But take note: Even in 2014, the bottommost pit of the PC's decline according to IDC's estimates, PC shipments will still total just shy of 320 million units. Also according to the IDC, tablet shipments for this year are estimated to be about 229 million, though slates are expected to crawl slightly ahead of PC volumes in 2015.
Tablet and PC sales are expected to be neck-and-neck by 2017, however. But by then, the lines between the two may just blur enough that the distinction between laptop and tablet becomes inconsequential.
As touchscreens shift towards ubiquity and power-sipping processors like Intel's Haswell and AMD's Kabini become common, the day when full laptop power in slight tablet form factor is rapidly approaching. That dynamic duo makes the rise of hybrids a viable possibility as time marches on. Think the Surface Pro, but without the Surface Pro's compromises.
"All points converge on 2014," Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, recently told PCWorld. "In 2014, you'll be able to have a very high performance, 9mm thin, fanless, low-cost tablet based on Haswell technology. At 10-inches and above, you'll be able to slide it right into a keyboard dock. Why on earth would you buy a separate tablet? Because you're not compromising as a notebook, and you're not compromising as a tablet, there really won't be a market for stand-alone 10-inch tablets."
What havoc will that wreak on analyst estimates? Nobody knows yet. But as IDC's revised forecast definitely shows, change is in the air for the PC industry—one way or another.
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