Do I believe it could be blamed on the iPad? No. If Apple hadn't made the iPad, someone else would have eventually put two and two together, and a tablet would have existed that would have done the same thing.. It's most definitely a lack of innovation, software, and complacency in my opinion. The pace at which everyone is upgrading their computer, is slowing down as it seems the common thing to do when programming, is to take into account the "boo hoo" of people who can't afford, or just don't want to buy, upgrades to do something.. and a mix-in of companies pandering to the masses too much in terms of hardware, and design their programs to work on not just pre-existing hardware, but relatively ancient hardware. The fact that in some applications and uses, that a lowly Prescott can STILL perform admirably, is ridiculous. We have amazing hardware nowadays.. For the enthusiast, there is almost always something delicious on the horizon for us.. As such, we, aren't slowing down. We aren't dying.. We are just getting exceedingly picky in price-point. As we know, unfortunately, that software isn't advancing beyond a crawl at times(or not at all it seems from time to time), we have the extreme luxury of being able to use "top of the line" software, on relatively low-end hardware.. And as such, would explain just why you see, ever so frequently, people bashing people who spend more, when they can do the same, or more, for less. Then as for the innovation part.. Companies are way too willing to pander to the masses, in giving them absolutely worthless, addictive baby games.. Like the masses and their unfortunately oh-so-willing-"ness" to drone their lives away playing Farmville for example. Not only that, but tie in the fact that established markets do NOT like to completely revamp their way of business(too risky to them) or not profitable enough(Look into thorium for nuclear reactors as a major example. As far as I can tell, it's an ungodly amazing form of power, ridiculously safe, and far more cost effective than uranium. And that is just the beginning. Look it up. Seriously.)
Simply put, just in case I was typing in circles above, I think that:
People are too focused on price, as software being(in my opinion) several years behind hardware provides a negative luxury mindset..
Companies are finding their cash cows in the masses, and pandering to even the most restricted of wallets(in programming, etc. The console is the perfect end product of that attitude.), and spending vast amounts of money to actually ENCOURAGE it too..
And, a very generalized lack of innovation in the field of computers(en mass) because of those able to push the limits and level of society through advancement see no need to.. As what they are doing now, seems to work just dandy for the Farmville generation... :,(
Once upon a time.. Technology AND software were advancing in tandem, and the best of the best really DID become obsolete in 6 months. I've got an old Prescott rig in my garage that I power on from time to time just for giggles.. And it makes me sad that I can actually use that, with its nVidia 6800, and I can do almost anything I want to with it outside of high-end pc gaming (and that's mostly only due to dx10, 11, etc).
It was pioneers of all sorts that built this world, in industry, exploration, etc.. Nowadays.. It's all about the quick-rich, the safe-bet, and social-media.