What are tech savvy reporters referring to when they talk about the post PC era? It’s all about how iPads and tablets have skyrocketed in popularity — big time. That’s good news for those that manufacture them, but relatively bad news for laptops and perhaps PCs in the near future (especially when you figure in cloud computing).
According Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy, laptop sales had dropped by as much as 50% in some stores while the iPad has been flying off the shelves.
Global laptop sales, which had been rising by double-digit rates before the iPad, collapsed; they grew just 1 percent in the first quarter of 2011. – BusinessWeek
The March 10th ChangeWave Research survey of 3,000+ consumers on their buying intentions for technology, revealed 27% planned buying of Tablets in the near future – with 18% of respondents now saying their company will purchase Tablets for their employees in the 3rd Quarter. The tech of choice? 82% said, “Apple iPad.”
But does the tablet have a real business application? Can it actually make a significant impact on your bottom line? Or is it just another tech toy?
Let’s explore the issue.
Laptops and Constant Connectivity
There are many things business owners can do with a tablet, such as an iPad, that they couldn’t do with a laptop, or on the flip side, a smart phone, like the iPhone.
For one, you don’t need Wi-Fi with a tablet. You can check email, bank accounts and business documents from anywhere with the 3G network.
The iPhone has the same capability, however writing long emails or performing more complex functions on the iPhone isn’t exactly practical (for most of us). The touch type of screen is just too small to write long emails. The iPad solves that issue.
According to that same ChangeWave survey (mentioned above), 46% of business people who bought the iPad did so with the intention of using it for “sales support,” and 45% use it for “customer presentations.” In other words, instead of pulling out an old-fashioned binder for a presentation, pull out a sleek iPad. With a flick of a finger, you glide through your full-color Powerpoint. Impressive! You come across as cutting edge and knowledgeable.
After your presentation you can instantly log onto your Customer Management System (i.e. Salesforce.com, etc.) and log how the meeting went. Unlike a laptop which requires Wi-Fi or an iPhone which can’t display everything on its screen, the iPad allows you to have full screen access and a large touch-type screen to instantly enter in how the meeting went.
Do You Really Need It for Business?
It depends. If a small increase in performance can mean an increase in profits for your business, the answer is clear. At the price of around $500, you decide if it’s worth the cost.
If on the other hand, if you’re in a field where a small increase in volume won’t impact business much at all, and your tech-savvyness isn’t appreciated by your prospects, then the iPad probably isn’t a business asset worth investing in.
Have you invested in a tablet yet? If not, are you considering purchasing one? Which one do you have or want to get? Will it be an Apple product?
What do you think distinct advantages are of a tablet versus a laptop? Will something like this ever replace a desktop unit?
Is owning a tablet worth the investment for you?