To anyone who has been paying attention to the dismal plunge in PC sales, this should serve as further proof that we are firmly in the post-PC age: tablet shipments will outnumber laptop shipments for the first time ever in 2013. Not bad for a category that was launched by a gadget that PC makers not only scoffed at when it debuted, but is less than four years old.
The data comes from NPD DisplaySearch, who say that multitouch is what’s driving buying patterns these days, not new operating systems like Windows 8 or Windows RT. Especially not those, actually.
How bad is the decline in laptop sales? NPD says that tablet shipments will jump to 256.5 million globally in 2013, then again to 579.4 million by 2017.
There is some hope for laptop makers. Ultrabooks like the MacBook Air are selling, and will account for 66% of shipments this year. Ahose bizarre hybrid laptops with touchscreens, despite the gorilla arm problem, will see shipments grow by 48% in 2014, so laptop makers are either pretty confident or pretty desperate about them.
Either way, these numbers are yet another nail in the coffin of the PC. The PC and laptop will never die, but it’s growing increasingly clear that most people don’t need them. The iPad and the iPhone, or the tablet in their bag and the smartphone in their pocket, are going to usually be good enough.