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When the iPad was unveiled earlier this year, it’s fair to say that the response wasn’t universally positive. Far from it, in fact. For every Apple fanboy who cooed over its expansive screen and crisp design, there was a naysayer who wasn’t sold.

Wizened tech watchers were among the most sceptical, with some rather pithily dubbing the device little more than an iPhone on steroids. And that was among the kinder responses we noted.

Meanwhile, others noted that tablets had been around for some time and hadn’t found favour with the public. Instead they stumped up for broadband netbooks, which have the benefit of a practical and familiar, trad-dad keyboard and super slim dimensions.

So why, the professional cynics reasoned not unreasonably, should Apple’s effort and the slew of devices due in its wake be any different?

We can’t answer that for certain. But whatever the reason, tablets seem to have become trendy in a way that was inconceivable just a matter of months ago.

ipad new york times

Don’t believe us? Maybe you’ll believe analysis firm Gartner. According to a study from the industry trends authority published this month, the tablet market is set to explode in the remaining eight months of the year to hit 10.5 million.

Driving the shift is a strange confluence of factors. One of which is that right now people are prepared to spend more on broadband enabled portable computers than they were during the cheap netbook boom of the last few years.

Microsoft US sales figures published by the Wall Street Journal suggests. Apparently over the last 12 months they’ve noted that demand for laptops in £450 to £700 price bracket has risen 35 per cent. Of course, high-end tablets fit this niche nicely, leaving them perfectly placed to capitalise on buyers' new agenda.

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