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.