Hi all you tech lovers!
In the beginning of modern computing there was the Desktop PC. It was expensive, but cheaper than previous alternatives. Then came the laptop PC. It was expensive until about five years ago, when prices dropped by about 50% in a few months. Now there's the pads i.e. the iPad and the Androids. The iPad2 can do more than the first iPad, but costs less. That is likely to mean pads can go lower.
Desktop PCs are now about 1/3 of the market in the EU and USA. The desktop has its advantages: it can have a large screen, its screen, keyboard, mouse, graphics card, CPU, and all the rest is easily replaced, it doesn't have legs, it's not attractive.
All the advantages of the desktop PC are the disadvantages of the laptop. The laptop usually stays the way you bought it. You are not going to replace anything, except maybe add some memory. Contrary to the desktop, the laptop has legs and it's sometimes attractive. You may lose it or smash it against the floor. And what do you replace it with? That question is becoming increasingly difficult to answer. Will you pick a pad?
Well, when iOS5 arrives, the iPad will no longer need to have a PC companion. You will be able to own one without owning a PC. Cheap laptops are often being sold as "the perfect notebook for email, browsing and Facebook". This is a segment where the pads are likely to outsell laptops soon. The portability of laptops is nothing compared to the portability of the pad and the capacity, in any sense, is certainly good enough. This is only the beginning of course. Pads are going to equal laptops in just about every way soon. I'd buy a pad if I needed such a computer.
A couple of years from now, many laptops may be replaced by pads in docking stations. That means you have a work area with a pad-stand (docking station), which is connected to a keyboard and a mouse. When you're there you place the pad into the pad-stand. When you leave the work area, you leave everything behind except the pad. Of course this is the way it looks in many offices already, but the computer is a laptop. In the home I think most people will not feel they need a pad-stand, but many office workers will prefer a pad in their docking station. The pad is lighter and tougher.
To conclude I'd say the laptop is here to stay, because it is a strong concept, which many people will continue to favor over pads. However, soon I expect more pads to be sold than laptops.