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The Future of Computing is … a Tablet? (Premium)

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When Steve Jobs announced the iPad in 2010, he prematurely declared it the beginning of the so-called “post-PC era,” a claim that was met by laughter or polite applause depending on the audience. Regardless of where you stand on the PC vs. tablet debate, the intervening years haven't been kind to Jobs’ prognostication. Yes, the iPad went on to dominate the tablet market, but tablet sales have always trailed those of PCs by a wide margin. And the iPad, like the PC, experienced a several-years-long sales drop-off before rebounding, like the PC, during the pandemic.

What Jobs and Apple accomplished with the iPad is still impressive, of course: they created an enduring market for touch-based, consumption-focused tablets, and in recent years, it’s even made inroads in content creation. And while Amazon, Google, Samsung, and other Android hardware makers rose to the challenge, none of them ever created a tablet business as strong and vibrant as that of the iPad.

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