PCs

Engineer of original IBM PC declares end of PC era

One of the engineers who designed the original IBM PC -- which turns 30 on August 12 -- says the PC era is over. Jason Hiner argues that the post-PC era is actually still "coming soon."

Mark Dean helped build the original IBM PC, which officially celebrates its 30th birthday on August 12. Dean was part of the 12-person IBM engineering team that designed that first machine in 1981 and helped ignite the PC revolution that has reshaped industries and forever changed the way humans work.

Today, Dean is IBM's CTO for the Middle East and Africa (where you'll find some of the fastest growing economies on the planet). On the eve of the IBM PC's 30th anniversary, he unequivocally stated that the PC era is over and that what's next is even more innovative.

In a blog post on August 10, Dean stated,

"PCs are being replaced at the center of computing not by another type of device -- though there's plenty of excitement about smartphones and tablets -- but by new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress. These days, it's becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people's lives."

My interpretation of what Dean is saying is that computing is no longer about a box but is being absorbed into everything and is now about creating experiences that connect people and enable them to do work wherever there -- instead of just when they're sitting at a desk in front of a PC screen.

Dean also admitted that he rarely uses a PC anymore. He wrote:

"I, personally, have moved beyond the PC as well. My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline. But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they're no longer at the leading edge of computing. They're going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs."

Last week I wrote that people who are proficient with PCs can feel handcuffed and disappointed by the tablet experience. But, as I've said before, executives like Dean who spend their whole day in meetings and direct other people more than creating their own documents are perfect candidates for tablets.

Still, I think the future of the PC is that it will become embedded in smartphones and tablets and available for mobile use when you're on the go but also available for use with mouse, keyboard, and large screen when you need to sit down at a desk and do creative work. When that reality arrives on a large scale, then I'll be ready to say that the post-PC era has arrived in all its glory. Until, it's still "coming soon."

IBM PC: The beginning

The beginnings of the PC revolution (photos)

1981 marketing video for IBM PC

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

77 comments
BobP64
BobP64

First of all, the PC has never been more alive. By PC, I include LAPTOPS. Tablets - well, they are a bit of a different morphology, but they are essentially laptops with no keyboard. One of the biggest reasons tablets suck is that they generally have piss poor resolution. Not one table with 1920x1200 resolution (or even 1920x1080). That's the resolution you need to watch TODAY's group of hi-def movies (saying nothing about what's next around the corner). The PC has had offspring though, and they are flourishing. The smart-phone is one of the best examples. It's a "personal" thing that can be carried and used almost anywhere, anytime, even in a meeting. But it is not usable as a real computer. As far as the cloud goes, people (smart people, not today's crop of intellectual zombies) know that once information gets into the "cloud" it is no longer private will NEVER let their personal information get out of their control or off their PC. Tax returns, financial records, contact lists, pictures, etc, all must and should remain a person's PRIVATE DOMAIN. Putting them in the cloud affords one no such privacy. Facebook - I call them the Face-Steeler (Ko - if anyone knows that reference I'll be impressed) is just a prime example of how one can NOT expect ANY privacy online. As far as the typing goes... I don't want others to hear my thought and I don't want to SAY everything that I write. It's MUCH easier for me to simply type, edit, type, etc. Using all the available editing commands by VOICE COMMAND - sure - you can do it, but why, when it's just SO MUCH simpler - AND FASTER. Voice recognition is fine for the drones or those who simply want to take part in social networking, but for someone who actually wants to DO SOMETHING - forget it - never happen, not until the NEURAL INTERFACE is invented! Whoever said that most keyboard functions have been replace by a mouse, now just pretend you hear your self saying. Menu 2, menu 3, edit, delete, insert row, menu 1, font size 12, font - view all, scroll down, scroll down, arial black. Then, how would you tell the mouse to go UNDERLINE a specific section? YUK... Add into this that many businesses that are BUSINESS RELATED now don't have offices anymore, they have cubes or BULLPENS. Trying to get everyone THERE to start talking at the same time would be, well, chaos. Now - talk about a few people who are all near each other and have each one of them talking at their device - you would have a cackling like sound and that's about it. So, go ahead - dream your dream, but like someone said, PC's will go extinct just about the same time that (true) paperless offices take over (never).

amywohl
amywohl

I have a desktop PC (with two screens), a large Sony Laptop, two notebooks, a Xoom tablet and an Android smartphone. I suppose you could say I'm ready for anything, but in fact, getting ready to leave on vacation, I'm not sure what to take. I love the tablet, but it's not very good for any extensive writing. I do have a keyboard so I can use it that way, but then from a space and weight perspective, I could have brought a netbook. As to speech input, I've been writing about that field (and trying things out) since the 70's. A bit of information might be useful. When people used dictation devices to record their letters and memos, only about 11% of the people whose tasks indicated they could use these devices ever used them. This appears largely to be because some folks can create structure in their head and most can't. WIth a screen showing what you said in front of you, it's a little easier, but not a lot. Voice recognition is great for command and control, but I think it will be hard to get it to replace a keyboard for text creation. I can't wait for it to be good enough (it isn't yet) to test out that theory, Maybe the next generation, so computer-facile, will be much better at this. Or maybe we'll develop a new class of tools.

info
info

You also have to realize that this is just more marketing hype from IBM, hoping that, it coming from 'one of us', will carry a bit more weight and believability. He does have valid points, although the PC as we know it won't be going anywhere anytime soon. We've been told this before, when previous tablets and the Apple Newton made their debuts. IBM is just trying to back their services, which is the majority of what they offer now. I just love Mark Dean's comment, "IBM was smart to spin off their PC division to Lenovo years back... Even back then, IBM were visionaries that saw The Cloud!" (Paraphrased)... Umm, nice try at spin, but I don't think so. IBM pulled out of hardware simply because there wasn't enough margin in it for them to bother competing directly any longer. I'm sure they still get a hefty royalty from Lenovo for every IBM 'Think' system sold. And 'visionaries'? Again, that's a laugh. IBM became a 'me too' services provider along the same lines as a few others at the time, because it's more lucrative... They were hardly the first to jump onto the 'Cloud' bandwagon, either, which is something else that is over-hyped and premature. Why, I got lost on a manufacturer's website the other day looking for drivers, because they had labelled them...'Hardware *Apps*'! I almost killed myself laughing...

Thumper1
Thumper1

Come back in 5 years when the bulk of the work done in a business environment is still done with the most efficient tool available; the desktop PC and tell me again that they are dead. This guy obviously has no clue. I wonder if he was one of the people who decided that since the PC was never going to amount to anything more than a toy that IBM shouldn't even bother protecting it!

eodx9000
eodx9000

I can build a PC cheaper and better than any brand-name computer and my PC will still out-perform any laptop, notebook, tablet, and smartphone. So no, the PC era isn't coming to an end - only the dominance of brand-name computers at best.

jpgeek5704
jpgeek5704

You can call me tablet, smartphone, notebook but Im still an extension of the PC. I agree with the sentiment that the PC desktop will always be around. I spend 8 hour a day in front of my desktop, controlling other desktops remotely with dual 24 monitors. For me its all about desktops space and raw power, Gigs of memory and terabytes of storage. I cant get this from smaller portable devices and thats all tablets /smartphones/notebooks are, extensions of the PC, offering better portability and broader access. The PC is not died just evolved.

dmm99
dmm99

Executives/managers think everyone only needs what they need, and does what they do. Hence the following true comments from supervisors at my lab: "Nobody programs in Fortran anymore." "Why can't you use your current [10-year-old] compiler for that?" "Just change your [5000 lines of] code to C." "Use [other employee's] C compiler that he got free at a training class." "Why can't you use Excel [to generate plots for publications]?" "Why don't you dress up every day?" "There's no reason for anyone to be at the lab past 1900." "Why would you need to work from home during the day? Cubicles aren't disruptive." (That last comment always comes from someone NOT in a cubicle.)

kirk_augustin
kirk_augustin

The PC will never die because it does not require a keyboard, foppy disk, and mono screen as the IBM PC did. The mouse, voice interface, color, pressure sensitive, etc. was around with Atari, Commodore, Apple, etc., years before the IBM PC was even designed, so the IBM PC was always obsolete. But a tablet is still a PC once you realize input devices do not distinguish a PC. The fact we eventually will wear or imbed a PC does not make it less personal but more. And it had better always be a computer.

The Daleks
The Daleks

If all you need a computer for is web surfing, business letters, messaging and games, then a smart phone or tablet is all you need. But would you try to use one of them for creating large spreadsheets, developing a web site or editing professional-quality video and animation? Good luck.

griff.computerservices@ve
griff.computerservices@ve

As a computer technician and system-builder (for more years than I care to say), I keep reading with amusement the various comments/declarations/predictions from these 'techno-seers' who have been declaring the PC's death for oh so long... Sure, technology is advancing toward ever-more-so "nanoistic' [my made-up word] configurations; which on many levels, is a very good thing. However, the hard-bitten *power-user* will never concede/relinquish his/her penchant for, well... PC power! I own several tablets and 'nanoistic' devices, and use them a lot in my day-to-day life, but when I finally get home, I tuck away those little toys, prop my large frame up to my desk, turn on my custom-built 'tower-of-power', and off I go... Can't do this riding a tablet. My advice to those crystal ball gazers is to stop wasting your time and the public's with these phony "death Knell" calls. As long as folks can build a faster, more powerful (and yes) bigger machines, the sky will be the only limit. Amen.

Tony DeRosa
Tony DeRosa

IMHO: Smartphones are becoming the choice for personal communication devices, geared for email, phone, text and social applications like Twitter and Facebook. PC's are still the backbone for programming, documentation and mainstream media. Tablets are replacing laptops, not PC's.

wwgorman
wwgorman

The PC era is still in full swing. Maybe now more so than 5 years ago. Now we have laptops with large screens and the power of a room size IBM computer 30 years ago. I think 30 years ago everyone thought the PC was a toy. Now it does serious computing and is a great teaching aid. I know that the Duke University undergraduate (and now probably the graduate) courses in Chemistry required a laptop computer. With small programs today complex molecules ca be visualized in 3D and their interaction with other molecules studied accordingly. What this is may be the end of the era for the IBM engineer who designed the PC.

jeff
jeff

I doubt that the PC will die totally as an engineer doing real engineering, such as laying out a PC board or designing a transmission, or a scientist doing real research, such as modeling climate or finding a particle after a collision, will be able to do it on a tablet. Real design and research demand far greater capability than a tablet can offer. A bigger screen, more memory, a high power CPU are still required for many real jobs.

budly
budly

. . . at least not until a partable. . . I mean portable keyhole. . . I mean keyboard without auto-corrupt. . . I mean auto-correct is avatar. . . I mean available.

JonGauntt
JonGauntt

At the current rate of change away from PCs and the hours we have spent hunched over keyboards trying to do what we do, we should really take a moment and feel sorry for the back doctors that will soon reach the peak of the bubble and then will begin fighting for customers as the changes slowly build into life altering computer usage.

cd003284
cd003284

I predict that the end of the PC will arrive with the dawn of the paperless office.

therealunskinny
therealunskinny

The PC isn't all that personal any more. Data is moving into the cloud where it is better protected, not only in terms of security but in terms of backup and access . I have a gaming PC at home, a media PC in every room of my house, a notebook almost permanently docked at my desk at work and a netbook for the odd run around. None of these devices really fits the old school "personal computer" definition. They are instead access portals to my information. I think this is the point Jason Hiner is trying to convey.

fretlessjv
fretlessjv

Nah, in your dreams. It will NEVER be adious 4 PC. Here is the reason(s). Employers will not allow removal of any co. related info detriment to ops. So just because the guy behind the original PC won't be using one, it is because he is too busy to be tied down. The Co. OWNER will NOT allow one to take the Co. jules home at night. ALSO he can monitor all activities better if his employees are HARD wired. Not to mention the SECURITY factor. Just like you store info off site for security reasons, one would store info at the home base. Letting the tablet be an off site go-to. Not to mention the EXCUSE that "Oh...that is kept at the office" not being accepted anymore. I don't..get this...DON'T use a cell. For security reasons. Yeah, I have an emergency set up that IS wireless. But in general, I, at this juncture, don't allow myself to be accessed 24-7. I have set times people can contact me. You have no idea how "freeing" that is. Now back to the office. My home office will be MY HUB. That is where my tower is. My tower is in MY TOWER Repunzel. I can't, and once again, carry ALL I need with my work, should not carry with me. 12 or say 24 Hard Drives?...400+ software programs with extreem secuurity issues...just along for the ride? HUH? Never happen on my watch! I don't care what type of redundancy you have. All in one basket available for loss in an instant? There are things and projects I would NEVER dream of taking along for the ride! NOT SECURE. Hey, they even shoot executive protection people. I can see the pad as being the "start key" or MIXER so to speak. Take the place of a SOLID kick A$$, secured, alarmed, muti NON NETWORKED tower home base is equal to your own Fort Knox! You'd have to be an idiot to trust all your everything to a portable device and only have "off site" storage as your backup. Off site? Where's the security in that. I won't even get into the multi monitor issue for that can be addressed with simple docking of your portable. Instead of relying on a terd party storage, you will STIL use your home PC as the new secure backup and use off site as your needed redundancy. Anything less than that and you just threw out the family jules. Sorry guys but 35 years of providing protection to exects and others demands clear overview of the big picture. That guy the story is about is doing just what one would do in HIS shoes. He is NOT...not, thinking of the average millionare or IT responsible bloke! I prefer to have a solid PC base with a few portables to carry off site duties. No matter how big you get, your PC will be bigger. Your portable, only a device. Anything more and you are setting yourself up for Corp-Fail 101A.

adam.lucette
adam.lucette

Lets see an office cope without PC's...not in the next 10-15 years, people are too reliant on them, it'll take years to phase them out.

dogknees
dogknees

For Mr Dean. Would he design any complex device on his preferred platform. It's fine to talk about his current management role making sense on a tablet, but what about those of us who are developers or engineers?

benoddo
benoddo

I've been hearing that the PC is dead for at least 15 years now. I would like to see corporate America survive without a PC on everyone's desk.

rvanhaecke
rvanhaecke

We are moving back to centralized control. The cloud: Big iron doing everything; dummies attached. Tablets: Midsized iron doing most everything; dummies attached. Smartphones; children walking around hangin'on to mommy's (server farm) skirt. No surprise here. Been heading this way since 1999. Ray

veteran tyro
veteran tyro

I think what Mr. Dean is getting at is that if he needs to contact someone, he won't go looking for a PC to type an email, he will use whatever communicates best. He can use his cell phone, his tablet, or something else to call, to text, to IM, to email. If he needed to create a spreadsheet, he would find the best technology to do it. The paradigm (forgive me for using that word) is shifting from being centered on what hardware you use to communicate what you are communicating. The process will become increasingly platform agnostic. I personally believe the PC in some form or other will continue to exist as long as it is a useful tool for doing what needs to be done.

loidab
loidab

Like executives in large corporations, Mr. Dean does not send or read his own business emails, he does not create documents, he does not use spreadsheets for analysis, and he does not use databases for transaction processing. His view of technology is analogous to that of business people in the early 1900's when telephones (cell phone today) and telegraph (SMS of today) were the tools of business. Dean probably has no use for any machine of productivity since he is not capable or interested in using them.

roda235
roda235

Whatever it evolves into, it will be personal, and it will probably be a computer.

seanferd
seanferd

I'm thankful that they waited until the last minute to slap it together from off-the-shelf parts and write a BIOS. Open architecture is fantastic. But since they ha no OS or software, they handed Gates the keys to the kingdom. At least twice. That bit could have gone better. I wish media types would quit saying, or quoting others, that the PC is dead. Eventually, vendors will probably be fooled by this, and stop producing PC or the parts for them, and that will be a dark day indeed.

thebaldguy
thebaldguy

PC's good, are future of computing. You just keep cranking out PC OS's and continue Office's evolution into an incomprehensible mess that is completely unusable. Asp.Net is the future of business (failures). Keep up the good work. :-)

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

All of the "outdated" tech he compared PCs to are things that the PC itself replaced: "vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT". Computers used to be made of vacuum tubes and were used as typewriters. New vinyl records are still being sold today even though most people play music through a PC at home. The main problem I have with this rediculous assertation is that all of these old technologies have been surpassed by something better that provides the same function. I have never seen anything that can replace the PC. Smart phones? Tablets? Get real. When you need to type a letter, make a phone call, listen to music and watch a movie you can do all of these things from your PC. Sure, you could watch a moive on an embedded platform (small PC) in your TV and listen to music on an embedded platform (iPod) while making a phone call on your smart phone (another device with a PC embedded in to it). The PC may change it's name and outward appearance but do not be fooled. A laptop is just as much a Personal Computer as a smart phone is. The fact remains that some day you will want to use a keyboard. Then you will wish you had a bigger screen. Next thing you know you've got a mouse plugged in to your new device and it looks a lot more like a PC than it did a second ago. (See: ASUS transformer) Portability is great but people will use the best tool for the job. That tool will continue to be a PC as more and more people look back and think "Why did I ever give up my full sized keyboard?"

wwgorman
wwgorman

I bought my Netbook (Asus EeePC 1000) for overseas travel because even in Business Class the airlines are so restrictive on overseas flights and actually measure and weigh the carry-ons. I'm able to take my Netbook, full size digital SLR camera and separate zoom lens, and an external DVD reader/writer (one is not built into the Netbook) my pills and a couple of other personal items and get it all into a 10x9x12 bag weighing less than 7 kg (16?? lbs.). I have Office loaded and Photoshop and am able to edit and send photos by email or print post cards if a printer is available. I keep my finances on an Excel spreadsheet up-to-date. The Netbook was one of the best computers I've ever owned.

VentiManOhio
VentiManOhio

I'm in the same field and I 2nd it. crystal ball gazers are just that."crystal ball gazers" All these new items will just be a list of new gadgets to had to the must have collection. Most business are not going to drop desktops in favor of the latest Tech gods gadget, Due do what crystal ball gazers say. I always notice they never seem to ponder the economy in there concepts.

sperry532
sperry532

Amen, indeed, brother. Amen, indeed.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Tablets, mobile phones and netbooks are far worse for your back than a proper desk and PC.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

A paperless office needs a PC more than any other office. How do you do paperwork without a good screen and a keyboard?

budly
budly

musta missed it.

BobP64
BobP64

How many times has credit card information been stolen from a COMPANY. How many times has a cloud been breached? No thank you - I will keep my PERSONAL information under lock and key. I run a Linux machine that I do not use for network access. I only use Virtual Windows Machines to access the network, and I use different virtual machines for applications that handle personal/private information. AND, all of these virtual machines aren't even on the same PHYSICAL machine. I have put up a barrier that would be much harder to breach than the average company's (cough) "cloud", which is a name now used to pretty mean almost anything you want...

GAProgrammer
GAProgrammer

Tell that to all the people affected by the Amazon cloud outage. Nice try though!

kumail22
kumail22

Paranoia is also bad. I am neither a millionaire nor an IT responsible bloke. I trust I won't lose my cellphone/laptop/memory stick. And even if I do, I have 2 secondary backups. 'Who steals my prse, steals trash...'

PassingWind
PassingWind

... because little brother always outgrows it.

drroysingh
drroysingh

I would agree: Centralized Computing never went away. It is just a repackaging. And the differet is that a SERVER can become a CLIENT.

JP-470
JP-470

I agree that most responses are focusing on the hardware when Dean's point is that the technology has enabled cooperation and commentary between many more participants. I agree also with the view of others that the hardware is not disappearing soon: I've tried the "smartphone" and I will be returning to a "simple" phone when my contract is up, and I will keep on doing significant activities on my laptop!

wynman
wynman

Yes, it is repackaging the hardware really... though more functionality is still needed before I will use it... I am patient and there is a certain level of functionality I expect... mainly because I won't get a gadget that is good mainly for entertainment...

paul
paul

Dean's comments prove it! A Personal Computer is simply a computer that the user does not have to share with anyone else. Just because IBM registered the name did not change the idea one bit. This means that a so called 'tablet' is an even more 'Personal' computer than the PC ever was. So, IBM's vision of a PC may be dying or dead - BUT - long live the Personal Computer!

gechurch
gechurch

I can't imagine vendors will be fooled by marketing. They have cold hard numbers that tell them how many units they are selling and what the profit is; they don't need to read media articles to try to guess.

HENpp
HENpp

"The fact remains that some day you will want to use a keyboard. Then you will wish you had a bigger screen. Next thing you know you've got a mouse plugged in to your new device and it looks a lot more like a PC than it did a second ago." I am amused by tablet marks who find themselves needing to connect a mouse and keyboard to the device. Kind of defeats the purpose of the trend. The clam-shell PC had already addressed this.

graybe
graybe

Evolution happens ... The PC has evolved however you look at it whether it is a desktop, laptop or tablet. I am a photographer a tablet has severe limitations but add a keyboard and it's useability reaches a far wider audience. A laptop in a meeting is far from perfect a tablet is excellent. I had a small notebook by panasonic where the screen turned and laid flat over the keyboard, you then used a stylus on the touch screen if you need some typing. The new option is a multifunction PC which is built into a screen (and called a tablet) you add a keyboard/mouse as required. That is evolution a tablet is not new (first shown on TV years ago) what is new is that technology has caught up and made it possible. As long as the option to add peripherals remains (keyboards, mouse, bigger screen) then all will be benefit. All options have there benefits but one size hat does not fit all as they say...

cosuna
cosuna

...every new medium derives from an old one, which it later supersedes... Electronic Mail references normal Mail, but when was the last time you sent a regular mail... The Horseless Carriage, aka Automobile, once derived from the Carriage... it even had the same wheels and the same format... when was the last time you drove with a horse in front.... Smartphones and tables might look like a PC, feel like a PC and act like a PC... but they aren't.... And to the contraire, CD weren't the ones that really buried Vinyls, it was MP3, which was possible after the digitalization pushed forward by the CD... but guess what... MP3 offer lower sound quality than CD and even lower than Vinyl... which capture the full range not just 16-bit or 24-bit samples... Vacuum tubes offer far better amplification scope than transistors, and CRTs offer a better contrast rate than LCD... And guess what... typewriters on the late 60's were only the realm of "personal assistants" (then called secretaries) which offered the advantage of having a pretty lady at your side that help with the letters... which disappeared once women escalated the power ladder... So yes... none of the follow ups were near the old ones...

Vorpaladin
Vorpaladin

@Spitfire -- could not have said it better myself; you are 100% correct. To build on your comments, high-end gaming, CAD and video editing aren't going anywhere but up in terms of CPU and memory demand. What many think of as a "PC" (i.e. a Wintel tower or equivalent) performs these tasks better than any other consumer-targeted device, and that's not going to change for a long time. As an aside, mainframes and super computers are still very important for heavy lifting, but are not targeted at "consumers" (i.e. individuals). They are bought by corporations and governments to do things like run MMORPGs like EVE Online and for intelligence gathering / data reduction. I mention this because many think the day of the mainframe has passed too, but this is absolutely not the case. They keep getting more powerful, and as a result they are given harder and harder problems to work on, rather than being retired. Tablets are great for browsing the Internet, taking notes, making Skype calls, playing low-end games (which are fun... I'm not knocking them, especially those that take advantage of the accelerometers), giving presentations, watching Netflix content when you're on the road, and a few other things. All of which is great; I love my tablet. But there is no way I'm playing EVE Online or designing an integrated circuit using Synopsis or Cadence design tools on it.

rlramirez77
rlramirez77

Good reply, and spot on. I started at IBM in 1981, just two months after this historic announcement. I could write a book on what really went on as seen from the inside, but I'll just say that comments like the ones Dean made above are not in any way surprising. IBM lost the PC battle, both hardware and OS, in part because it was actually blinded by far more arrogance than ever existed on the other side. The public view was more the other way around, but perception is everything sometimes.

essigs
essigs

I agree with SPitfire_sysop. There are situations where all that portability is not functional. I don't want to have to plug and unplug from mulitiple devises to accomplish different tasks. You can't carry all the excessories in you pocket or on your belt. You would need a brief case. So why not keep you laptop it already has one. My situation needs hard drive space for business documents and records and a printer to print them. The spart phone and table are good for some thing, especially when you're on the go, but I can't see them ever totally replacing the work station in a business environment.

rdowdy
rdowdy

Your argument sounds as convincing as saying the automobile would never replace horse carriages. The PC as a work-station is fast becoming obsolete. This probably will follow the 80/20 rule. iPads will eventually convert 80% of the existing PC market. The PC workstation will fast become a niche product that will be used mostly for high end Graphics and 3D cad. The writing is on the wall.

kwabula
kwabula

You are right! I read alot of articles here that are all saying a PC is being replaced.( I see the problem taught in Psychology and postulated by Jean Piaget. That problem is called 'Centring'. This means focusing on only one aspect of a thing with the exclusion of all other factors. If you have the same amount of water in two glasses that have different width and height, a child will tell you that there is more water in a tall glass than in a short glass because they only center on height, not looking at width or other parameters!) Smartphones are coming with PDF Readers, Mobile Office etc. However see how well you will create an excel financial report on the smartphone. Most features on thses smart phones at face value looks useful, in reality people even executives run back to the pc to do real work. Even when you are surfing, sometimes you feel eyestrain using a small screen, and also typing using an onscreen or some slide keyboard on a smartphone feels less cool if you have to be on the net for long. The best would be to say, the PC will eveolve into something different but will remain a PC and that is why we now have all-in-one PCs, which even if they are touch screens still ship with keyboards and mice. I am yet to see a smart phone that does REAL work.

ToR24
ToR24

Oh the wasted hours, like chiseling on stone, carving a tree, or clacking away on an Underwood. What if speech recognition and sanitization software became so good that it eliminated the need for that archaic poking tool called a keyboard? Many keyboard functions have already been supplanted by pointing devices like the mouse. So it's not much of a leap to imagine a deference to touch screens and voice recognition. So there too goes the mouse! Why not port the display output straight into one's optic nerve and further eliminate that pesky LCD? Ah the freedom from the desk! Invest in recliners and outdoor chaise lounges now! I imagine old fuddies will be able to keep full-sized PS/2 keyboards, Bluetooth headsets, USB mice and 65-inch HDMI displays, but the raw computing device together with the mini-dongle mega-pack will fit into the inside liner pocket a microfiber jacket, all powered by the body's electrical energy. Did anyone recently surgically implant a cell phone or music player?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Huge fire burned up every sheet. PCs on the Cloud weren't burned however, as the Cloud rained all over them. Problem is smoke from the fire obscured the cloud and it, too, was lost. OK, desperate for some humor here...

therealunskinny
therealunskinny

Better protected in terms of backup/recovery/redundancy - depending on your cloud vendor. There are so many ways of encrypting and securing sensitive information. I recommend you do some reading and save yourself the trouble of maintaining your vast computer empire.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Especially with all the data they're gathering about us. A little market research goes a long way.

andrew232006
andrew232006

I'm having a parcel shipped to me. Email can't do that so the post office isn't going away. Also I have some Christmas cards to send. Likewise, there are many things tablets can't do that will keep the PC around.

ws3d
ws3d

The cloud was meant to replace server farms/clusters which were meant to replace mainframes. After onslaughts from CDs and flashdrives, zip drives and superdrives (some of which have passed into tech history) the lowly floppy drive is STILL available and was still offered as an option on new PCs even up to recent times! You can find a USB version if needed. I don't think Mr. Dean is merely passing along the IBM soup-of-the-day, but he seems to be making a statement for shock value. Anyone who has been in tech five minutes knows better. And his statement... These days, it???s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people???s lives.??? is a bit hollow - innovators never rely on hardware for innovation; the hardware is just a means to an end. And that end he trumpets is a long way off. The 'social spaces' he speaks of make use of whatever technology is at hand whether it is a mainframe green screen, a PC or tablet or some combination. He argues a point that doesn't reflect the state or perception of current technology. How many tablet and smart phone owners have ditched their laptops or towers because of their new tech gadgets?

yawafrifa2000
yawafrifa2000

Dean is probably wishing for the end of the PC era because IBM, having built that first machine, lost the race and couldn't catch up. From all indications, the PC will continue to improve in design, looks and specs, no matter what.

kwabula
kwabula

Well I am looking forward to that. The problem with your arguement is that you are saying an orange will replace an banana. Ipads are selling more thanm PCs. Thats normal it's new thing. It is more entertaining. You should not look just at the shine ipad, the fact is an ipad is still pretty much limited, perhaps due to physical size, compared to a PC. To replace the PC, the ipad need to be more do all or more than what the PC is doing. Real work is done on the PC, an ipad does a fraction of what the PC does and it's real selling point is it's mobility. Something will replace the PC, but that wont be a shine toy, it will be a gadget that makes people do some real work. So whatever will come and kill the PC will still be a PC, albeit more powerful and more stylish, smallish, but NOT an ipad or anything like these techy toys.

rdowdy
rdowdy

I am convinced either MS is paying people to post or you just don't get it. The PC is going away. This is happening right now, just look at the sales of iPads. No one is going out and removing PC's they are being replaced with technology that is more effective. I was a hard core PC user but now use my iPad more than my workstation or laptop. I am no hurry to replace my laptop. Yes, I will still use a PC for cad and graphics but I will ensure files can be read with a tablet or smartphone. It is asinine to make a comment about using a smart phone to create a financial report on a smart phone. Web pages will not be created on smart phones either. What is left of the PC market will probably be converted over to Apple. I am in no hurry to buy anymore MS based products and will explore my options carefully when I do.

andrew232006
andrew232006

It is the most efficient tool for me. Even if speech recognition was flawless, I still type faster than I talk. And imagine having to speaking in code.

SirWizard
SirWizard

Useful computing will continue to include manual input devices and large displays for a long time to come. Many applications, including highly technical ones, are not amenable to efficient use on small screens or text-based inputs. Voice recognition could be as comprehensive as depicted on Star Trek, but that would hardly help when designing in AutoCAD or creating/editing graphics in Photoshop. For these applications, a sensitive mouse / pen-based drawing table will remain a key input, and the biggest, crispest display will remain the primary output. Sound designers will require the best speakers available. Meanwhile, I'll concede that many apps will work adequately with tiny and low-quality I/O. Your GPS with tinny speakers would work fine with, say, Gilbert Gottfried shouting turn information, "Left. That's a left. Go Left! Left! LEFT! Turn around, you missed it, Schmuck!" Eventually, we'll have hyper-advanced interfaces that respond directly to thoughts within our brains and display directly through the visual and auditory cortex, or bypass the limitations of the sensory focused regions of the brain with enhanced synthetic replacements. I/O will be, respectively, demi-omniscient feedback and Krell-like control by thought. But until then, pointing devices (mouse, trackball, keyboard cursor, cyber-glove, eye glint detector) and high-resolution displays (CRT, LCD, plasma, laser retinal-raster glasses) will continue to dominate much of sophisticated PC use.

BobP64
BobP64

I don't want others to hear my thought and I don't want to SAY everything that I write. It's MUCH easier for me to simply type, edit, type, etc. Using all the available editing commands by VOICE COMMAND - sure - you can do it, but why, when it's just SO MUCH simpler - AND FASTER. Voice recognition is fine for the drones or those who simply want to take part in social networking, but for someone who actually wants to DO SOMETHING - forget it - never happen, not until the NEURAL INTERFACE is invented! Whoever said that most keyboard functions have been replace by a mouse, now just pretend you hear your self saying. Menu 2, menu 3, edit, delete, insert row, menu 1, font size 12, font - view all, scroll down, scroll down, arial black. Then, how would you tell the mouse to go UNDERLINE a specific section? YUK... Add into this that many businesses that are BUSINESS RELATED now don't have offices anymore, they have cubes or BULLPENS. Trying to get everyone THERE to start talking at the same time would be, well, chaos. Now - talk about a few people who are all near each other and have each one of them talking at their device - you would have a cackling like sound and that's about it. So, go ahead - dream your dream.

kmoore
kmoore

How else will you correct your grammar and say exactly what you meant to say? By listening? For probably all of us, our mouths work faster than our minds. This is especially true when we are trying to be articulate and communicate precisely. Precisely. Look it up in the Word thesaurus. Consider all of the various meanings and select the one that most exactly fits what you mean. Then try that with your cell phone.

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

Don't want to get into any (dirty) details but if you think about it, would you really want to say out loud everything that you now type?

reiki33
reiki33

What about our aging demographic who will have an increasingly difficult time seeing small screens?

andrew232006
andrew232006

for open bracket int(how do you pronounce "int" anyway?) I, no lower case i, semi colon, i is < ten, no i < ten, no i < one zero, semi colon, i plus plus, no i ++, no i++, close bracket, open bracket((), no the other bracket "{"(I don't know what that is called)... I quit, I'm going to be a carpenter...

ontopper
ontopper

What do you think the older folkes think when they see youngsters passing by talking to their bluetooth devices? Yes, it will happen, developpers will actually talk code to their computers. Why not, dont you yell your smartphone which number to dial?

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

The need to insert punctuation reminds me of an old Victor Borge routine. If the name doesn't ring a bell, Google it. He was a real hoot, and a d**n genius.

wyattharris
wyattharris

Oh man, that would be great to hear developers talking in 'code' to the computer. People would think you were crazy.

adimauro
adimauro

Beyond just regular speech, think about developers. As a developer, how will you ever be able to program without typing? Yes, technology is changing, but SOMEONE still needs to program all the apps and UIs, etc. Try coding on a cell phone...it would be a nightmare. I've got 2 large monitors for coding, and I've seen people with 3 or more, too. I could see keyboards going virtual, the end of the physical keyboard, but not an end to typing.

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

Nobody here is denying change. We are just discussing if speech input would be practical on all devices, we are not trying to halt the universe from changing :-p get a hang on yourself :-)

ToR24
ToR24

Every time someone has prescribed a provocative future, like most, I am always first to discount that possibility. Can't be. Won't happen. People won't stand for it. They won't make any money. Every incorrect prediction has propelled me to the status of inverse great oracle. Every prediction I make will go the other way. So have hope my friends! I've been around too long. I now believe that nothing is permanent, and that everything is possible. Why not? It could happen. I've been wrong before. So now, when someone predicts the end of the PC, I consider the possibility. The words alone can influence a new generation of hype-drivers to make it a reality. I wouldn't like the things I refered to tongue-and-cheek, because everything I know would be turned upside down yet again. I lamented the loss of Cobol and MVS which pushed me from mainframes into those little toy PCs where you worked on files one at a time. It was never going to be any good without a punch card processor. I never imagined all of the things we now take for granted. Cellular telephones the size of a pack of gum stuck in people's ears, cameras without film that did a dozen other things, a completely tubeless TV, cable TV/satellite channels by the hundreds with yucky channels, stun guns that launch riots, color laser printers, fiber-optic communication, a space station orbiting our home planet, telescopes in space, tyvek suits to keep people from messing clean things up instead of the other way around, jet airplanes crossing oceans non-stop without those wonderful layovers on islands, low taxes cranking up the debt, even lower interest rates with folks still losing homes, world ecomonic collapses, 3D movies in full color, planes used as bombs, antibiotic resistant diseases, genetic engineering, mass killings of humans and animals with production efficiency, the internet phenomen, body piercing. Who would want all of this stuff? Kids. They are the engine of the economy that drives desires beyond what my poor little mind can comprehend. We often have a choice of technolgies we want to use, but sometimes they are chosen for us by mass marketing, peer pressure and incomprehensible desires to be cool. Who knows what direction hype will send society? Carry phones around with you all over the place all of the time? When will we get a moment's peace? Folks have highly spirited and animated conversations aloud all of the time. But instead of yelling at humans, they'll be yelling at their AI buddies? Technology won't suddenly make people sane, but maybe someone will create an app for that. Typing hasn't always been around. It's a fairly recent invention in the grand scheme of things. The wheel and fire have been around a bit longer. We've been promised flying cars for decades and maybe it won't "burn" fuel. I have given up the notion that it will happen really soon. But it could still happen. And it also doesn't mean I have to like it. It sure is funny when a few words can set off a firestorm of fear and denial. Good luck folks, change is coming. It's always coming. And all too often someone predicts the world is supposed to end, and despite that, most of us are still here, complaining. Misery reminds us that we are indeed still alive.

PassingWind
PassingWind

... for speech recognition to cope with random background noise. Coping with random background speech will be much more interesting ...

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Nah, I don't buy this myself, but the "replacements" for PCs all seem to be based on this premise. Everything is pocket sized or soon will be, ill-suited for use at a desk. But how many jobs will be spent on a train, or a restaurant, or at home? Traveling salesmen? Rare today. Reporters, yeah, sure. Mechanics, Surgeons, Plumbers? All use computers now, but not walking around at the park. Nope, I don't think PCs are going away anytime soon. They'll be smaller, faster, more reliable, but will probably remain as recognizable at first sight as the Tandy Model II. And they'll be at home on a desk.

adimauro
adimauro

Not to mention the fact that, could you imagine an office full of people all talking to their computers? It would be chaos. Then again, it would probably stop people from posting on Facebook at work!

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