PC sales are abysmal. Laptop sales are down. iPad sales are down. Smart phone sales are down. About the only consumer computing sales that are up are the so-called 2-in-1 laptops — i.e., laptops that include detachable tablets that enables users to write on the device, such as the iPad Pro, Surface Pro 4 and similar devices from other OEMs. Digital ink applications and the ability to write, digital handwriting, on the device is emerging as a key differentiator for mobile devices as they move into the workplace.
According to IDC, detachable tablets will drive future growth in the tablet market. Right now the detachable category accounts for 16 percent of the tablet market, but IDC expects it to reach 31 percent in 2020. In the U.S., IDC reports, detachable tablet sales experienced triple-digit year over year growth in Q1. And in Western Europe, detachable tablet sales in Q1 of 2016 were up more than 190 percent year over year.