The arrival of the iPad in the UK marks a turning point for sales of tablet PCs, according to Deloitte.
Paul Lee, director of technology at the consultancy firm, said that the tablet market will grow strongly over the coming years as users get more accustomed to the form factor.
The "appealing balance of form and function" will create a market worth somewhere in the region of $2bn (£1.37bn) by the end of next year, according to Lee, creating tens of millions in sales for vendors and developers.
"Tablets will thrive in 2010, despite only modest success over the last decade, due to the integration of wireless connectivity into every tablet shipped," he said.
"Connectivity is transformative and redefines the uses that tablets can be put to. Improvements in touch-screen technology, power management and storage will all combine to make the net tablet a compelling device."
Tablets are not likely to have a big impact on sales of other devices, such as smartphones and portable computers, as consumers will create what Lee called "scatter cushion computing" with a range of browser-enabled devices in the home.
This idle browsing could be of benefit to advertisers, since the portability factor will prompt people to spend more time using a tablet than other devices, such as smartphones.
"This more engaging user experience offers a greater opportunity to sell display advertising," said Lee.
The devices will also make their presence felt in enterprises, according to Deloitte, and will be used in various business contexts.
"Financial intermediaries may use tablet computers for form filling, for example, and the impressive battery, which currently exceeds a working day, make the devices ideal for field workers who may spend all day away from the office, " said Lee.
V3.co.uk was at the Apple store on Regent Street this morning to chat to some of the first buyers of the much anticipated iPad.
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