Tablets vs. PCs, Google Android vs. Apple iOS: Which Will Emerge?

Technology analysts have observed that tablets may overtake desktop PCs in 2013. The leading tablet is still Apple’s iPad and we may see a spike in global tablet sales in the range of 130 million units next year. Some see this as an indication that the global demand for desktop PCs is nearing a rapid decline.

The demand for tablets has increased at a very sharp rate. In 2011, the global sales for tablets were pegged at 60 million units, with 40 million units coming from Apple. In 2012, this number ballooned to 95 million units due to the technological advances of tablets such as Apple’s Retina Display iPad. This feature shows images with breathtaking clarity with the help of thousands of pixels.

Steve Jobs and the Emergence of the Tablet

Tablets became more popular with the help of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who introduced the iPad in 2010 with much fanfare. It has become more valuable when it incorporated traditional PC functions within the tablet. The sales of tablets have developed side by side with the smartphone market.

To help consumers understand the market shift from PCs to tablets, Steve Jobs compared it to the transition from truck vehicles to urban cars. Jobs noted that there was an early need for trucks because most of the customers were farmers. With the development of cities and concrete pavements, the needs of people shifted to cars especially those with features such as automatic transition and power steering.

Jobs then compared the desktop PCs to the trucks because these vehicles still represent a small market of enthusiasts. But the majority has preferred the mobile capabilities of tablets because most people nowadays are on the go.

To further increase the value of its tablets, Apple calls this present period as the “post-PC era” because of the dominance of the iPad. Even Apple has conceded that the iPad has outsold its own brand of desktop computers Macs. In the last quarter, there were three times more iPads sold than Macs.

Apple has subtly included iPad sales in the category of PCs and this has enabled them to leapfrog HP to become the world’s foremost PC vendor.

Even with the success of tablets, it’s still early to conclude that people will abandon their desktop units for the mobile capabilities of tablets. Apple is still enjoying much success with its iMac as an all-in-one desktop PC solution. Laptops will remain an important segment of mobile markets.

Still in spite of this, tablet sales will see a spike against laptop sales in 2016, according to the research company NPD.  Figures from NPD indicate that the 121 million tablets reported in 2012 can balloon to 416 million units at the onset of 2017.  During this same period, it is estimated that laptop sales will only have around 393 million units.

Tablet sales will mostly come from North America, Western Europe and Japan and this will comprise 66% of 2012 global sales. Presently, Apple’s iPad dominates the tablet industry with competition from Microsoft’s Surface and Google’s Nexus 7.

Google’s Android Taking a Bite off Apple

Apple has not only dominated the industry of tablets and desktop computers; they have also ventured into the territory of smartphones. However, Apple’s smartphone operating system iOS faces more stiff competition with the success of Google’s Android operating system. Android is a popular OS that powers four out of ten smartphones. Android has also overtaken Apple in the app store of most downloaded apps. This is quite an advantage considering that Apple has 459,589 applications compared to 319,161 from Android.

There are more Android phones right now compared to Apple iPhones. Google also allows technological freedom with the development of its applications unlike Apple who closely monitors everything done to its applications.

Not giving up without a fight, Apple has also revealed the Apple iOS 6 this 2012. It incorporates the popular voice-activated virtual assistant Siri, Facebook integration and an independent maps solution to rival Google Maps.

A key conflict point for the battle between Android and the iOS is its online browsing capabilities. It comes down to a match-up between the web browsers Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari.

Google Chrome can effortlessly synchronize tabs, bookmarks and browsing history to Android phones. Safari has also announced a new offline mode to save web pages for later viewing. Safari has also caught up with the photo uploading interface of Google Chrome to keep the competition fair between the two web browsers.

Apple’s iPhone 4S is the biggest bet of Apple in the battle of the smartphones. It has secured a big chunk of the pie as far as sales are concerned. While many Apple fans impatiently waited for the arrival of the iOS 6, this has enabled the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S3 to gain a market advantage over the iPhone 4S.

Siri has always been one of the greatest advantages of the Apple iPhone 4S. Google’s Android has been hard at work to counter this with S Voice (for Samsung Galaxy S3) that gives mobile users the ability to launch applications with the power of the voice. Apple has easily countered this.

Cloud technology is another interesting development in the competition between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Both providers have an automatic cloud storage system for photos. Google has Google+ Instant Upload while Apple has iCloud.

Google+ Instant Upload compiles all photos in a private album that can be shared to friends; this can be best experienced in the social network Google+. On the other hand, Apple recently announced Shared Photo Streams. It allows users to choose specific people who can have access to a photo album. Live updates can also be shared through these specific users.

But the biggest move Apple has created to break away from Android is to create an independent maps solution that will compete with Google Maps. For many years, Google Maps has been the sole resource when it comes to live satellite maps. Apple can now compete on an even level when it comes to mobile maps.

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Tablets vs. PCs, Google Android vs. Apple iOS: Which Will Emerge?