Apple's Jobs: The tablet PC 'crashed and burned'

At the iPad 2 event in San Francisco, Steve Jobs tore into the tablet PC, a relatively obscure PC product category that never caught on with consumers.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs had some choice words today for the tablet PC, a relatively obscure PC product category that never caught on with consumers.

Fujitsu Lifebook T900 Tablet PC. At $1,899, would you buy one of these? Notice the stylus, which never caught on in a big way. It's not that light either at 4.59 pounds.
Fujitsu Lifebook T900 Tablet PC. At $1,899, would you buy one of these? Notice the stylus, which never caught on in a big way. It's not that light either at 4.59 pounds. Fujitsu

What is the tablet PC exactly? While there's a long history of this product category and thus not a hard-and-fast definition, it's probably best exemplified today by hybrids like Hewlett-Packard's EliteBook 2740p (which starts at a whopping $1,599) or the Fujitsu Lifebook T900 Tablet PC (which starts at an even higher $1,899).

The tablet PC has been largely a vain attempt--certainly compared with the popularity of the iPad--to meld the laptop with a tablet, based on the Windows tablet interface.

And Jobs pulled no punches in pointing this out today when speaking at the iPad 2 event today in San Francisco . "We sold almost 15 million iPads in 2010. And remember that's just nine months. That's April through September," he said. "That's more than every tablet PC ever sold. The tablet PC crashed and burned. The modern tablet PC is the iPad."

Granted, he is probably Apple's best product evangelist, but he has a point. The stylus-based Windows interface never caught in any significant way. Not to mention the fact that the Windows 7 tablet interface today is not as touch-friendly as Apple's UI on the iPad.

But it's not only Apple that will likely deliver the coup de grace to the tablet PC. As PC makers like HP and Dell bring out more products like the HP TouchPad and the Dell Streak, they will do their fair share to bring about the demise of this product category too.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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