Switch to new form factors inevitable, says Jobs

Apple CEO says people will switch away from PCs to new forms like iPad, but change is uncomfortable

Tags: Apple IncorporatedDesktopsIPad
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Switch to new form factors inevitable, says Jobs Jobs compared traditional PCs to trucks, which will continue to have a role, but will be replaced as market leaders by other devices. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  September 11, 2010

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and co-founder, has said that the switch from PCs to new form factors such as the iPad is inevitable, but also “uncomfortable”.

Speaking at the All Things D Conference this week, Jobs said that the PC had served the market well, but that the PC sector will decline, although it won’t be completely replaced, as new form factors like tablets take its place.

“The transformation of the PC to new form factors like the tablet is going to make some people uneasy because the PC has taken us a long ways,” Jobs said. “The PC is brilliant… and we like to talk about the post-PC era, but it's uncomfortable.”

While Jobs refused to say that the iPad would be the device that replaces PCs, he did say that improvements in software would increase the features of tablet devices, making them more powerful and adding more features. Jobs also compared the transition to the early days of the automobile industry, saying that PCs were like trucks, which initially made up the largest part of the automotive market, primarily owned by farmers, but that as new features were added, cars gained in popularity, so that overall trucks made up a smaller percentage of the market.

The Apple iPad has been forecasted to sell some 28 million units in 2011, according to analyst company UBS Investment Research, with Apple taking share from traditional PC form factors, but not cannibalizing its own Macintosh PC business.

Maynard Um, analyst with the company wrote in a research note: “Sales of traditional notebooks appear to be feeling pressure from the iPad, causing a scramble by vendors to launch iPad-like tablets. We believe that a majority of this impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales as the iPad is priced close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to make purchases within this segment.

“We are not sold that the iPad is purely cannibalizing PC sales, as the functionality of the iPad cannot yet deliver the functionality of notebook PCs. However, consumers who purchase iPads may be more willing to delay purchases and upgrades of existing PCs,” he added.

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