Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg
Typing on a tablet is just plain slower than typing on a keyboard. And, for most people, voice recognition errors are still much too frustrating. So there is a limit how far the shift from desktop to laptop to tablet will go.
I agree about the typing thing -- I type 70wpm on a keyboard, perhaps 20 on the virtual keyboard. Which is why I have a a portable bluetooth keyboard I carry with my iPad for heavy-duty typing chores. However, I note there are a few million people out there who seem to be more than content typing with their thumbs. And there are tablets that come with keyboards.
But you're assuming the deficiencies of tablets won't improve in the future. Sure voice recognition is still far from ideal. But compared to where it was fifteen years ago it's coming along pretty well.
I don't doubt that desktop computers will continue to exist twenty years from now for things that can't be easily done on tablets (someone mentioned software development upthread, for example). But the things tablets can't do will be increasingly relegated to niche markets, while the things the vast majority of users do -- watch movies, listen to music, surf the net, text and chat, and of course read ebooks -- are done much more easily and conveniently on mobile devices.
Heck, more than ten percent of all Internet browsing
is now done from mobile devices. That's a huge change from five years ago. As I mentioned above, IDC numbers show that 2011 was an abysmal year for PC sales, partly due to surging mobile sales.
And anecdotally, I haven't fired up my own laptop since the day I got my iPad over a year ago. The stuff I can't easily do on my iPad now generally waits until I get home to my desktop. (Or not. Using TeamViewer, I can log in to my desktop remotely and do my desktop work from my iPad.)
Sure, you and I still need a desktop for some tasks. But by the end of the decade I suspect we'll be far outnumbered by those who don't. My own prediction is that we're going to start seeing a decline in the number of households with PCs. In my house we have nine devices connected to our wifi network; only one of them is a PC, and I'm the only one who uses it.