Lately I have been thinking about the possible future of tablet computing and not because I want to be a “teleprophet” but because I can’t help thinking that the current scenarios could just be history kinda repeating itself.
Apple created the home computer market with the release of Apple II in 1977 years ahead of the IBM computer. The IBM PC which was released in 1981 drove other personal computer architectures to extinction in the 80s excerpt for Apple. This off course started a shift in the computer market with the birth of the IBM clones which meant that by the 90s the IBM computer was far more popular than Apple and the top computer computers were all manufacturing the IBM clone, using Intel processors and running on Microsoft operating systems. This meant that the IBM computers could be cheaper than the Apple computers (there were more options to choose from).
Apple always claimed the superiority of its hardware but even Apple finally switched to the Intel processor in 2006 which for me was a surprise because Apple had released Power Mac G5 computers in 2003 claiming the advantage of 64 bit processors and at the time of the switch only AMD had desktop 64 bit processors ready. It was probably cheaper to go Intel than AMD.
Apple lost most of its market share in the personal computer market in the 1990s fighting against IBM clones running Microsoft operating systems. I can’t help but imagine that we are on course for something similar here. I think the only difference is that, this time around while PC vendors had to pay for the Microsoft operating systems, Apples’ competition is an open source OS, making it cheaper to get. Android will also develop faster, because of its open source nature. It is not managed nor controlled by a monopoly like Microsoft!
Maybe this is the reason that Apple iPhone is already been outsold by Android based phones. While Apple will continue to be cool and continue to make unique products and have the advantage of being first to create an App store and thus have more applications on the store, the increased sale of Android phones and devices will also be the increased creation of more Android based applications. Developers will start to recognize that it makes sense to also develop Android versions of their applications. With time the Android Marketplace potentially will grow beyond that of the Apple App store. Or will it? Only time will tell. But the future may just be Android.