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The iPad may indeed be the future of computing, at least when it comes to the way you interact with it. According to IT research company Gartner, more than 50% of PCs, purchased for users under 15 years of age, will have touchscreens by 2015.

Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner, thinks kids will pave the way, with the corporate world lagging behind. “By 2015, we expect more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 percent in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10 percent of PCs sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens,” she said.

Gartner claims that this change will be driven by media content consumption and the content delivery ecosystem. Touchscreen devices have been around for 20 years, but Apple has gone leaps and bounds with its App Store concept, and analysts at Gartner think that its success will “create greater market awareness of and demand for touch in other PC applications.”

Furthermore, Gartner sees huge potential for touchscreen devices in education. “Consensus among the Gartner client U.S. school districts is that over half, and possibly as many as 75 percent, will be specifying touch and/or pen input within the next five years,” said Ms. Fiering. Based on this prediction, Gartner analysts also predict that in 10 to 15 years an entire generation will have grown up accustomed to working on touchscreen devices.

These predictions don’t necessarily tell us much about the first generation of the iPad (and how well it’ll do on the market), but they do show that Apple’s idea of a keyboardless, simple tablet computer may have indeed created an entirely new category of PC devices, one that might be an important part of the PC market in years to come.

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Tags: Gartner, pc, touchscreens