The PC era is just beginning

The PC era is just beginning

Summary: The debate over whether there is a "post-PC" era underway overlooks the actual definition of the term. Taken literally, the "personal computer" era is just beginning.

TOPICS: Hardware, Apple

Updated: Steve Jobs kicked off a lively discussion with his assertion that a "post-PC" era was beginning due to the iPad. The statement was made to strike home what I think is Jobs' belief that many iPad owners are discovering that they do not need a PC (personal computer) to do what they need as they can do it on an iPad.

This triggered lots of debates about the validity of his statement, and if in fact the post-PC era is a real thing or not. I believe the debate is really as much about the terminology as anything. If you look at the real definition of PC, a personal computing era is only beginning.

The original PC was appropriately dubbed as it was designed to free us from the tether to the big iron computers of the time. Instead of dumb terminals connected to massive computers running in an artificially cooled room, the PC was a self-contained computer that let us run whatever programs were available, without any additional hardware required.

The term PC stuck for years because we embraced this liberation from big iron. Buy a PC, take it home and do things without an IT specialist's involvement. It wasn't so much  the actual personal computer we found liberating, it was the break-away from the computer room that was appealing.

I have always stated that I believe mobile computing is the most personal of methods we have ever employed with computers, no matter their form. There is nothing more "personal" than doing stuff with a mobile gadget as held in the hand. The user has a relationship with the computer because it is held personally in the hand, with the display (no matter what size) very close to the face. This is true "personal computing", and millions have discovered the compelling nature of its use.

The "post-PC" era implies that all computers are going away, to be replaced by mobile technology in whatever form. Given the true "personal" nature of mobile technology as experienced using smartphones and tablets, I believe a PC (personal computer) era is just beginning. We need to rethink what we call a PC, as this technology is indeed very personal. It is only going to grow as many exposed to the benefits realize this type of handheld computing is all they need, and that they really like doing it this way.

The legacy "PC" will still be on many desktops for quite some time, but the true "personal computer" is going to multiply faster than any computing segment in history. Users identify with personal technology, and this is the very definition of personal as millions are discovering every day.

Image credit: Flickr user Sam Howzit

Topics: Hardware, Apple

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  • RE: The PC era is just beginning

    <i>"If you look at the real definition of PC, a personal computing era is only beginning."</i>

    Rich Miles
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      @Rich Miles You are correct. The following stats and information show the real story about PC's from respected sources and with up-to-date information. These are facts.

      How many computers are there in the world?
      According to Gartner Dataquest's statistics, in April 2002
      the billionth personal computer was shipped.
      The second billion mark was supposedly reached in 2007.
      But how many computers are actually in use? According to
      a report by Forrester Research, there were
      over one billion PCs in use worldwide by the end of 2008.

      And with PC adoption in emerging markets growing fast,
      it is estimated that there will be more than two billion PCs in use by 2015, Forrester predicts.
      Therefore, whereas it took 27 years to reach the one billion mark, it will take only 7 to grow from 1 billion to 2 billion.

      Updated Stats Sep 8, 2011

      Sep 14, 2011
      Many of those will have the new low power Intel chips:
  • RE: The PC era is just beginning

    The post-iPad era is just beginning.
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      @iluvmsft How do you figure that exactly? Windows 8? Sure it looks like a decent tablet OS but let's see what happens when it is released in the wild.
    • I think Jobs simply meant...

      that the need for the desktop pc, Macs included, will diminish a lot just like it has since the iPhone was released and Apple showed the world how a smartphone should be built.
      • Yet, for Apple, Macs will be part of the support network called &quot;iCloud&quot;,

        which then renders Jobs prognostication, pure silliness. A Mac, is a PC from Apple, and Apple will need to sell a lot of those PCs in order to have it's iCloud infrastructure perform as advertised.
  • RE: The PC era is just beginning

    +1000000. Exactly and Precisely.
    Ram U
  • RE: The PC era is just beginning

    PCs are dying because of iPad because not every one need to do all those stuffs a PC can do besides, iPad will give you a much longer battery life than a PC can. So this is a post-pc era in other words iPad era
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      @shellcodes_coder iPad is a PC
      • Yes, and no....

        @explodingwalrus <br>iPad is a "child" pc that requires an "adult" pc to grow up.<br><br><img border="0" src="" alt="wink">
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      @shellcodes_coder <br>What part of iPad is not PC tell me? iPad is a type of "Tablet PC", look for PC in the "Tablet PC". <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a></a>
      Ram U
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      iPad is an extra portable yet limited PC shaped as a tablet.

      I love my iPad, use it at least 2-3 hours each day.
      Yet, once Windows 8 is out - I am going to get one and then I can work with my Excel files more easily (can't do it on an iPad), do some Photoshop work and even develop code with it (although I rarely do that these days...).

      PC will continue to exist. No Doubt.
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      @shellcodes_coder Did you even bother to read the article or just breeze through the headline? The iPad IS - using the strictest definition of a PC aka Personal Computer - a PC.
      • RE: The PC era is just beginning

        @Pete "athynz" Athens skimmed it ... as usual.
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning

      @shellcodes_coder My PC's battery has never run out because it doesn't have one. Derp!
    • RE: The PC era is just beginning


      An iPad is not capable of doing everything my PC does. A high end iPad can't do what a similarly priced PC can do.

      An iPad, or tablet, or smart phone, or laptop cannot replicate the desktop PC experience or capabilities.
  • What's the capital of Norway?

    Resistance is futile. If you don't have a 6G radio implanted in your head by 2025, such that you can Google stuff in your brain, you won't be able to compete.
    Robert Hahn
    • Google won't be able to execute their master plan until the year 3001

      @Robert Hahn

      Mankind's great authority on future technological possibilities, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, postulated that your 2025 brain implant technology won't become practical until much later.

      In one of his books, he envisions Earth of 3001 and describes one notable feature for that future time, the BrainCap. Clarke's BrainCap concept encompasses a brain-computer interface technology with interfaces computers directly with the human brain.

      However, you might be right, Robert, in your timeline since it has become widely known inside ZDNet that the evil alliance of Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer formed an initiative designed to enslave humanity by first dividing brother against brother, sister against sister, neighbor against neighbor in an ideological OS battle before their "One BrainCap to rule them all" technology is ready and can be marketed as Humanities great unifying force.

      Or ... maybe not. Grin.
      • RE: The PC era is just beginning

        @kenosha7777 Wasn't that part of "Spongebob: The Movie"
  • This is what I have and use...

    I have a 27" iMac and an iPhone 4. I also own an original XBox 360. I use EyeTV and watch Netflixs and what I can't find there TV and Movies off of iTunes. No cable except for the modem that is:). I also play my XBox on that nice 27" wide screen off of my iMac. So all my tech/entertainment needs are met on my current desktop machine. My iPhone takes care if me when I'm mobile. That said I've been watching tablets very closely and waiting for I can envision. A day when the right tablet set up with enough power and the right set of apps could in theory at least someday retire my two systems and shoe horn them into one. Now mind you it will NOT be an exact copy of what I have now like my current system is nothing like my old stereo syste
    , tube TV with a heft monthly cable bill, a PC just fir games and a Mac for everything else but things change. Beside you are correct a tablet (iPad), a smartphone (iPhone), as well as a laptop or desktop are in fact all computers and very personal:)

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn