The PC is dead? Depends on the definition

Anthony Caruana
13 November, 2015
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In some widely reported comments, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said, “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC any more? No really, why would you buy one?”

That’s not especially surprising seeing as Apple is spruiking its all new iPad Pro, which is being touted having ‘PC-like performance’.

At the start of the decade, Cook’s predecessor Steve Jobs said something similar when he declared, “I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less (sic) people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long way.”

The trouble is – the definition of a personal computer has completely changed. For many people, their iPad is their computer.

Over recent weeks, Apple has faced some significant competition with the new Microsoft Surface devices. On the face of it, the new Surface Pro 4 can do pretty much everything the new iPad Pro can do, but has the benefit of a memory card slot, a ‘proper’ file system and costs a little less.  And the Surface comes with more storage options with as much as 512GB of storage whereas the iPad Pro is limited to 128GB.

Cook also said the Surface Pro’s sibling, the Surface Book is “sort of diluted” as “it’s trying to be a tablet and a notebook and it really succeeds at being neither”.

All of this reflects a new reality in the computer business – the lines between computer product segments are extremely blurry. Is the iPad Pro a tablet or a notebook? Equipped with a keyboard, albeit a removable one, the iPad Pro looks a lot like a notebook computer to me.

About the only product segmentation that makes any real sense today is portable versus non-portable. Almost everything else is marketing spin.

So, is the personal computer dead? The answer is a point blank ‘No’ in my opinion. Humans will use personal computers for many more decades – until we all have computer implants installed!

What will continue to change is how we define the personal computer.

6 Comments

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  1. Gary Mason says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the PC not being dead. I love my iPad and I love my iPhone, but I would go crazy if I had to try to do *everything* on one of them. At a pinch, I can do it all on my MacBook, but frankly, there are some things — particularly serious writing — that are most comfortably done on my full-size iMac sitting at a desk.

    I am extremely concerned at the apparently increasing tendency of Apple, under Tim Cook, to think it knows better than I do what my needs are. I *hate* that whenever I turn my iMac on, I have to dismiss, not once, but twice, a pop-up prompt trying to entice me to log on to the cloud. There is no way I can discover to stop this. Additionally, I have spent inordinate amounts of time trying to turn this off too, but *every* time I try to play a simple game of Solitaire on my iMac, I continue to be interrupted, intruded upon and distracted by a pop-up prompting me to connect to the Game Center, in which I have no interest whatsoever. Even when I dismiss the pop-up, a dialog interposes itself across the game interface welcoming me back! I have tried to trash the Game Center application, but a further pop-up tells me I can’t!

    Even if Apple cannot understand why any sane person would not want to embrace one of their innovations as eagerly as they do themselves, they really should ensure that there is a simple and obvious way to turn off *every* utility. Please!

  2. MikalG says:

    Steve started this prediction, and it is being repeated yet again ad nauseum. Steve also didn’t think a double button mouse, or a stylus had ANY (wrongly) future at all either. I assume that Apple means less savvy users who do not need comfort or raw power. Email and web surfing… sure. Anything serious; and you need more than Apples offerings. I prefer the Surface myself. Killing (Beats) competition by buying and shuttering used to be a MS tactic. Thanks to the Billions in cash (fairy): Apple has grown up to become a real corporation!

  3. Jamie says:

    We are Apple you will be assimilated.

    Apple no longer offer a lot of options to allow you to dismiss functionality eg. iCloud, Game Center, that they decree you should use.

    This is one of the reasons that my 2012 15″ MacBook Pro is now unused and sitting on a shelf, well that and the fact that it performs like an absolute pig running the latest version of OS X. When I spend almost $3000(NZ) on a laptop I expect it to last far longer than it has.

    And lets not even start on the complete dog that is iOS 9, even after the excessive number of updates that have been released its still buggy, slow and plain ugly to use. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t bought an iPhone 6 and had got an Android phone instead.

  4. Texan78730 says:

    I, too, was dragged kicking and screaming into ICloud…………..until the hard-drive on my IMac crashed.

    Everything was backed up to a Seagate external hard drive, but the new IMac didn’t want to talk to it, which is another story; it ended well.

    Within moments of my connecting the new IMac, my address book, 5,000 photos, calendar, etc. were installed on the new machine.

    Oddly, the new IMac was a dud. Apple locally replaced it. When I got home, there was everything all over on the new-new Mac!

    If you really don’t want it, and the machine(s) are under warranty, call Apple Care at 800-275-2273. Otherwise make an appointment (on line) with the Genius Bar at your local Apple store. They are, indeed, geniuses!

  5. Jamie says:

    I’ve already spoken to AppleCare (at length) and the best they can say is that “its a hardware issue” when clearly it is not. They said “we’ll send you out a replacement phone, we just need to charge it to your credit card”, I replied that this was not acceptable to me and that I would be starting proceedings under the NZ Consumer Laws to get a refund on the phone as it is a clear case of the product not being suitable for the purpose for which it is sold given the total unreliability of the phone and the attached services (iMessage, Siri and auto correct as examples).

    if we had Apple Stores in NZ I’d be there and not be leaving until the refund me my $1390 that the phone, AppleCare+ and case cost me but alas we don’t and I suspect I’ll get nowhere with this but it has certainly set in my mind that I will NOT be spending any more money on Apple equipment or services.

    Apple seem to simply not care and just want our dollars these days.

    If anyone can suggest how I can try and get a refund sorted I’d appreciate it as the barely English speaking person from AppleCare didn’t seem to know or care.

  6. Jamie says:

    Talked to yet another AppleCare person last night.

    They are refusing to refund and said I have to take the phone in to a repair agent to be checked.

    I will do this when I get the chance and if I then still have issues I will insist on a refund as this is covered under ‘fitness for purpose’ in NZ Consumer Laws

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