Tablets on display
Tablets are looking very good this week. A Gartner study predicted that shipments would grow 53.4% this year while traditional PCs declined by over 11%. The two trajectories are expected to cross by 2017. Pew Internet Research published another study showing that, despite the sale of over 170 million iPads, the tablet market is barely 1/3 full, with only 35% of adult Americans owning one.
Apple and Microsoft both displayed their thinking this week on the best way to tap into that market. Apple announced a very thin, very fast iPad Air and an equally speedy iPad mini that now has the Retina display. Business Insider published a comparison of how the new iPad Air compares to the full competition. The Apple products are considered impressive (they both use the same 64-bit processor that powers the new iPhone 5s) even though the lack of new features didn't strike gold with reviewers. The new Microsoft Surface Pro 2 got mostly mixed reviews and is clearly positioned as more of a work device as opposed to the iPad's content consumption angle.
Apple did make another announcement that got a lot of attention. OS X Mavericks, their powerful new desktop operating system, will be free and compatible with most of the Mac notebooks currently in operation. This is a distinct break with the Microsoft model of building recurring revenues by selling expensive OS updates. ZDNet offered an explanation as one of their 6 takeaways from Apple's announcement -- that by creating a bigger installed base Apple will see the creation of more apps which will, in turn, use iCloud to assist and take a cut in the resulting business transactions.