Lots of retweets and links to this morning’s IDC report on the PC industry falling off a cliff in the first quarter — sales are down some 13% from the previous year. Stowe Boyd blogs that the analysts need to get over it, stop using words like “worrisome” and embrace the better world of cheap touch devices in this “Post-PC Era” that happens to coincide with the third birthday of the iPad.
“Personally, I think we should be cheering the transition to more convenient, lower-cost, gesture-based tablets. It’s not regrettable. But the IDC analysts are obviously rooting for the past, and we’re zooming into a future they don’t like much. I think they should side with the people shifting to tablets.”
Windows 8 and its lukewarm welcome is taking some of the blame. Not having upgraded myself I can’t bring myself to trash an OS that I haven’t played with, but I hear over and over that the upgrade is particularly frustrating on older, non-touch enabled PCs. In a talk I gave to the Cape Cod Technology Council last Friday morning, I led off with the obvious observation that the PC paradigm shift is the most massive upheaval the tech world has seen in thirty years, comparing the disruption of tablets on PCs to what Wikipedia did to the Encyclopedia Britannica ….. an analogy Stowe cites as well.
It’s not an all-or-nothing transition. PCs are not going to become the typewriters of tomorrow. The advantages of large screen/awesome keyboard composition will prevail. My microprocessor and storage might one day live in my phone which I’ll snap into a desktop cradle and wirelessly connect to a bluetooth full size keyboard/mouse and a big flat panel display, but as far as I’m concerned the PC experience comes down to the size of the screen and the awesomeness of the keyboard. The box itself — whether it is a clamshell laptop, a Yoga multidevice like the Surface, an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard or a big tower I built myself from parts bought off of Newegg — is irrelevant. Not to the companies that make them of course, but the “paradigm” of sitting in front of a monitor and banging on keys will remain the same for all professionals. Touch is nice for consuming, but hell on creating.