A coworker send a link on new tablet/hybrid devices shown at CES. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5DYuVN6nuY. I gotta say, nice new form factor for the netbooks.
Religious debate about Apple versus the world aside. There will be a place for low priced computer with touch capabilities with full keyboard. This concept has been around for a long time: see http://shop.lenovo.com/us/notebooks/thinkpad/x-series-tablet. We've seen this 5 years ago. The potential market will be the same around the type of people that buys this.
I don't know how long we've been hearing about ipod, iphone, ipad killers. And nothing has succeeded. The reason for Apple's success has to do with the Apple's core capabilities on creating an arbitrary need and paint a picture for the every day consumers. They get people who 5 years ago would never buy a tablet PC, to say "I need this". People want Apple stuff. Not because of features, and technology, but because of ease of use, ecosystem, addressing simple problems and successful marketing campaigns. Doctors, Dentists, Judges are imagining what their world could be with Apple. While everyone is playing catch up.
That being said, the landscape is leveling. Android is creating a platform that's almost as easy to use. With combined push of all the other phone manufacturers (other than Apple), is making a significant dent in market share. The share isn't coming at the expense of Apple, but from Research in Motion and Nokia, who were previously the dominating player in smart phone, and cell phone markets world wide. I think the market place will reach towards saturation and equilibrium. Then new categories are invented, and it starts all over again.
Note, success of Android also points to Apple's core flaw. Apple wants control. Apple's stance on control has been around quality. I speculate there's economic reasons as well for control. Their rejection of google voice, skype VOIP into the app store. Refusal on allowing flash to work on iOS devices are all about control. In the past year, we've seen Apple relax their stance on control. Now Google voice and Skype is available for iOS devices. Flash, I am still waiting for.
David in Vancouver.