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1/10/2011
06:58 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: The PC Is Dying: Long Live The iPad!

In April, Apple was expected to sell maybe 15 million iPads in 2011. Three months later, the number was 36 million. Today, do I hear 55 million?

While the PC's not exactly dead in an absolute sense, its days at the forefront of innovative applications and unprecedented customer experiences are gone.

Yes, there are still hundreds of millions of PCs around and many or even most will keep chugging away for years to come: perfectly capable and dependable blocks within corporate IT's extended foundation.

And if you're a CIO wondering why knuckleheads like me are playing into this hysteria and trying to cram these perfectly good machines into the storage bin of near-obsolescence, just thank Apple and Steve Jobs and the iPad. Because the iPads are coming, and they're coming in volumes that are difficult to comprehend.

My colleague Alex Wolfe analyzed this sweeping trend in a recent column called Wolfe's Den: Top Technologies To Watch In 2011: "Note that I don't mean 'desktops' as in 'desktop PCs,' as distinct from laptops. The mini-tower is already a metaphorical tombstone to a computing era now past.

"What I'm getting at," Alex continued, "is an atmospheric observation that desktops and laptops, as a mode of user engagement are the past, not the future. This is true notwithstanding the fact that you're probably reading this article—particularly if you're at work—on your laptop."

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While the number of iPad corporate users is still quite small in relative terms, and while the percentage of those users who've junked their PCs to go solo on the iPad is still relatively puny, we need to remember that we're looking back not over years and years of incremental growth but rather over just a few quarters of stupendous acceleration in the business-world adoption of the iPad.

Take a look at this stunning 8-month timeline that starts around the time of the iPad's introduction and shows the hockey-stick trajectory in revised forecasts for how many of the devices Apple will sell in 2011:

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