Will PC Sales Be Impacted by the iPad Mini?

With the unveiling of the iPad Mini will its light, thin and Apple’s tablet experience persuade users to go with it instead of a standard laptop?

Usage is at 80% for common computer related tasks for a tablet, While larger tasks such as such as media management, large spreadsheets, and music servers are still being done on a traditional PC.  However the iPad Mini duplicates the iPad experience in a lightweight and smaller size.  Trends are even beginning to point towards a 90/10 usage rule for tablets and laptops.

Many people interviewed stated that the role of their laptops has diminished significantly after acquiring and iPad and were even using the iPad Mini more than their standard iPad.    When Windows 8 comes onto the scene, consumers felt that they would not be in a hurry to purchase the newer version pc.  If only using a PC 10-20% of the time, they would likely extend the life of their current PC or laptop instead of purchasing a newer one.

If the circumstance arose and they did need to purchase a new PC or laptop, they would go with the cheapest available because a higher priced one would not be justified with its usage.  PCs will lose their primary position in the home due to its increasing lack of use.

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a key point is saying that if this trend does not pay itself out as suggested, the impact on the traditional PC market will be dramatic within two to three years.  The PC use and demand will only decrease significantly as consumers buy lower cost and small tablets that only get better in performance, screen clarity and apps over time.

Steve Wildstrom, a colleague from Creative Strategies, doesn’t think that PCs will go away but move into a different role as a minor piece of technology used in the home.  Some industry insiders call this the PC Cliff suggesting that in the not so distant future PC demand will fall by a steep amount allowing tablets to take over their role as the major growth segment and primary technology.

If PC vendors were to innovate quickly, they could take advantage by revamping their current products to stay with the market.  Take for example the original iPad coupled with an aftermarket keyboard that has an average battery life of 10 hours, lighter weight than any laptop and runs almost all apps needed.  If a traditional PC vendor could offer this type of technology, they may have found their new niche.

The above listed combination of an iPad paired with a detachable keyboard is considered a hybrid as well as Microsoft’s Surface and HP’s Envy X2.  Interest for a hybrid is extremely high in both business and personal use although for a Windows based system not as much.  If interest in this scenario plays out, hybrids will drive the laptop category in sales.

Smaller tablets like the iPad Mini will have an even greater effect on the traditional PC market than the iPad has had.   In time, a user will have 7” tablet for mostly content consumption, email and web browsing and a hybrid for any extensive tasks they must complete.  The more consumers use tablets, the more overkill the traditional PC or laptop becomes.  PC vendors should seriously consider the impact that smaller tablets will have on their future PC and laptop sales.

The author of the article Serge has co-found Edictive.com and writes about technology and management in the media space.