Every new tablet, super-size smartphone, or other multifuncton device seems to give industry watchers yet another excuse to declare the traditional laptop dead, or at least on the way out.
With the new features and capabilities built into the just-announced third-gen iPad (also known as the "new iPad"), I expect a flood of reader e-mail over the next few days, asking if a revamped iPad is better investment than a new laptop.
And it's not a crazy question, even if you've thus far resisted the urge to move more and more of your computing tasks to a tablet. This was one of the most controversial debates about the original iPad in 2010, and just before that first-generation system hit stores, I had managed to get my hands on an early unit and weighed in on its skills as a PC replacement.
That story was called, "Is the Apple iPad a Netbook killer?" which gives you some idea of how long ago 2010 was. Back then, Netbooks--small 10 and 11-inch laptops that cost $300-$500--were all the rage, and in fact, most were less expensive than the iPad, and were much more flexible, at least in theory. At the time, I said: