PCs

Despite hyperbolic punditry the PC and Microsoft are not dead

Despite what you may have heard from overheated pundits, the PC and Microsoft are not dead nor are they dying. Debra Littlejohn Shinder explains why.

Everybody's talking about the "post-PC era." According to numerous pundits, we've either already entered or are about to enter a time when nobody needs a clunky laptop anymore, much less a big, ugly desktop computer. Instead, we'll do our computing on tablets and smartphones that we can carry with us everywhere. Depending on which camp you're in, these devices will all be running either iOS or Android. There's no place for the likes of Microsoft and its hardware vendor partners in this scenario.

That viewpoint seemed to get a big boost in credibility last week, when the top U.S. PC vendor, Hewlett-Packard, made the surprising announcement that they are getting out of the PC business. Headlines such as "HP Surrenders as Post-PC Era Beckons" were inevitable.

Of course, if you dig a little deeper, you find language that's a lot less provocative; the company is actually "evaluating strategic alternatives." That sounds a little less dire, but it still signals a very big change in the company's business model. Does it also portend big changes ahead in the industry itself? And, as with last week's Google/Motorola deal and every other big thing that happens in the industry, we have to wonder what effects it will have on Microsoft.

Microsoft responds: Plus, not post

Not surprisingly, Microsoft disagrees with the doomsayers and believes the rumors of the PC's death have been greatly exaggerated. Corporate Vice President Frank Shaw wrote in a TechNet blog that there are things a PC does uniquely well and thus it won't be going away anytime soon. He posits that tablets, smartphones, ebook readers, and so forth are specialized, supplemental devices that people will want to own in addition to their PCs. His take: We're not entering a post-PC era; we're entering the "PC Plus" era.

Good news or bad news?

At first glance, this might look like bad news for Microsoft. In 2010, HP shipped 62.7 million PCs, most of them running Windows. Does HP's expected departure from the PC business mean millions fewer OEM copies of Windows sold? Probably not.

After all, it's not as if HP is planning to just set fire to its PC manufacturing division. As the article referenced above notes, the idea is to sell or spin off the PC business into a separate company. Who knows? Maybe the new company will make and ship more PCs than ever.

But even if the numbers aren't as high, they will still be making PCs. And they'll need an operating system to run on them. And it's highly likely that the OS will be Windows. On the other hand, if HP's Touchpad hadn't flopped (which seems to be the primary factor that triggered this decision), it was well known that they had plans to expand their webOS operating system to run on desktop systems, as well.

Had that happened, they would have been in a position to push the PCs running their own OS instead of Windows, especially if they could offer the machines at a significantly lower price. Some called those plans a "bombshell" for Microsoft. Given the possible effect on Windows if webOS became a successful laptop and desktop alternative, Microsoft folks might well be breathing a sigh of relief at HP's latest announcement.

We should note that despite all the many obituaries for it that have appeared in the tech press the last few days (e.g., "HP Kills webOS"), HP insists that it's not dead. Ina Fried in the Wall Street Journal's All Things D reported this week that webOS is still coming to PCs and printers. This comes from an interview with Stephen DeWitt (who is in charge of webOS), in which he said that the company will continue working on webOS-on-Windows. Well, as long as it needs Windows to run on top of, that should pose no threat to Microsoft, right?

Bye, bye or buy, buy?

As Paul Thurrott noted in the August 19 edition of his WinInfo Short Takes, some have suggested that Microsoft should buy HP themselves and get into the hardware business. Making both the hardware and software has been a successful strategy for Apple, and now Google has headed down that path with its purchase of Motorola Mobility. That would certainly shake things up, but Microsoft has traditionally held fast to its identity as a software company.

That has been slowly changing, though. After all, Microsoft is already in the hardware business -- the Xbox 360 is one of its currently most successful products. And it's clear that Microsoft has bigger plans for the Xbox brand in the future. No longer just a gaming console, it's destined in Microsoft's vision to become the entertainment hub in consumers' living rooms, combining gaming, social networking, music/video, and IPTV.

Does it make sense, then, for Microsoft to buy HP's PC division and replay the same type of integrated hardware/software strategy by also building its own Windows 8 computers (which would also integrate tightly with the Xbox)? Or will the Xbox itself -- rather than the tablet -- eventually emerge as the real replacement for the PC in a post-PC world?

Swing your partner

Assuming Microsoft doesn't buy HP, does HP's departure from the PC business mean a "divorce" for HP and Microsoft? The two companies have enjoyed the mutual benefits of a strategic partnership for a long time. Several times, HP has been named Microsoft Partner of the Year. Both companies' websites boast of their alliance.

However, a closer look at those web pages reveals that their focus is on SMB and enterprise solutions -- not the consumer market. And HP's press releases have made it clear that they have no intention of abandoning that market and will in fact be focusing on the business segments now.

According to reports I've read, HP still plans to make and sell servers and "other business devices." And I'm pretty sure that, even if webOS does survive, there's not going to be a server edition of it. More likely, those servers will be running Windows Server. HP has also partnered closely with Microsoft on solutions involving SQL Server, Unified Communications and Collaboration (SharePoint, Exchange, Lync), and virtualization. It seems a new focus by HP on the business segment would only further solidify those partnerships.

My take

Those who are claiming that HP's recent announcements signal the final nail in the coffin of PCs and that this in turn means the slow death of Microsoft aren't looking at the whole picture. Michael Dell still believes in the PC, and so do millions of us out here who depend on them to get our work done and have found tablets to be best utilized as supplementary consumption devices, not as PC replacements.

That's not to say that the form factor of the PC won't change over time. Just as it morphed from the flat desktop or "pizza box" that sat underneath the monitor to the tower to the mini-tower to the laptop to the netbook, I have no doubt that someday we'll have full-powered computers the size of tablets or phones, with ports to connect large monitors and keyboards.

The Motorola Atrix and the ASUS Transformer have already given us a taste of the idea, but neither has really sold like hotcakes. When I ask people who have tried them why they didn't buy one, the most common answer I got was that it didn't do everything they wanted a laptop to do or that it wouldn't run the applications they needed a laptop to run. Whether they know it (or would admit it) or not, what they're saying is, "it doesn't run Windows."

Microsoft has big plans for Windows 8. If they can pull it off, make it run well on a light, thin tablet that gets great battery life, and has all those connection ports and expansion slots that the iPad and Android tablets are missing, it will be the ultimate PC. And I believe there's a substantial market for that.

Buying HP (or another hardware vendor) and making it themselves would solve some problems but create others. I think it makes more sense to partner closely with established hardware vendors, including not just Dell but also current tablet/phone makers such as Samsung, HTC, and LG that may be feeling less enthusiastic about Android in the wake of Google's purchase of Motorola. They can exert control over the device specs as they're doing now with Windows Phone to ensure a more uniform experience.

Bottom line: Microsoft doesn't need HP to survive in the PC business, and HP's departure might even have a positive impact on the success of future Microsoft PC operating systems.

Also read:

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

38 comments
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birumut

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ElijahKam
ElijahKam

My older grandson has just started college,and he will major in biomedical engineering. When I asked whether he will be getting a tablet for his dorm room, he said no way. He will use a laptop in order to make all the calculations and other stuff that engineers use. Technical people will always need either a desktop or a laptop to get their work done. So PCs will never die, although they certainly may change form. Perhaps the setups of the future will consist of a screen, a keyboard and a mouse or other input device, while people carry their own computers around in the form of very small boxes that hook up to the setups. But there will always be PCs in one form or another.

dan.wildcat
dan.wildcat

Thank you, Deb, for bringing this conversation back to reality. There has been a ton of hyperbole out there about the end of the PC and, frankly, I don't see it. I'm assuming there are many silent others like me that can't see a lot of use for a tablet or smart phone just yet. I still say that the tablet market will never be what it should be until the other operating systems learn how to play better with Desktop running windows and windows apps. Right now the market is filled with niche-finders trying to carve out their own piece of the pie. As long as they do that, they will never be much more than a consumption and companion device. I still haven't bought a tablet because I know it's features are too limited for me to use and it will wind up parked on a desk somewhere little-used. I haven't bought a smart phone because I don't have a first-born child to use as a down-payment on the data-access fees. Maybe the market will resolve these issues or maybe these devices will never be more than they are. In the meantime, I'm not crazy enough to believe all the hype and drop my PC in the nearest trash receptacle. Furthermore, I'd like to see some reality in the pricing of tablets that reflects their limited use and ability. Then I might look deeper for a real use for them.

mjc5
mjc5

And it doesn't take smarts in all cases. I read an article from some wag recently that was gushing about how PC's are dead, and Cameras too. All of those dinosaurs were going to be replaced by the smartphone. The problem with all to many of the pundits is that they have tunnel vision. "I can access FaceBook and Twitter with the smartphone, play Farmville, and take photos with it, so there is nothing else needed!" He actually wrote that no one needs those bulky DSLR cameras. And as we all know, the only thing needed is what I need. Wrong. Someone has to write those precious apps, and someone probably isn't going to do that on a 3 inch screen. And as for the camera comment - his statements not only show his tunnel vision, they displayed a startling lack of competence on his part. Those tiny sensors, and lenses that are almost pinhole lens in size have to have a serious talk with the laws of physics before they displace the fair sized hunk of glass and larger sensor on a more competent camera. Research is always a good idea before spouting off.

Stratocaster
Stratocaster

I agree that the PC (and Windows) are not dead, but after the drubbing the market and most analysts administered to HP, with any luck Leo Apotheker will be. Bloomberg BusinessWeek theorized that now HP may become a takeover target due to its low valuation. Since acquiring Palm (why?), HP has constantly been a day late and a dollar short with webOS products, and has engaged in vaporware announcements even more shameless than some of Microsoft's. (Where is the Pre3? The HP Web site still says "planned availability this summer". Not much time left. Compare this to Apple's product announcement policies.) Apotheker has proven that he can run neither a hardware company nor a software company. Meanwhile Oracle snagged Mark Hurd. Bill and Dave are no doubt rolling in their graves.

rgeiken
rgeiken

Remember, Tablets are basically starting form zero versus PCs. PCs today are more reliable than in the past, and therefore people may not replace them as frequently as in the past. After the Tablet market matures, it's numbers will fall to some degree. Also I have an 8 core 8 gig desktop, so I have probably arrived at my optimum computer, and will likely have this one for 5 years or more. Desktops give you the most bang for the buck, and then probably laptops are next, and tablets will give you the least, but for many jobs and people it will be more convenient. I have 2 desktops and 1 Netbook, I use the Netbook for convenience not because of power. I don't own a tablet, because for me personally I don't see any need for one. PCs will constantly need replacing over a series of years, so they have a long future ahead of them. Tablets too have a long term future, but once the initial needs are filled, they will likely slow off. Some people may buy an i pad 2 for status and it will likely fill their simple needs.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

I agree for the most part. The only problem I have is that while Microsoft and the PC are not dead and to most people the only computer they have ever known is a PC there is a whole class of computers out there that do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to computing. They run the fortune 500, governments and the economy. The reason things get to you from around the world, the power you use to light up your PCs and pretty much everything else in your life only happens because the main frame is not dead despite everyone thinking otherwise. If you measure computing in the only sensible way, cycles of productive computing, so throw away all the web browsing, word processing (which is mostly the computer waiting forever for you to click the next key) and all the stuff most people do and you look at the real work done by computers like run the stock exchange or predict the weather or payroll at the largest companies world wide it's all done on mainframes and their offspring the massively parallel super computer. (Or their younger cousin the Beowulf cluster.) While a lot of people have PC consumer grade computers we are still in the age of the big iron. PCs are peripherals and remote terminals. Yes they have the same types of components as PCs but much better reliability, longevity and throughput. So while the masses and media are so focused on pcs the real computing experts are busy still using mainframes and supercomputers to keep everyone's lives running. We haven't gotten post PC because we haven't gotten post mainframe.

8string
8string

Not a chance. The margins are so small in Laptops and PCs, it's just a logical exit that will allow some other company to produce them. HP is still very strong in services, and will continue to be so. I think this is a good move for them, and in no way signals the end of desktop or laptops. I still need a desktop for video editing tasks, expansion needs, etc. I use a laptop for much of my daily work. I use an iPad to occasionally read email and work in the field, I use an iPhone for my normal phone/email device wherever. Given the low costs of all these, it's just an expanding universe, rather than the old days of paying $3k for a desktop, $3k for a laptop, etc.

emailadsspam
emailadsspam

Laptops and various versions of laptops never got it for me.

Shaun PC
Shaun PC

It is always the geek boys with their bleeding edge technology that garners the headlines with apocalyptic pronouncements. To maintain productivity and produce the letters, reports and other documentation as well as data entry required by the majority of companies a keyboard and mouse is required. There is no substitute for a professional clerical worker on a keyboard. All the tablets, smart phones and other small devices do not facilitate high-volume high-speed data entry. When it comes to business, productivity will dictate.

trashmail
trashmail

Post-PC is too severe a term for what's happening, but it's good Apple marketing, as usual. There is another space to exploit, and no one is there yet, but Apple. As usual. Granny doesn't use MIPS, can't set up Win XP, let alone migrate from XP to Win7. Read the instructions for doing so on MS website. A vast chunk of the public cannot do what MS advises for migration. This is fertile territory for capture. Kids and adults interested in connectivity and consumption prefer specs that tablets meet and desktops can't. More space for capture. Laptops can evolve to a better form. (Apple already proved that, too, incidentally.) The desktop PC is what I design, program, and develop on. Even if I design, program and develop tablet apps, I'm probably going to want my mouse,monitor, storage, multitasking, graphics, and keyboard. I sure as hell won't pack it up for my next trip on an airplane, now will I? However, monitoring the CPU usage on my 5 year old Shuttle PC, I note that this post is costing me 2-3% of my CPU cycles. Most of the day, it sits here at close to 0%, waiting on me. Anyone, yes, ANYONE who suggests I need more CPU horsepower shouldn't really be out without adult supervision. Idiocy. MS has much more to worry about than Apple. It faces competition from many sources, and so far, Apple has little if any. It's not a post-PC era, but perhaps it is a dimming of the bright light that once ONLY belonged to MS. The current developments are additive, and there's room for innovation, if MS can remember how that is done.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin

We have to remember that a lot of IT specialists who are pontificating for the demise of the PC can not really USE a computer for business...they do what people want them too for the business and very few of them can make a PC sing as the skilled business users will. They are listening too much to the semi or unskilled users who could really get by with a pen and paper!

beck.joycem
beck.joycem

Trouble is, the generic term 'computer' is about as useful as 'book'. Desktop PCs aren't going to die out in the near future because there are millions of people using them just like I am now: as a work tool. I've been reviewing our company's marketing, doing a bit of bookkeeping, answering emails, trying to find a spare part for our van . . . Meanwhile I'm now waiting for an AVG scan of a laptop HD in a USB cradle to finish, then I'll turn away from the PC and continue to service the laptop. I think tablets are clever, and possibly fun, but no earthly use to me. There are some really lovely smartphones about - but I work from home, I don't need one. I want to be able to add stuff to my computer easily - yet more hard drive space, maybe a better graphics card, my speakers are out of the ark. My computer is a tool, I do not use it just for its own sake - I really don't care if it's ugly, any more than I care if my lawnmower is ugly. If desktop PCs are doomed, how come I can still buy paper and pens? Nobody uses those, surely?

PC Ferret
PC Ferret

The PC desktop is the basic workhorse for my business, a kind of "Pickup Truck" that slots in neatly above the "sports cars" of tablets and notebooks.

james.vandamme
james.vandamme

Let's hope Canonical catches them on the rebound.

Bobby Dean
Bobby Dean

My thoughts are that most of the Tablet driven hype is generated by the Y generation and maybe the X as well ... I look around me and see that most of the people using tablets want devices that are simple because they don't want to understand complex things and that is fine and there are a lot of them out there and they are driving a certain market. They will happily part with money for the latest fad. But I enjoy and have to do complicated stuff that requires real computing power like programing large databases, putting large ads and brochures together and even when I relax and play a game it usually is one that requires a heavy duty video card or two ... there is no way I can do any of these on a tablet or smartphone. Yep if I just wanted to watch Youtube videos or play simple mind numbing games or tweet my latest bowl movements then I probably would by a tablet ... but sorry that's not me ... I have to earn money to pay the bills each week doing real and complicated tasks so I'll always have a 'real' computer!

kschlotthauer
kschlotthauer

I don't have a tablet, but I think they are cool as more of entertainment vehicles and not business machines...unless you are in the graphics field or maybe audio or photography. I am in the design field and SolidWorks and AutoCad or Pro/E choke a killer system now (64GB Ram..uber fast processor). I don't see those being ported over anytime in the near future. I have heard people say, "They will find a way to hook up a keyboard and mouse to a tablet"....then we are back to a PC/Laptop scenario. All an iPAD2 is, is nothing more than a ITouch 4 with a bigger screen (and maybe a faster processor). Unless someone gives me one or I win one, I won't be getting a Tablet anytime soon. I am going to upgrade my soon to be 4 year PC next year. Just to say this...I am not to thrilled with the early demo's I have seen of Windows 8 Like em or hate em.....Microsoft and Apple are hear to stay.....ask me in 30 years and I might have changed my mind.

tj243025
tj243025

Maybe they will market PC's under the Compaq name??????

Brenton Keegan
Brenton Keegan

I agree - people who say that the "Desktop is dead" have a very narrow understanding on what people actually do with computers. For some people who's work is not very computer intensive a tablet might be fine. It's good for being a communication device or something that can fill out electronic forms without having to sit in front of a computer. I'm a designer and I don't even want to take my work to a laptop, even a big one, much less a tablet. As far as I'm concerned, there's never enough screen real-estate. Everyone in my office has 2 monitors. It's the norm and even that's not enough. Personally I could do with three or four. I guess this refers more to work needs and perhaps people saying that the "desktop is dead" are referring to personal usage. I can easily see how people will be using tablets in lieu of a desktop that once resided in everyone's study room. I think we see this now but I don't think everyone is going to jump ship and start staring at the tiny gleaming rectangle in their hands and forgo the benefits that a full desktop provides. Now a tablet device that you can plug into a set of monitors/controls that creates the same desktop experience - that's where I think things are headed. You'll notice that Microsoft is trying to create a unified experience with Windows 8. It's not just a desktop OS; it's designed to be a phone/tablet OS as well. This is because in the future that tablet and the desktop will be the same device. Until this starts to take shape, I'll say "no thanks" to tablets. Until you can provide me with something more useful I really cannot justify the expensive. Give me a device that has what I need to get work done. Right now that's a desktop until the tablet can compete I'll stick with my desktop. I'm not willing to spend 3-5 hundred dollars; I don't need to check Facebook that often.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

We've tested several tablets for our sales team at my office and they might be worth getting email, surfing the web and playing some presentation videos or slideshows for customers, but from the standpoint of being usable on a day-to-day basis, they remain little more than a cute, but extremely overpriced, gimmick, at best. They have far too many shortcomings and flaws to be even REMOTELY considered as a replacement for a laptop, let alone a desktop, so I seriously question the technical knowledge of the pundits that continue to perpetuate the imbecilic notion that mobile devices have somehow signaled the end of the PC. I'd bet my next paycheck that those same pundits have purchased a lot of shares in the mobile technology market...

zefficace
zefficace

And I have to say, that what is the first problem is screen size. I have never went smaller, always wanting a bigger screen. Tablets and smartphones have small screens which demand more out of my eyes. Having to stare at really small text and images really doesn't appeal to me, even being equipped with perfect eyesight (no glasses, contacts ou surgery). Just for that reason, PCs are here to stay. Also, who has ever actually desired less computing power? Such are the tablets and smartphones. Granted some have the same computing power that PCs had a few generations ago, but I don't want to go back there! I alway want more power, so that I can encode a video, while I listen to music, have few web pages opened for whatever project I'm working on, and whatever task I can send to the background. And then there's the fact that I learned to type generally around 40 words/min. Why would I ever want to type with my thumbs or indexes alone? Feels like punishment to me. Give me a mouse and keyboard any day, just like those who wrote the same thing before me. The praticality of mobile computing is very limited to specific use cases, or the purchase is based on gadget envy. None can really convince me that one cannot do more and quicker on a PC than on a tablet. This "mobile" thing is just a buzz word, like the word "cloud". Until a few in the industry and the consuming public realise that things aren't as rosy as the sales pitch, the fad will go on. After the realisation, there will be more of an equilibrium in computing whith the PC right at the center of it, and quite alive. The PC might no be the only machine as before, but it will remain crucial as the only fully fonctional tool.

dogknees
dogknees

There seems to be an assumption that current PCs have enough power to do whatever the user might want. This leads to the comments about shrinking the PC to a portable size. My take is that we are a very long way from hitting this point. We(I) could easily use thousands of times the horsepower of a good PC if it was available on the desktop. Since we're no where near the limits of usable power, we're even further from being able to deliver it in a portable/pocket-sized device.

TNT
TNT

One of the guys from IBM who designed the original IBM PC announced the end of the PC era himself a few short weeks ago. A week later the stats came out that more money was spent on mobile devices (including tablets) than on PC's for the first time in history. I think that's the real kicker here, the economic turn away from PC devices. But that doesn't mean the PC is dead. Honestly, there is nothing my parents use their laptops for that couldn't be done just as easily on a tablet. But when you can have the power of a full-blown computer for half the price of a tablet why not get the extra power, ports and storage? This is where Microsoft's idea will excel. A small all-in-one PC running a tablet interface when being used as a tablet and running typical Windows when connected to a keyboard, mouse, or bigger display -- It's the device that becomes all things to all people, and that is pretty impressive. It also makes licensing easier - no need to buy an app for Android or iOS and one for Windows. So are we in the post-PC era? Probably since it has to share a dwindling piece of the tech pie with other devices. Will there always be a need for powerhouse workstations? Of course. And as my friend at a pharmaceutical company noted recently, "we have a $2 million computer in our lab and guess what logo comes up when you power it on; that's right, Windows."

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I tried the iPad and found it less than useful. I much prefer a PC with a keyboard and a mouse if I want to actually be productive. I agree with Deb that we will be using Windows-based PCs for many years to come. But maybe we are wrong. If you think we are, make your case for why the PC is a dying piece of technology and describe exactly what is replacing it.

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

Tablets are too EXPENSIVE for their LIMITED functionality. Tablets do have their uses but their price is prohibitive.

dogknees
dogknees

Try doing some serious 3D modelling and rendering of animations. You will use every CPU cycle and want MUCH more. No, not everyone needs this level of performance, but there are still a lot of us that have legitimate uses for it. I'm not a professional graphic designer, but it's one of my main hobbies. Just as a serious hobbyist woodworker will have professional level tools, a serious PC enthusiast needs serious performance.

rfolden
rfolden

Let's hope Canonical dies a slow and painful death. Much as it is already doing, if measured from a money making standpoint. Keep up the losses!

wyattharris
wyattharris

Nooooooo! lol I had a long love/hate relationship with Compaq. Good computers I just never liked the company and I remember when every manager was a Compaq diehard.

dogknees
dogknees

Though "personal use" does not mean basic use. For me a PC is a kind of universal device that I can apply to all sorts of problems or use in all sorts of interesting ways. This includes writing my own software, using it as a controller for external devices (CNC lathe), writing and recording music, 3D modelling and animation,.... And yes, consuming content of various kinds. These are personal uses that I and others put our PCs to. PCs are supposed to be general purpose and allow the user to apply them in any way they might imagine. Any real replacement must be able to meet at least the same standard.

rpollard
rpollard

You sound like a typical computer nerd. Must be related to Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor. You did use the term "use cases" so you are definitely not on the same wavelength as the typical user. A majority of the users out there want very simple and for their basic needs to be met. That's part of the reason for the success of iPad. You can't argue with Apple's success and what the majority of users want. But, you may be too technical to see that. BTW, I am an IT Director and have been in the IT industry for 30 years. I see both sides and understand why the tablets will get more popular and the PCs will get less popular. No, the PC isn't dead but it may be dying... BTW, the iPad 3 is rumored to have a 2048 x 1536 display. If this is the case would you buy one or you gonna hold on to your PC for extra ports and what not? It's not about proving to you that the tablet is better than the PC. It's about minimal effort with maximum benefit. If you can have the tablet up and running in seconds, check your portfolio, make some purchases and get back off before the PC gets booted and settled, why would you go to the PC to do the same thing? I'm offering the other side. I like the power of PCs but thought the other day that it would be nice to check on the stock market without having to wait on my laptop to boot. Way too much time and inconvenient so I didn't do it.

bboyd
bboyd

Since most writers talking about the demise of PC only use an office package and web interface Blog writing software they don't have a clue. I'd love the computers from 20 years ahead, maybe my CAD will do finite element analysis on the fly while I sketch out design, and even optimize my sketching for strength or manufacturing. I have programs that allow me to plan out robot paths for welding, maybe the planning could happen in other software or even self optimize. A full powered PC will always be on my desk.

sslevine
sslevine

I absolutely agree. And I will use my tablet anywhere to log into my sleek, slim powerful All-in-One desktop system, which I love, remotely with Citrix-based connectivity. I love my BIG screen and all the ports for various devices. Could a phone give me this experience? Do I want to be "docking" my phone, or tablet? Well, then it's a PC. Having a base station is just easier for people who do real work at a desk at home. I hope to virtualize all the desktop systems in my organization, at some point, to minimize configuration required and standardize the desktop experience. I don't see the PC going away, just morphing into a sleeker format.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

fixed it for you. (couldn't resist).. granted, these days tablets and phones are as much personal computers as clamshell and tower machines are so even if the keyboard and mouse are somehow replaced, we'll still be using PCs.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

It doesn't matter how high the resolution might be on the iPad 3, or the iPad 300 for that matter. The screen isn't going to get much, if any, BIGGER. None of these devices have a keyboard, if they have a physical keyboard at all, that's useful anything more than two-finger hunt and peck. Tablets are cool and very handy if all you want to do is consume information with little or no input, but they are next to useless for any serious creation of information. Clearly Microsoft isn't about to join the mourning over the PC, but I actually think "PC Plus" is the correct assessement.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Sure, there can be more stuff on a higher resolution screen, but if the screen itself is not any bigger, then all that stuff is that much smaller. You might have eyes that would make a spy satellite jealous now, but odds are you won't in a few years. If you still don't get it, wait a while. Or do you see the next big iAccessory as magnifying glass with a way to strap it in front of your eyes?

bill.tkach
bill.tkach

I always think back to Snowcrash when I visualize computers of the future. It will be a little black box, fit's in your pocket, and you choose the interface you want to use to view what it contains. You can select a big screen, or a fully immersive A/V helmet, or just a pair of high resolution glasses (you know like your grandma wears that block all the light, and make her look like some sort of crazy party person). Unfortunately, I don't see a smaller device, with more processing power than a workstation, entering the market anytime soon. Note, that, most of the devices now, DO provide most people with most of the processing power that they need to do their jobs right now, (Ie email, websurfing, typing up a document, creating a spreadsheet) The biggest problem is interaction. I think if tablets, could just be configured to interface with the monitor, keyboard, mouse, they would quickly replace a lot of desktops. You just need a good docking solution.

rpollard
rpollard

The screen's physical size doesn't have to grow for you to be able to see more on the screen. Thus the increase in resolution. Addressing your input concerns... I agree, they are not comfortable but neither was typing on a keyboard when I first started learning. We humans have a unique ability and that's to adapt to our surroundings. There are already mechanical keyboards for the iPad and I think if a person decided to commit to a tablet only, their mind would adapt and wonder what you ever did without it just as we did with the PC. It's all in the mind...

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