The Apple effect on your next 'PC'

The venerable laptop is under assault.

The HP Envy x2. Your next PC may (also) be a tablet — you can thank Apple for that.
(Credit: HP)

Leading the assault is Apple — which has no qualms about cannibalising a piece of its own MacBook laptop line with the iPad.

And Apple's tablets will get even harder to resist in October, when it brings out a smaller tablet, which will probably be priced well below US$399.

The AU$249 Google Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fire, starting at US$199 — or US$159 for the original Fire (that's right Aussies, we're being taken for a ride) — are making it even harder to fork over AU$700 or more for a new laptop.

At the risk of stating the obvious, consumers often opt for the cheaper device, if it seems to meet their needs. So, in many cases — just glance at figures from market researchers and Apple itself — they are choosing a tablet, instead of a laptop. Or postponing the purchase of a laptop in favour of a tablet impulse-buy.

In response, Microsoft, Intel and their partners — who are feeling some existential panic — are trying to curb those buying habits by introducing Windows 8 laptops that also function as tablets.

So, here's my question: would you forgo a tablet for a laptop with a touchscreen?

Or, to rephrase the question: though more expensive than a tablet — likely well over AU$699 — many Windows 8 portables will squeeze a laptop and tablet into one device, potentially obviating the need to buy two devices. Does that seem like the right solution to you?


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MotorMouth posted a comment   

To answer the question, yes it does make sense to buy one device instead of having to cart around two. But the article makes certain assumptions that don't apply to me. I can't think of a single use for a tablet, not one, but I can definitely see benefit in tablet-like features in a proper computer that runs all the software I use every day.

To put it another way, the existence of tablets seems to assume there is a gap in the market but I can't see it. If I was to make a Venn diagram of all the things I might want to do with my smartphone and all the things I can do with my laptop, there would be plenty of overlap but also large areas where one thing or the other has unique capabilities. But if I added a tablet into the mix, the circle representing it's uses would fit entirely within the circle for my phone. In fact, if you look at the current iPad and iPhone, they share almost identical internals and the only advantage an iPad has is more memory, but a phone with a microSD slot can cover that deficit easily.
To me, a tablet is a "worst of all worlds" device - it has all the limitations of a smartphone plus all the disadvantages of a laptop. A smaller tablet that fits in your pocket makes a little more sense but something like an iPad, that you have to carry around in your hand or in a bag makes none at all to me; you may as well have your laptop.


Seamus Byrne posted a reply   

I agree with you. Seeing touchscreen laptops on the way makes me feel like the tablet may, looking back in future, seem like a short-lived in between phase. At this stage I feel like having a touch notebook that converts into a tablet (I think I'll prefer flip/twist over detachable) will become my first love over a tablet alongside other devices.


trebor83 posted a comment   

I woul certainly forgo an iPad, Android or Win RT tablet in favor of a Windows 8 pro hybrid product, though possibly no for 12/18 months to see the next generation processors from Intel.

Whether it would be better in the tablet with dockable keyboard style, as seen above, or the convertable Vaio Duo 11 style I am not sure yet, though i worry that the latter will be too bulky and heavy to be easily useable as a tablet but i guess time will tell

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