The PC is dead. That’s what they’ve been saying for 15 years or so, with every new console generation and every fad product that has its short time in limelight, but here I am tapping away on one in roughly the same manner I have for years, the screen’s just a little bigger and I have a nice mechanical keyboard to do it on. However, new data from American data firm IDC, has highlighted a sharp decline in “PC” sales, suggesting that the long standing industry isn’t as healthy as it used to be.
The hard facts are that while the IDC initially predicted a PC market drop off of 1.3 per cent, in fact it fell away by a much higher 7.8 per cent. Part of this has been put down to changing usage habits, with people performing a lot of functions on their smartphones or on newly purchased tablets. Then there’s the fact that desktop and laptop PCs, which are still powerhouses compared to many handsets, are capable of performing more intensive tasks, even if they’re a few years old. Sure you’ll need to keep up to date if you’re a PC gamer that likes playing highly intensive games like Crysis 3, but that’s not something more than a few million people strive for. The rest chug along for a few years before upgrading. Hell my gaming system is about four years old at this point and with a hefty overclock it can run almost anything without a stutter.
However, you can’t really say PCs are dying, without saying what in-fact a PC is, which is where there’s a bit of a disparity. By the IDC’s standards, it’s desktops and anything else with a screen size over 16 inches. Any flat screen piece of tech that’s between 16 and seven inches, is a tablet. This of course ignores the fact, that in reality, the tablet is a PC in almost every fashion you might expect. Similarly, Apple designed laptops and desktops and those with Linux operating systems, they’re all PCs too.
If you take those ideas into consideration, you could quite easily suggest that the PC market is exploding, with more people than ever making use of personal computers. Sure we aren’t all doing it with a big box under the desk any more, but everyone uses a computer now and they’re all quite powerful.
Really, the PC isn’t dying. Like a phoenix it’s being reborn in the flames of a new hardware revolution. There will be desktops and laptops for some time to come, for those that need power or uniformity: gamers, editors, photo manipulators, accountants. The rest though, will be able to surf the web, email and chat with friends on their handsets and tablets and that’s fine, because that’s all they were doing on their “PC” before any way.
And hey, you never know, when the next big technological advancement comes along – virtual reality perhaps? – maybe they’ll all come flocking back to the desktop, where the real power lies.
KitGuru Says: The concept of what a PC might be will always change as we find new uses for it, but we’re far beyond the days where people didn’t use personal computers in their every day lives. Because of this, PCs will never die.[Thanks Forbes]