2012 – The year of the tablet
Usually this happens in stages – with the iPhone the original was good enough for everyone to know they wanted one, but not good or cheap enough for everyone to get one. With the second-generation iPhone Apple released the phone people wanted to see and with the third perfected it.
Those who were brave enough forked out the money to get the original iPad but it wasn’t every day you saw someone carrying the tablet or using it as gleefully as in the adverts.
In 2011 the iPad 2 brought more people on board. Those who waited out for the batch of original iPad testers to tell Apple the thing needed to be thinner, lighter, more powerful and have a camera, joined the party.
By the end of 2011 those companies who had been caught flat-footed have finally released reasonable tablets after spending a few years playing catch up.
With the Samsung, Blackberry, Amazon, Motorola and Barnes and Nobel tablets, running a mobile version of Android, joining the market it seems people are now saying they need a tablet.
When the iPad 3 (or iPad 2S) is released in 2012, it is likely the iPad 2 will drop in price. This means those who have been waiting for Apple to iron out its product and those who have been waiting for a more affordable option will be satisfied.
And when Windows 8 is released, the new Microsoft operating system is designed to work on both desktop and mobile devices. The competition will then really be underway and the tablet computer will properly take off.
So what will it do to us? The rise of the smart phone turned us into a society of citizen journalists, tweeters and cameramen.
I don’t see the tablet replacing either the smartphone or the laptop, so it could really be more evolutionary than revolutionary with its greatest affect on the computer.
Companies are already making their computer operating systems and programmes match their tablet versions and sync with them.
With cloud storage now being pushed into the mainstream it is likely the iPad will be used in those moments when you haven’t got your laptop and your smartphone isn’t quite powerful enough.
Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see.