went on to become the first Tablet to go Quad-Core in October of 2011AD.

In the Non-PC World, success in Tablet has come about in the 7” Tablet Category by using successful pricing Strategies that promote a US$199 with access to compelling Content that the user can purchase online. In essence, not Gaming Tablets, but Tablets that promote the idea of Online Shopping on the go. One product obviously comes to mind: Amazon Kindle Fire as spoke of in Amazon Kindle Fire vs the Apple iPad – The Stats Wars worth Reading About.

Amazon had used its clever Razor Blade pricing strategy of making the cheapest Tablet possible with the intention of making money from increased online sales as surmised in Kindle Fire vs Nook Color & Apple iPad 2 – Despite the Specs the Price is Still Right during the Fourth Quarter of 2011AD after a September 2011 launch.

The Amazon Kindle Fire went on to post record sales, pushing them in to the No. 3 spot in terms of Tablet sales and in the process, taking away some of Apple iPad’s potential customers as noted in Amazon sells 5.5 million Kindle Fires in Fourth Quarter 2012 – Apple iPad sales drop and plans January Press Event.

Amazon success with the Kindle Fire in 2011AD prompted them to upgrade the specs and launch a triplet of new Amazon Kindle Fires on Thursday September 6th 2012AD in Santa Monica, California touting 8.9” HD almost-Retina Display Screens, faster 1.2 GHz and 1.7GHz Dual-Core Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 Processors and support for 4G LTE as chronicled by Kelroy in his article Amazon Introduces new Kindle Fire HD Family of Tablets.

Intel is now very nervous with all of this Tablet-frenzy news. They have thus begun pushing the new low-voltage, low-power Dual-Core Atom Z2760 as their comeback with a Press Launch on September 27, 2012 with PC and Laptop partners Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and ZTE.

Clearly the Tablet World that’s now expanding as the PC and Laptop World contracts. However, their move is most likely driven by a fear of the pair of as-yet-to-hit-the-market Microsoft’s 10” Surface Tablets which were revealed to the world in a hush-hush launch on Monday June 18th 2012AD.

The Microsoft Surface Tablet represent Microsoft’s first foray into the world of Computer Hardware as they have traditionally left the heavy lifting of making the hardware to the PC and Laptop Makers. Microsoft is apparently been dissatisfied with the lack of a Tablet Strategy among the PC and Laptop makers, forcing them to go the Apple route and debut an example of what they would like to see in a Windows 8 Tablet. In essence, it’s like dropping a hint and telling the PC and Laptop makers: Develop a Tablet Strategy or we’ll do it for you.

The Microsoft Surface Tablets, due to its use of the name from an existing product from Microsoft named the Surface Tabletop Computer, has rebranded that original product as PixelSense a move that should give new life to that product.

Allegedly to be launched on Friday October 26th 2012AD, the same date as the launch of Windows 8, their innovative design takes it queue from the Asus Transformer but with the keyboard built-in. Thus this makes their Tablet a productivity tool and may go a long way in prove that the Tablet can be more than a device for Media Consumption but can also crack the Enterprise and Corporate World with a Tablet that is useful for doing practical work.

There are two (2) Microsoft Surface Tablets:

  1. Windows 8 Pro Surface Tablet  – uses Windows 8 Professional ,  low-power, super fast Quad-Core Intel Sand Bridge of Ivy Bridge Processors,  made for Corporate and Enterprise Users
  2. Windows RT Tablets – uses Windows RT, low-power ARM Processors and made for Home and Residential Users

The specs of these Tablets tell a compelling Tale of the Tape:

Windows 8 Pro Surface Tablet

  1. Running Windows 8 Professional
  2. Low-power Quad-Core Intel Sand Bridge of Ivy Bridge Processors
  3. Comes in SSD with sizes 64 GB and 128 GB
  4. 903g weight
  5. 13.5 mm Thick
  6. 42 Watt-hour Battery
  7. 3 mm Touch Cover integrated Keyboard and Pen with Palm Block
  8. 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display with 16:9 aspect ratio angled at 22 degrees
  9. Supports micro-SDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  10. Built-in Magnetic Kickstand with Vapor Magnesium Casing

Windows RT Surface Tablet

  1. Running Windows 8 RT Version
  2. Low-power ARM Processors
  3. Comes in SSD with sizes 32 GB and 64 GB
  4. 676g weight
  5. 13.5 mm Thick
  6. 31.5 Watt-hour Battery
  7. 3 mm Touch Cover integrated Keyboard and Pen with Palm Block
  8. 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display with 16:9 aspect ratio angled at 22 degrees
  9. Supports micro-SDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  10. Built-in Magnetic Kickstand with Vapor Magnesium Casing
  11. Pre-loaded with Office Apps for the Corporate and Enterprise world!

The au pair of Surface Tablets have a nice design form factor and come compatible with Windows 8. With purported pricing in the US$199 Range for the Windows RT Surface Tablet version as suggested by Engadget, most likely subsidized by subscriptions for various Microsoft Cloud Based services as surmised by Forbes, Time Magazine and Digital Trends.

The Microsoft Windows RT Surface Tablet if launched at the above suggested Retail price of US$199 will turn out to be the talk of the Town in Christmas 2012AD, based on the alleged pre-production numbers of almost three million (3,000,000) units being readied for the Christmas Shopping period.

In the process, it will also shame the PC and Laptop World into coming up with compelling Tablet Strategies instead of just dockable Tablet-Keyboard Hybrids. Otherwise, the Tablet World, now awaiting the Apple iPad 4 come next year, will send the Laptop and Ultrabook to an early grave.

But all is not lost for Laptops, PC and Printers. Sorry though mouse, you died long before the Apple iPad came on the Scene in 2010AD!

The lack of a keyboard, mouse or stylus gave some early adopters trouble and is the main reason why the Apple iPad and its Tablet competitors, aside from having a clear Tablet Strategy has thus far failed to resonate with Corporate and Enterprise in the US and locally here in Jamaica. This obvious oversight prompting me to do an article on the DIY (Do it Yourself) Capacitive Stylus in How to make a Stylus for your Apple iPad or Capacitive-Touch Device.

For those people who still like the crisp smell of printed paper, there is still in fact a strong future demand for Wireless or Internet connected Printers to support the growing popularity of Tablets that the Printer Makers are yet to fill. Printers such as the HP Envy 100 Wireless Printer are the future of Printer makers going forward, as being web-connected makes Printing easier for Tablets sans a clumsy USB or Ethernet Port.

So just to confirm, the Laptops and PC’s are dying, Printing is dying, if not already dead and Mouse is already long dead! Viva La Apple MacBook Air, the Apple iPad and the Tablet Revolution!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.