iPhone and iPad

IDC analysts have estimated that smartphone and tablet sales will soon surpass worldwide PC sales with help of the Apple iPhone and iPad.

18 months from now, combined smartphone and tablet sales will eclipse the PC, it claims, with both categories hovering in the mid-400 million range. [...] overall it represents a shift from the open-ended, flexible, and powerful PC to the narrow, task-specific, app-driven nature of the iOS and Android kind.

More specific estimates are focused on skyrocketing tablet sales going into 2011 and 2012 from growing interest in products like the iPad, which currently holds a dominant position in the market.

Gartner's guess is 55 million tablets next year, while IDC has a more conservative estimate of 42 million, but both predict a sharp, exponential rise in the following years.

With rumors of the iPad 2 shipping as soon as February swirling more and more interest, it seems Apple's foothold will remain firmly placed among a storm of new competitors.

Do you think smartphone and tablet sales could actually overtake that of the PC so soon? Sound off in the comments below!

[HardOCP via Engadget]