Don’t be surprised if you start to see more people with tablets than laptops: A report Monday said tablet shipments will exceed PCs by 2015.
Research company Gartner said worldwide tablet shipments — meaning units sold from manufacturers to retailers — will climb from 256 million in 2014 to nearly 321 million next year. Shipments of desktops and laptops will fall from 276 million this year to less than 262 million in 2015, Gartner said.
The shift would be the first time tablet shipments surpass PCs, a monumental change in the tech landscape. The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs predicted the shift in 2010, calling it the “post-PC” era, comparing desktops and laptops to trucks.
“We were an agrarian nation; all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and suburban centers, cars got more popular,” he said. “PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around. They’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.”
Emerging markets and interest in lower-priced devices are driving tablet growth, said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. Atwal said consumers should expect to see more tablets available for less than $100.
Atwal also expects more consumers to shop for larger-screen tablets than before. The demand for small tablets will decrease as consumers buy more and more smartphones with screens larger than 4 and 5 inches.
“Now that you’re phone is getting bigger, you’re kind of replacing the activities of a 7-inch tablet,” Atwal said. “So now you might have a 6-inch-screen phone and a 10-inch-screen tablet. It’s an interesting mix and match of screen sizes.”