PC shipments to fall in 2012, will it soon be the year of the tablet?

The number of PC shipments in 2012 will decline 1.2 percent, according to a report today from research firm IHS iSuppli. While this might not seem like a huge decline, it may mark the beginning of the fall for a technology that has entered so many of our homes.

The report lowers the number of PCs sold by 4.1 million units to 348.7. CNET notes that this is the first decline in PC shipments since the dot-com bust. This could be a result of a weak economy, but it also nods at the huge growth of tablets, which might be replacing PCs in the hearts of consumers.

Pew Research recently released a report saying that compared with the 11 percent of the U.S adult population who owned tablets in 2011, 25 percent of the U.S. adult population owned tablets by August of this year. And while Apple has had the majority of that marketshare, the company slipped from 81 percent to 52 percent in only a year’s time.

Regardless, Apple chief executive Tim Cook is going to be happy about this news. Sure, this means people are becoming less interested in the Macbook, but Cook has extolled the iPad for cannibalizing the PC market in a number of talks. He says if a new product, such as a tablet, is going to kill off an Apple device, he’d rather it be another Apple device.

PCs certainly aren’t dead, and it’s going to take a lot more to kill them, but it seems, for 2012, they are losing a grip on the market.

Computer image via Shutterstock