Is the dominance of the PC finally coming to an end?

Gartner has revised its estimate for PC sales for this year, down from 363.5m, to 352m. Earlier in the year it had expected sales to top 366m.

You don’t need to look far for the explanation. The PC’s loss has been the iPad’s gain.

Ranjit Atwal, Gartner’s research director said: “Over the longer term, media tablets are expected to displace around 10% of PC units by 2014.”

We have this sneaky suspicion the changeover is going to be far more significant, but whether Apple will be the ultimate winner remains to be seen.

Apple, with its sexy iPad, is knocking huge chunks out of the PC’s armour.

It is not hard to see why. Be honest now, does anyone love their PC? Many of us shout at it. Some of us even beat it, and no doubt at some point we have all been tempted to throw it out of the window. Few of us get warm feelings when we think about our PC.

Maybe that is not true for the iPad. As we have speculated here before, maybe the way the iPhone and the iPad require a more tactile relationship with their users engenders feelings of deep-rooted love. After all, you have to stroke the iPhone to turn it on.

And maybe that’s what it takes to break down PC dominance.

But once Apple has cleared the way, and we have become more accepting of the idea of a touch-sensitive tablet over a PC, we have this feeling the market will become saturated with these tablets.

The Apple products will be better designed than most. Their curves will continue to turn heads, and elicit cries of “corr”. But ultimately, Linux-based tablets will be cheaper, because their software is free. And the figure we will finally marvel at towards the end of this decade will be the bottom line of Google’s balance sheet.

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