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?

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