Steve Jobs was right: Tablet sales set to topple the PC market

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At the Wall Street Journal‘s D8 conference back in 2010, Steve Jobs predicted that tablets such as the iPad would eventually overtake the personal computer for the majority of people. Five years after he made that prediction, it seems as though it may be set to come true.

According to research firm Gartner, worldwide shipments of tablets will top the PC market by next year — with traditional PCs and laptops shipping a combined 317 million units in the year, while tablet shipments will top 320 million. This year, tablets ship in the region of 256 million, against 308 million PCs.

During Apple’s last earnings call this year, Tim Cook boasted that iPad is the fastest selling product in Apple history.

However, tablet sales are starting to slow down, aided by the rise of “phablet” smartphone devices such as Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 6, which is likely to arrive in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch variants. This market will continue to surge, Gartner says — representing 66 percent of global mobile phone sales this year, and likely to jump to 88 percent by 2018.

Still, it’s amazing to see tablets — a category that has only qualified as mass-market for a half-decade — appear set to overtake a long-established 30+ market like PCs. Seems like Steve Jobs knew a thing or two about changing tech trends, eh?

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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