This story has been underreported.

Just like the iPod killed the Walkman, tablets are going to devastate PCs, it’s just that most people don’t know it yet.

The iPod is a good analogy. Overpriced and unneeded. That’s what the pundits said. As for the public, most people weren’t paying attention. What sold the iPod was not Windows compatibility and the iTunes Store so much as word of mouth. What’s selling iPads is word of mouth and apps. And when the killer app arrives…

One can argue the killer apps are already here. They started on the phone. But now they’re on the tablet. And there are millions of evangelists spreading the word right now. If I were HP I’d dump the PC division today, because just like the CD in the wake of Napster, computer sales are going to fall right off a cliff.

Now I need a PC. I type.

But most people do not. Not more than a few words. A tablet gives them all the functionality they need. And it’s portable. And it’s within financial reach. It’s easy. The software doesn’t break. The learning curve is close to nonexistent. You get access to all the information you need. And some of those apps! You can control everything from your heat to your TV. Magazines can have moving pictures. It’s like going to Disneyland. And it’s the best place to watch Netflix movies.

Of course you can do a lot of these same things on a phone. But the screen real estate is just too small. You need both. But you do not need a PC.

That’s the underreported story. How iPad users are giving up their PCs. Sure, they might use them at work. But at home, PCs are getting dusty.

Positioned as a third device by Apple, the iPad is becoming the first device. The PC is biting the dust. Certainly when it comes to consumers. As for businesses… Sure, desktop PCs are needed, but so many field people have already switched to tablets, and tablets have invaded spheres that previously lacked PCs, like airplane cockpits.

Right now this is an Apple story. And it might continue to be, because of the Cupertino company’s buying power. So far, nobody’s been able to produce a tablet for less, never mind make it better.

As for the Kindle Fire… It’s got the shape of a tablet, but it’s really just a content delivery device. E-mail and other PC replacement functions either don’t work or are hamstrung to the point of frustration. To think the Kindle Fire is a threat to the iPad is to think a Radio Flyer is a threat to Ferrari. I’m not saying Amazon won’t sell any, but I am saying they won’t put a dent in the iPad, because you just can’t do what you want to.

Will Android make a dent?

First and foremost they’ve got to get the proportions right. The screen’s got to be big enough to render your PC obsolete. Make it too small and you still need a PC. This is why the phone is an adjunct to the tablet.

As for Android phones… They’re being sold on price, not functionality. The closed ecosystem of the iPhone enhances usability. Sure, some people buy them as status symbols, but most people use multiple apps, they’re addicted to them. Whereas many Android users barely do more than call and text.

Okay, you’re a power Android user. I’ve got no problem with that.

And I’ve got no problem with Android making inroads in the tablet sphere.

But I am telling you, tablets are going to win.

The public is speaking. But the media is not listening.

The media looks at sales figures, market penetration.

But if you talk to the people actually using iPads, you’ll get a tsunami of excitement, testimony as to the religious experience. I haven’t seen furor like this since the iPod. And the iPad does so much more.

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