The Apple effect on your next 'PC'

Because of the rise of the iPad, don't be surprised if your next PC is (also) a tablet.

The HP Envy x2. Your next PC may (also) be a tablet. You can thank Apple for that.
The HP Envy x2. Your next PC may (also) be a tablet. You can thank Apple for that. Hewlett-Packard

The venerable laptop is under assault.

And leading the assault is Apple -- which has no qualms about cannibalizing a piece of its own MacBook laptop line with the iPad.

And Apple's tablets will get even harder to resist in October when it brings out a smaller tablet, probably priced well below $399.

The $199 Google Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fire starting at $199 -- or $159 for the original Fire -- are making it even harder to fork over $699 for a new laptop.

At the risk of stating the obvious, consumers often opt for the cheaper device if it seems to meet their needs. So, in many cases -- just glance at figures from market researchers and Apple itself -- they are choosing a tablet instead of a laptop. Or postponing the purchase of a laptop in favor of a tablet impulse-buy.

In response, Microsoft, Intel, and their partners -- who are feeling some existential panic -- are trying to curb those buying habits by introducing Windows 8 laptops that also function as tablets.

So, here's my question. Would you forgo a tablet for a laptop with a touch screen?

Or to rephrase the question: though more expensive than a tablet -- likely well over $499 -- many Windows 8 portables will squeeze a laptop and tablet into one device, potentially obviating the need to buy two devices. Does that seem like the right solution to you?

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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