Post PC My Ass

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handyman315

This might have been one of the articles that sent Gordon on a post-PC-crap vent yesterday:

http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/14/technology/windows_8_pc/index.htm

But I prefer to think that we're actually in a pre-post-Apple era:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/14/tech/mobile/apple-bans-app/index.html

Maybe that thought will cheer up Gordon today!  d:-})

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handyman315

Gordon has the distinct ability to speak his mind in the face of overwhelming jabbering by the general media. He has been a steady read thru all the Apple-mania.

Gordon has been my hero for at least six years even though I am reasonably sure I am old enough to be his grandfather.

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MleB

The continued vagaries of cloud computing (security, access, stability, company reliability) and the real need for Apple's precious iWhatevers to sync with their iTunes on a 'real' computer to accomplish any real work suggest that PCs aren't going anywhere soon.

Heck, for that matter, it could be that the rest will disappear in favour of technology cannabalized from them and brought to the PC - I'm thinking along the lines of the instant-on and solid state (and roughly same footprint of an iPad) 11" Mac Air, here. Who needs a companion device when a PC can do it all roughly the same size?

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Holly Golightly

I feel that both form factors can coexist. But they have to be on extreme opposites.

Desktops are all about the raw power. This is why video editing professionals use them, and why hardcore PC Gamers prefer them. Tablets are all about portability and efficiency. The tablet can be your outside computer while your desktop is your personal home computer. 

With tablets fresh onto the market, I see some of my classmates already using them. They have a battery advantage against the laptop. To be honest with you, I think the laptop form will go away with the Dodo Bird. They have the worst of both worlds. You have to be stationed to use it (like a desktop) and has limited screen space and power (like a tablet) so what's the point in having a laptop when you can get the best of both worlds? Laptops were cool like flip phones were cool. The clam shells of the 1990s. So laptops look seriously dated.

Tablets have a long time to replace computers of course. First off, the size of their drive. 64GB is simply is not enough. You are going to need atleast 256GB for mainstream use. Windows is the key to adaption of course. Everything runs on Windows. The survey is true indeed.

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phoenixjc

"To be honest with you, I think the laptop form will go away with the Dodo Bird. They have the worst of both worlds. You have to be stationed to use it (like a desktop) and has limited screen space and power (like a tablet) so what's the point in having a laptop when you can get the best of both worlds? Laptops were cool like flip phones were cool. The clam shells of the 1990s. So laptops look seriously dated."

 

I read this and immediately facepalmed with a handful of rusty nails, and it was less painful.  I don't know where you get your laptops from (presumably the 90's,) but if you compare any laptop that costs the same as a tablet ($400 range), the laptop is much more powerful.  Spend a bit more and you will have a laptop computer that has similar power to an average desktop.  A laptop can be used as a desktop replacement (as we do at the corporation I work for), unlike a tablet. 

Take a look at those kids that have tablets in your school.  Are they actually using them for school work?  My guess is they spend way more time playing angry birds and watching youtube vids than typing up notes on them.

As for the stationary thing, umm...what?  OK, you can hold a tablet with one hand and walk around and do stuff on it.  But try this for me, take a tablet, or a tablet stand in (you can use a book, sheet of paper, etc.) and put it in front of your face.  Of course wait until you are in a public place with a bunch of people.  Now that you are "using" your tablet, go for a walk while using your tablet.  I am guessing that you don't make it too far before you wind up eating your tablet.

There are more points you make that are unsubstantiated, but I think this is enough for now.  You really should research your material before posting, especially when you are arguing against what it is this article was written about, even if you don't realize it.

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Holly Golightly

But why buy a laptop when you can buy a more powerful desktop or a more portable tablet. Of course you have to be stationed to use a laptop. By "stationed" I mean sitting down on a chair or laying down on the bed to use a laptop. In a crowded subway or bus, chances are, you are not going to have a seat. So standing up while using a tablet is much easier than standing up in a crowded train, while people are standing shoulder to shoulder, as you hold the laptop on one hand, and type with the other. In otherwords. Laptops are inconveinent when it comes to mobility.

Laptops will NEVER have the raw processing power of a desktop. If they even came close to it, you get crappy battery life and a laptop that weighs about as much as a new born... 9 pounds. So why would one want to bother with a heavy portable device that they can not use while on the go? It just makes more sense to use the desktop at home while using the tablet outside.

I bet your firm has to keep their laptops charging in order to use them, because they can not last 8 hours straight. Plus, I would never trust my employees with a laptop. Laptops in the work place are like big targets for sabotage. The employee can take them home and place all the trade secrets onto their own personal computer. At least with a desktop, it would be too heavy to take with them. And some desktops now come with USB locks. So again, why bother with a useless medium? Tablets will replace laptops no doubt. If I need to do some heavy video editing hardcore game play, I go to my much power desktop at home. 

As for the add-ons, they are not required to use. If you want to use a bluetooth keyboard, then fine. If you want a tablet stand... That is fine too. They seem to be popular by choice, but I don't really see much of a purpose for it either. Tablets are fine they way they are. Plus, you do not need a laptop or a tablet for college. Most of the notes require pen and paper to draw out the graphs or formulas that can not be easily done on both platforms. Still, I'd rather have a desktop with a tablet than a laptop anytime. So you know what to do with your facepalm with rusty nails... Shove it!

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bling581

"But why buy a laptop when you can buy a more powerful desktop or a more portable tablet."

Despite a tablet being slightly more portable, a laptop is still superior in productivity. In the business world and for students portability and productivity are both top priorities. If cost is not an issue you can find some pretty thin notebooks that would be close to carrying a tablet. To me a tablet is just a giant smart phone, they're only good for casual web browsing, playing games and other miscellaneous activities.

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Holly Golightly

That is even worse. Why would you want to buy a laptop that is a weak as a tablet at a price of a desk top. For that I can buy 2 computer. A good $1,000 gaming desktop and a WiFi-only tablet. It is like getting the best of both worlds. Since ultra portables perform equally to a tablet, with the old school form of clam-shells, I feel buying an ultra slim laptop is by-far the biggest rip off money can buy. I mean, sure they look nice, but many people want something they can use while on the go, and handle all of the tasks they throw at it. I say, the future of the tablet is going to look strong the moment we see quad-core tablets running Windows 8. We may even see them next year... Who knows?

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bling581

"Tablets are all about portability and efficiency."

Portability yes, efficiency not likely. Define which aspects of computing a tablet does more efficient than a PC. Most activities are much faster on a PC due to the ease of using a keyboard and mouse and the raw power over portable devices.

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Holly Golightly

By efficiency, I meant by power consumption. If there is one thing tablets are good at is saving battery power. On average, they run from 7 hours to 10 hours. You just can't get this kind of specs with laptops... At least not yet. Still, I rather be on a desktop any time. To me, laptops are now a useless medium.

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Vernak

Having worked IT support when the iPad first launched, I distinctly remember laughing when people complained to me that the absolute first thing they had to do with their fancy, new "computer replacement" is to plug it into any applicable machine running iTunes.  The inherent "go find a real PC, jackass" in that methodology just helps solidify my opinion that tablets are simply evolution and not revolution.

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SkykingUSA

Gordon for President!

I feel like you represent the middle aged demographic at MPC because you were around during the early days of personal computing and are mature enough to draw meaningful conclusions about what you see and hear.  I definitely most relate to your viewpoints at the magazine and hope you stick around for a long time.

Keep up the awesome podcasts too bud.

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Baer

This article is right on. I have a smartphone, a Notebook, a Tablet and my highpowered desktop PC. I would not want to try to be without my smartphone and my desktop PC. I could do without the notebook but I would not like it but I can easily live without the tablet. I can see tablets eventually taking some of the notebook market but that's about it.

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wluffman

Gordon, you nailed it!

Netbooks were a fad, and today are a niche market at best.  Tablets are not a fad, they are a trend; but not one that will replace full-featured PCs. 

By their very design, tablets are limited in their functionality.  Small screens, very limited expansion, and portable keyboards for tablets aren't anywhere near as suitable for heavy use as even the "chicklet" keyboards on many notebooks.  What tablets do have going for them is a degree of portability that desktops, notebooks and even netbooks cannot match.

I'm a senior citizen (or so I'm told) and will probably buy a tablet at some point because it is both portable and good enough for casual web-surfing and reading e-mail.  I'll add the best keyboard/case I can find, but the tablet won't replace either my desktop or notebook anytime soon; instead, it will become a third computing device in my life that serves a particular purpose.  A 7- or 10-inch screen just isn't going to cut it for serious computing, and neither will any keyboard I have seen that is designed for tablets, no matter how powerful the tablet itself may become.

FWIW, I don't use a smartphone either (I downgraded from a Blackberry some time ago, both too expensive and much less usable than I had hoped), but might consider upgrading from my current featurephone instead of adopting a tablet.  More likely, I'll end up with both devices at some point, carrying the smartphone all the time and using the tablet when I want/need the larger screen but don't want to carry or unpack the notebook.

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Engelsstaub

Post PC does not mean desktop obsolescence or "no PC" any more than Post Print means that nobody will ever buy or use another book.

It doesn't matter how pundits spin it or how journos "get" it. The very fact that Apple sells and updates its computers makes it more than obvious what Jobs meant. (I thought it was pretty obvious anyway.) 

Tablets have brought a "post PC" era in that they make it now possible to do many of the things that we used to need the desktop to accomplish. Jobs likening the PC to a truck seems to me spot-on. One needs a truck to do serious work. Day to day shit can be done with a Prius or something. We need not be seated at our desks to surf the web or consume content.

Simple, really. It doesn't matter what OS you roll with: OS X, Linux, or Maximum Windows. (Or if you're like me--all three.) The PC/desktop is here to stay in spite of devices that supplement it.

I completely agree with anyone who says a tablet should not be considered a PC. I've not seen a tablet that could ever replace a desktop or a laptop. Not for my personal use anyway.

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szore

Gordon is on fire!

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noobstix

If my Zune can do half of the stuff I do on my PC, then maybe I could eventually live without a PC.  But for now, I'm part of the 83%.

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Holly Golightly

Man, I am with you on that one. I love my Zune HD and everytime I think, man, I would love to see a Zune Tablet. Same great looks of the Zune HD with larger screen real estate and larger sized hard drive. Man, Zune OS over any of the other Microsoft Metro UI any day of the week. So I will stick to my PC and rent movies and play songs on my Zune HD.

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chop_slap

Well said.

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Gezzer

I guess it's all about form factor.

As far as I know the term Personal Computer was meant to mean one that was a "single user" local system with the ablity to run programs instead of the more classic server/dumb terminal setup. Well then anything using a CPU and having some sort of user IO is pretty much a PC I would think, What leaves things like E-books and consoles out of the definition is the inablity to run user programs.

I think some of the confusion is due to those PC vs. Mac ads that use to run. That's not to say the term PC wasn't a bit generic to start with but those Apple ads really helped muddied the water further. I guess calling it a PC instead of "a single user x86 CPU desktop system running Windows OS" was easier. But the generic nature of the term sure helped Apple distort the truth as well.

Like someone else said the "classic" PC form factor is getting close to market saturation if not already there. It's currently more of an upgrade market for desktops, while any new gee whizz form factors still have a lot of potential first time buyers. I think that eventually every household will have a number of different PC form factors and buying patterns will follow longer upgrade cycles then they have before. So desktops sales might dip and even flaten out but the classic desktop really won't dissapear. It has too many advantages over the more portable versions of PCs.

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MaximumMike

When Apple made the MAC vs PC commercials, MAC's were running on the x86 architecture, and thus were PC's themselves. It would have been like Toyota running a Prius vs Car commercial. And yes, early thoughts of PC's were of the notion of personalized devices for the home as opposed to mainframes, supercomputers and other much larger (and more common at the time) computers. But since the inception of the x86 architecture, the word PC has been exclusively reserved for that architecture. That was, until Apple's marketing department showed up and decided to redefine technical terminology.

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MaximumMike

Good article. Dead on.

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brettofamerica

The only thing tablets could ever possibly replace are laptops as long as there are people like us who build our own computers around...

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Slugbait

Just two short years ago, many of these same analysts claimed that netbooks were cannibalizing the PC market. Not only were the analysts wrong back then as well, but the only real news you hear about netbooks these days is that middle and high schools are handing them out to students at low or no cost.

Before that, it was notebooks destroying the desktop PC. Before that, it was laptops.

So now they're all singing about how mobile operating systems from Apple and Google are scaring Microsoft into getting into the capacitive touch game with Windows 8...which won't be released for another year. And of course, the key UI change is Metro...hmm.

Which leads to the obvious question: why didn't MS jump into the PCT tablet game a year ago by doing the exact same thing Apple and Google did, and modify their WP7 mobile OS to run on tablets? After all, it would have taken just a few months effort to allow other resolutions and a couple of other minor capabilities, the OS is already capable of super-low system specs, and therefor they'd have a direct competitor two years earlier than the current plan.

Answer: just like portable devices that came before it, the tablet is a fad. In other words, MS isn't all that worried about the "post-PC world".

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Kinetic

Saying the PC is obsolete because a phone or tablet can emulate a PC, is like saying digital cameras are obsolete because your phone or tablet has a camera on the back of it.

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Baer

Really well said!!

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ShyLinuxGuy

I think tablets will be deployed more often than PCs in school environments, maybe at or near 100% in some schools. I think that it will replace textbooks and notebooks (as in the writing kind). Tablets may be used at a higher percentage in the home, but that's about it. They might see some use in the enterprise, like maybe one for every 75-100 PCs, if anything.

I know something for sure: There may come a time where I may ditch my desktop for a laptop, but I will never use a tablet as a primary device. It's impossible. Laptops have come a long way, and are more advantageous than a tablet will be, besides portability, which I can care less about.

Generally speaking (for the main market), I think tablets are going to go the way of netbooks. Look at the TouchPad, then look and see if sales will increase when Windows 8 comes out (supposedly a tablet-friendly OS)...right now, the iPad is the common denominator.

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TommM

I think someuid said it best.  Whenever you hear these claims of PC's dying or PC gaming dying, the person/group making the claims has a vested interested in saying exactly that to promote whatever their product is.

I can't be bothered with stupid surveys and analyists.

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someuid

I think we're spinning our wheels here, Gordon.  I agree with you - PCs are not dead and won't be for a long time, if ever.

When I hear someone saying "we're in a post pc world" they are almost always a person who's career or job depends on yearly % increases in sales.  They don't care about an installed base.  They just want an increase every year over last year in sales.

PCs have saturated the market.  This is good because it proves what we all know - it is the Primary Tool For The Job At Hand.

But these clowns don't care.  They don't get paid bonuses for the size of the installed base. They get bonuses for showing their boss "we sold x% more than last year."

And the only place they can get those numbers are in new devices like phones, netbooks and tablets.  Hence, all the hoopla they drive, declaring the PC dead and these devices as the New Utopia, with sole purpose of driving sales and increasing their chances for a nice bonus at the end of the year.

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DasHellMutt

Yes! Gordon rants in text format!

 

As usual, I totally agree with Gordon. The force is strong with that one. How bout another podcast?

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devin3627

shiz pc gaming went to hell.

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Marthian

then you have not played a lot of PC games. sure, many games are ported, but some of them are actually very well ported. In addition, there is still plenty of PC exclusive games coming out, you just aren't really looking.

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crazitrain02

Trying playing BF3 on a tablet, let me show you how quickly you die :)

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phoenixjc

Amen Gordon.  I love how you point out that iPads are only considered "PC's" when it boosts Apples' sales figures.  I think that a lot of these so called technology journalists don't truely understand the technology they are covering.  I consider my smartphone a computer that I keep in my pocket.  Technically it is a personal device, and when you look at the term Personal Computer, it fits. So a smartphone is a PC as well (if we generalize the term and use it as it was intended in 1984).

I have to agree with the study, PCs aren't going to be going anywhere anytime soon.  I think in order for that to happen, we will either need tablets to provide an easier-to-use input method that is as accurate as a keyboard, or a large scale coronal mass ejection that fries all electronic devices on the planet.  But only one of those senarios is likely to happen in the next decade...I'll let you figure out which one.

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nsvander

I will never get rid of my PC, it can do things that a tablet just can't do yet, and will probably never be able to do.  One of the main draw backs is the screen is just too damn small, I have twin 24" that I use for everyday use, and then output to my 42" when I watch movies.  The idea of having to have an external harddrive, and then attaching that to a tablet, to watch a movie on my TV is just not a doable thing for me.  When and if they ever figure out a way to make a tablet with 3TB of storage built in, and HDMI with digital audio out, I might consider that move.

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Mechayoshi

PC still beats everything in every catagory other than portability.

 

Nuff said.

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Tenhawk

Absolutely not.

I make my living off my home PC. No tablet is going to replace my three monitor setup with my DasKeyboard. Ever. Hell, a laptop can't match my home system. Never will either. It's not about miniturization, it's about easy of use and comfort in the long term.

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Coldrage

Agreed, I'm still using a Q6600 OCed to 4.0GHz, plays todays games just fine...chips nearly 5 years old.

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