Guess what? Mobile is overtaking desktop
, and it's happening at a breakneck rate. In fact, some analysts are wondering if the generation born today will ever know a "computer" to be anything other than something held in one's palm, which probably sends chills down the spines of those who are still cranking out desktop towers. Gartner's latest research report predicts that the "traditional PC market" will shrink 7.6% in the coming year, citing a change in behavior as consumers flock to tablets, phones, and other ultra-portable devices.
Worldwide devices (the combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are on pace to total 2.4 billion units in 2013, a 9 percent increase from 2012, according to Gartner; device shipments are forecast to continue to grow, reaching more than 2.9 billion units in 2017, but the mix of these devices will significantly change over the forecast period. "While there will be some individuals who retain both a personal PC and a tablet, especially those who use either or both for work and play, most will be satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their main computing device," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they will no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis."
As a result, the traditional PC market of notebooks and desk-based units is expected to decline 7.6 percent in 2013, reflecting
a "long-term change in user behavior."
Beyond that, it's looking as if this trend stands to benefit Apple far more than anyone else. In fact, Apple products on the whole are set to outpace Windows products in 2013, because such a huge portion of Apple's overall sales are in the mobile segment (iPad and iPhone). Worldwide tablet shipments are forecast to total 197 million units in 2013, a 69.8 percent increase from 2012 shipments of 116 million units. "Lower prices, form factor variety, cloud update and consumers' addiction to apps will be the key drivers in the tablet market," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "Growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone. Users in emerging markets who are looking for a companion to their mobile phone will increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC."