Juniper Research says Ultrabooks to outpace tablets by 2016

Enjoy your iPads and Android tablets while you can, because by 2016 they may be yesterday's news. According to a new prediction from analyst group Juniper Research, tablets will fall out of favor and an emerging product line called ultrabooks will emerge. In the vein of Apple's Macbook Air, ultrabooks are sub-$1,000 laptops that are incredibly sleek and sexy and have a long battery life.

"Apple's Macbook Air represents a symbol of both the opportunity and challenge for the ultrabook... and while it has been very well received, the consistently high price point of the Macbook Air and other Macbook products have meant that they remain a niche segment of the market," Juniper admits in its research note. However, the cost of entry will be scaled down significantly over the next few years.

As we all know, tablets are great but they are limited because they lack such peripherals as a keyboard or mouse, by default. There's a reason that a market exists for Bluetooth iPad keyboards and the like. By Juniper's predictions, 178.2 million ultrabooks will be shipped by 2016, with the bulk going to North America and Western Europe. The growth in this nascent segment will exceed tablets, the research firm said, so even though the word "ultrabook" still hasn't made it into many people's lexicons just yet, it will.

[via Consumer Reports]