Apple famously said that the iPad tablet ushers in the post-PC era. That hasn't been exactly true just yet as more PCs are sold each year than tablets, but it may finally change in 2013.
DigiTimes Research senior analyst James Wang recently said that he expects global tablet shipments to top 210 million units in 2013. Out of those 210 million units, he expects 140 million to be branded tablets like the iPad, Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab. Overall tablet shipments would soundly beat notebook shipments for the first time, and truly usher in the much lauded post-PC era.
Beyond beating PC shipments, Wang expects Apple to remain as the top tablet vendor in the world. Apple's overall market share, however, will fall from 60 percent to 55.6 percent thanks to Google's new found success in the tablet market. He also says that Apple will only account for 37.4 percent of all tablet shipments next year.
As for Google, Wang expects the company to become the second largest tablet vendor in the world next year. The company's Nexus line will continue to do well, and is projected to hit 19 million units shipped worldwide.
Google may not win the hardware war next year, but it will definitely win the OS war. It's projected that Android-based tablet shipments will reach 121 million units next year. If that happens, Android will beat out iOS as the most used tablet OS. Android smartphone shipments are already outpacing iOS smartphone shipments three-to-one.
If the above analysis is correct, it could spell big trouble for Microsoft and its OEM partners that have relied on the PC market for the last two decades. Microsoft is trying to adapt with the tablet and touch-friendly Windows 8, but it has yet to prove itself as a viable contender.
2013 may very well be the beginning of the post-PC era, but that doesn't mean the PC is dead. More consumers will move to tablets, but the PC enthusiast market will remain. PC component shipments will probably stay largely the same. We'll only see a decrease in the shipment of pre-built PC notebooks and desktops.