Tablet shipments dropped. Are we witnessing the death of tablets?

Mike Gillam, 2 April 2015

Tablet shipments slipped dropping 16% last quarter. Already some are predicting the death of the tablet.  But is that really the predictable fate of the tablet?

Documents have been with humanity for over 5,000 years. The oldest known medical text in history is the Kahun medical papyrus from 1800 BCE which covers pregnancy, fertility, contraception and veterinary medicine.

The Kahun medical papyrus as the oldest medical text is almost 4,000 years old.

Steve Jobs famously lampooned the use of a stylus while debuting the iPhone.Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em and put ’em away and lose ‘em and — yech!” But after ridiculing a technology, Jobs was just as famous for then embracing it in a disruptive way. After stating “I’m not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny little screen”, Apple  released an iPod and connected it to their entire online video store two years later. Jobs made these types of reversals no fewer than six times.

Could Apple be on the verge of another reversal?

Apple has now patented a multi-orientation sensitive stylus. Additionally, Apple Watch’s sapphire screen can also serve as a pressure sensitive screen. Apple’s retina displays means “ink” can be “deposited” at a resolution comparable to what we see on paper.

Every generation of iPad is becoming thinner.

Advance Moore’s Law forward a few more generations and the natural fate of an iPad is a device almost indistinguishable from paper.

Humanity has been using roughly the same approach to pen and paper for over 4,000 years.

Far from the death of tablets, tablets are poised to disrupt the almost 5,000 year dominance that paper has held over humanity. The real question is when. How soon and who will be the company to be the first to truly disrupt paper?

Mike Gillam, MD, FACEP 2015


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