There is no question that the iPad and soon, other tablets, are making printing less and less necessary. When you can carry the content with you and read it comfortably, why do you need to print it out? A few restaurants now are using iPads for their menus and wine lists, and of course, sales of e-books are growing exponentially. John Paczkowski at The Wall Street Journal's Digital Daily has an interesting perspective on the tablet phenomena.
Paczkowski points out that it is ironic that HP is touting wireless printing as one of the selling points of its TouchPad, when having a tablet makes using a printer kind of redundant.
In fact, Morgan Stanley expects a decline of up to two percent in printer supplies revenue in 2011 and a two percent to five percent decline in 2012. According to their report on the tablet market:
“CIOs in the enterprise space already expect to cut spending on printer supplies in 2011. As the installed base of tablets–a digital document viewer that reduces the need to print both standard black and white documents and expensive color presentations–grows, we expect printed page volumes to shrink. What’s more, 90% of iPad users already believe they would print less with access to work documents on their tablets.”
So it only makes sense that HP, the printer company (well, partly), would want to get into the tablet market. Hopefully they, and WebOS, can differentiate themselves enough to make that work.
Meanwhile, printing revenues will continue to decline, and tablets will become more and more widespread and affordable.