‘Kill’ is probably an overkill word, but it serves to explain the absolutely stunning change the iPad and tablet industry are having on the traditional PC industry, Mac included. The iPad Air is a good substitute for a Mac or PC notebook to millions of users.
It’s All About Power
When it comes to Macs, PCs, tablets, and smartphones, there are now more similarities than differences.
In other words, what we do in the way of personal computing is spread out over a number of devices, and the shift in direction is decidedly mobile.
John Gruber points out that the iPad Air with Apple’s custom 64-bit A7 CPU has Geekbench and SunSpider benchmarks far greater than a MacBook Air, circa late 2010.
Apple’s newest mobile devices are more powerful today than popular notebooks from just a few years ago.
Step by step, many of us who use all three devices– Mac or PC, iPad or iPhone, smartphone or tablet– have begun offloading traditional work once performed on a Mac or PC to our smartphones and tablets.
At first it was browsing and email, two stalwarts of the PC era, that went almost exclusively to iPad and iPhone. Social network apps followed, of course, and Apple is pushing the domain of traditional word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation apps from the desktop to the web and both iPhone and iPad.
Note that Adobe Systems, publisher of Creative Suite, Creative Cloud (not really ‘cloud’ at all), Photoshop, Illustrator, and other heavy lifting applications, has almost no presence at all among smartphones and tablets.
Replacing The Notebook
The iPad is now a decent replacement for a MacBook or a PC notebook, and probably many desktop PCs which are used more for email, contacts, calendars, browsing, and web form entry than heavy lifting applications.
Why? The iPad Air has a retina display, yet when fully tricked out with maximum storage and cellular networking still costs less than an entry level MacBook Air (which doesn’t have a Retina display) and comparable battery life.
Primate Labs posted iPad benchmarks which clearly show Apple’s new iPad Air crushing previous iPad models in every category.
Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg calls the iPad Air the best tablet on the market.
Apple has recrafted the hardware and packed in new software and services that make it more useful for creating content, not just consuming it.
Therein lies the key. The iPad Air is powerful enough to create content, not just present it to be read or viewed.
Tim Stevens of CNET was equally effusive.
Factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It’s the best full-size consumer tablet on the market.
Anand Shimpi of AnandTech offered his typical detailed review but summed up the iPad Air this way:
I’ve been obsessed with devices that convey the sort of lightweight yet high quality computing slate feel that I always imagined tablets could be. The list of devices that achieves that goal in my mind is pretty limited. The iPad mini did it, as did the 2013 Nexus 7. The iPad Air joins those two in a major way. In fact it’s the first tablet of this size to really feel right.
USAToday’s Edward C. Baig put it another way.
This latest full-size Apple tablet is the most tempting iPad yet, better than its already best of breed predecessors, superior still to each and every rival big screen slate that I’ve tested. Apple dominates the tablet apps ecosystem. Its tablet remains the easiest to use.
Therein lies another clue to what the iPad is doing to the PC generation– making up upgrade our Macs and Windows PCs less frequently, while upgrading to the latest iPhone and iPad more frequently.
It’s All About Usage
The key to how the iPad is slowly starving the PC industry has to do with usage. For every Mac and PC user, we have a lengthy laundry list of apps which perform specific functions– word processing, spreadsheets, photo and music management, presentations, programming, and the standards of email, browsing, contacts, calendar, movie and music creation.
How many of those PC-centric functions are now easily handled by an iPad or iPad-iPhone combo? What does your Mac or PC do now that simply cannot be done on an iPad Air? I posit that the list is growing shorter every few months, and that doesn’t bode well for Mac or PC.
Apps for the iPad continue to improve in functionality, make it less necessary to own a Mac or PC. That trend is likely to continue forever.