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Description: This year, over one billion internet-enabled devices will be sold globally with less than one third of those devices being laptop or desktop computers.


Date: April 5, 2012

While PC sales have continued to grow for over three decades, the PC era reached its zenith just prior to the introduction of the Nokia 9000 smartphone in 1996. The Nokia device was significant because, although it was not the first smartphone, it was the first commercially successful non-PC consumer device which could harness the power of the internet.

From 1996 to 2007, the smartphone was still a relative novelty, while the PC reigned supreme. During that period, PC users bought more computers and discovered the router, which enabled them to share their internet connection across multiple home computers. Early home networks typically consisted of an internet modem, a router, and two or more PCs. If you were really advanced, your network might also include a networked printer and wireless connectivity so you could extend file sharing and internet access to you laptop.  Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is the PC era of computing in decline? Why?
    2. If the PC era is over, what era are we entering? Why?

28 Responses to “The post-PC world is real and it’s here”

  1. Tom Moore

    I believe that the PC era of computing is on the decline, but it is no way going anywhere anytime soon. Computers now have more than enough power to do almost every day to day task and will still be the main device in the home or office. With cloud computing in the mix it will only be a short amount of of time before all personal data will be stored on multiple devices instead of just on a PC. People will be able to make use of all their devices for different purposes. I still believe it will still be quite some time before the PC actually becomes less prominent in home and business computing than tablet and smartphone computing.

    Although smartphone sales are projected to almost double the sales of PC’s this year there are compatibility issues that will make work on a PC more effective. For example, if you were a professional photo editor you would most likely edit your photos on a program like photoshop instead of a tablet. Many smartphones and tablets do not have the processing power yet to do certain demanding tasks that only a PC can do. In a couple of years I am sure this will change, but until then the PC era of computing will still be around.

  2. Laura

    In the article “The post-PC world is real and it’s here” we are faced with the issue that if perhaps that PCs will soon be a thing of the past. I think that yes, it may be declining, but it will not be replaced anytime soon by this new spread of connective devices. I do not believe that PCs will ever be completely replaced due to the fact that work purposes are not extremely convenient typing on a tiny keyboard. Most university student do not probably write their essays on their smartphone, for instance. With cloud computing, it will be easy to use both the PC and smartphone interchangeably. It is also very difficult to store large amounts of data on a smartphone, especially video files or thousands of songs. No phone has the capabilities of a full desktop PC or laptop, for both software and space aspects. I don’t think we are entering the extinction of the PC era, but more of a mix between the two. E-mail and the like are handy to be sent from a smartphone, but there are just some things that are done on PCs that aren’t feasibly done on a smartphone. Who knows where we are headed, but I think we are a long way from phasing out PCs and Macs.

  3. Carlos Villacres

    The post-PC world is real and it’s here;

    The post-PC era it’s here? is definitely true, one of the big example of that situation is the record in sales of the new Ipad 3 this year, just in one month the sales of this apple device obtain incomes that can be compared with the total amount of the Spain public debt (Europe country in crisis). But the post-Pc have a strategic ally, the cloud computing, all this devices such as Smartphone’s, tablets, iPods, and more couldn’t be so successful without the cloud computing technology, because in order for replace the desktop or personal computers which have more capacity of store data, the devices of the new era have this advantage that can give an opportunity to the customers in don’t mind about this point when they have to make a choose. Another advantage is the wireless connection, now have a wireless connection in the houses with 10 or more devices using the same network is normal, Childs using for play their consoles games online, parents using laptops or teenager using their iPods or Smartphone by the same network connection. The desktop and personal computers can never be replace at all, but in the statistics can be decreasing more and more.

  4. XiaoYu Li

    i believe in the current period which users from table to hand. from PC to Smartphone. While smartphones from Nokia, RIM, HP and Microsoft had been around for over a decade, the introduction of two Apple devices in 2007 marked the next big change。 and 2011 iphone bring icloud to market increase the post pc trend. in the PC era, Closely linked to virtualization is the cloud. The amount of digital content that each user is consuming is growing, and the trend is to store and manage this content away from the device and download it only when needed. This trend is set to continue, with every aspect of our digital lives being stored and managed online. The current solutions aren’t yet perfect. Storage is limited. Bandwidth can be a hampering factor and, of course, Add in services related to the data stored (like photos, music etc) and you have the cloud. More storage, more services, greater expectations.

  5. Fehren Tuttle

    In the article “The post-PC world is real and it’s here”, I do believe that PC’s are on the decline because Apple works much better! I would never trade my Apple for anything and I feel as though many people will agree. Also, many people are using non – laptops like iPad’s and smartphones because everything is so integrated now that it is easy to use a cloud operation and use any device you might have. Also, the fact that non-PC’s are easier to maneuver and take with you anywhere why wouldn’t you use one of these other and better options? Regarding, the era we have become to know would be the Apple/Smartphone/ and Cloud computing era. This is because in this era we can go anywhere and have our information and activities with us where ever we go. By accessing a cloud all of our devices can then have our important documents at our fingertips. Also, now that Apple has become a leader in computing again, they have developed their own cloud where everything can be accessed even a PC. If you look at a PC this usually cannot be done because they really only see Apple as competition making it harder for users to bring together their favorite devices.

  6. Ben

    I do not believe that we are in a post PC world for many reasons. The first being that desktop and laptop computers have been around for quite a while now so many people have purchased and are using these devices for personal and business uses; the lap top being for more mobile situations and convenience. Now when these new products come out like smart phones and tablets people already have their PCs so there is no need to purchase other ones until they are obsolete are broken but you will buy the new products because you don’t have those yet. I don’t know anyone that has fully replaced there PC’s with these new products. How many people do you know who have thrown away their computer and now write there papers on their smart phone or tablet? Indeed companies sales of these products will continue to grow and maybe even surpass PC’s but that is because companies are trying to expand and compete in new markets, gain market share and create new valuable products. There not trying to push out the products that they have made billions of dollars selling already but rather get you to buy more of their products.

  7. Deidre Goral

    There is no doubt that the popularity of PC’s is on the decline but I wouldn’t yet label it as a “post-pc” world. I think this might be a little exaggerated. Almost everyone I know still has and actively uses a laptop or desktop computer and while I like the portability and ease of my iphone, it certainly isn’t a replacement for my two laptops. We are still using pc’s for the original purposes they were designed for; document production, saving documents, printing etc. Pc’s over the years have decreased in price but are still quite expensive. Cell phones, on other hand, can very economical when you can pay for them through a cell phone plan over an extended period of time. I do think that in order for PC’s to remain competitive in the market, they need to come down even further in price and essentially offer more, for less. I’m not of the belief that they will become completely obsolete and many still rely on them for various tasks but their role in our lives is changing. The smartphone market is here to stay and PC manufacturers have to find new and innovative ways to compete with them in the long term to stay competitive.

  8. Darren H

    “The post-PC World is real and it’s here”

    I would like to think that the PC world is not over. Sure there are a lot of user friendly and more convenient products out on the market that can do the job of a PC, but what is the quality like? Now when you look at the new Apple iPad or a Samsung or Toshiba tablet they are impressive machines. They have email, and Google, games, social networking, movies and music; all the qualities of a PC. I think that these tablets would be idea for university classes so you can download textbooks and take notes during class, but for bigger projects I would much prefer having a PC to do the job.

    With that being said, walking around university this semester and attending classes, lot of students and teachers have opted to use the tablet for their class needs rather than using a PC. It makes sense; it is lighter, more compact, doesn’t take up much space on the desks or tables used for lectures and has all the capabilities a laptop would have. Though that tablets and handhelds are on the rise I think it is a little bit premature to say that we are living in a post-PC world. There are still a number of uses for PCs and their time in the technological world is not up just yet.

  9. Jonathan Mpere

    I think we are still in a pc era but not a post pc era because none of all this newly developed devices would have been in existence without the introduction of the pc. More so looking at the sale of pc globally tells you the vital role of pc in the development of other devices. There is no doughty that Smartphone’s has taking the other of the day, yet there are certain functions that Smartphone’s cannot play or be fully utilized, An example could be opening files as an attachment that are not compatible with Smartphone’s or better still saving huge file that phones cannot do it. Technology has tried to integrate all this newly devices to compact with each other yet there has not been a breakthrough in doing that. The two rivals Microsoft and Apple try to make their devices compatible with each other but unfortunately what do we see, in my own experience, did some work on Apple laptop and try to open the file in Microsoft and everything was disorganized the way I saved it. I am still saying that we are not in post PC era in a sense that, most PC’s are used as Severs in various homes, work places, public places and other multibillion institutions around the word that allows information to be transmitted efficiently.

  10. steven osmond

    People still want their own pc computer. There are other ways of doing anything that a pc can do but sometimes it’s just nice to have that big box in front of you to get your work done. The computer sales market has grown immensely over the last decade to satisfy all those things we wished our computer could do for us when we are not sitting in front of it. This is evident by the market saturation of devices around us, which use networks. These items, at least in my mind, are toys for the most part. While the business world still needs a more traditional computer to do its work, people have found smaller more portable devices they can use to supplement what laptops and desktops can do for them. Do we need a hand held portable device to check our e-mail everywhere we go? No, most of us don’t. We just use a nearby computer. Do we need a smart fridge to cool our water and tell us that we need to buy milk? No, but it is fun and people find these items trendy and cool. As a student of 4 years I have never owned a smart phone, game console, or any other device until recently an have always been able to complete the work I needed for my schooling

  11. adrian sackey

    In the article “The post PC World is Real and it’s here”, the argument is that devices,eg. tablets, iphones, smart tvs, gaming consoles etc, are rapidly replacing PC sales. I agree with this statement because more and more electonic products are offering some of the same capabilities that PC’s offer. In the past, a typical home might have a couple of computers connected to a router that enabled web access. In this day and age, PC’s are not the only devices that can be found in a home. Products like smart phones and tablets are enabling web access and content creation but with increased portability and convenience. In some ways, PC’s offer more options in terms of content creation and computing power, however as microprocessors continue to advance computing power found in electronic devices, eg. tablets, will rival and even surpass PC capabilities. With nanotechnology allowing us to minituarize transistors and fit more processors in a given space, the power and attractiveness of these non-PC devices will continue to grow among consumers.

  12. Bolaji Akinbobola

    “The post-PC World is real and it’s here”

    It is very correct to say that the Post-PC world is real and it is here. In the past twenty years there has been tremendous improvement in the technological design of PC’s. Recent design of PC device has lots of application software programs built in the hard ware components.
    With this development of sophisticated technological devices and the high increase in purchase by users, it shows we are living in the Post-PC world and it is here and real.
    Today almost everybody uses the PC for one purpose or the other, the world today has cultivated the usage of the internet as part of the system people need to use to function in the system. With PDA’s today, people can do their office duties from their homes or anywhere they have internet connection.
    In today’s world, people can connect more than thirty-four devices to their digital home network not to mention that of companies. A recent research result predicts that this year, “Over one billion internet-enabled devices will be sold globally with less than one third of those devices being laptop or computers. While the absolute number of PCs sold continues to grow, PC sales as a percentage of overall internet-enabled device revenue is declining quite rapidly, justifying Mr. Cook’s belief that we have entered a post-PC world” Hugh Thompson.

  13. Mohammed Binmadhi

    The author has thoroughly justified his claim and I completely agree with that. Even though PC’s are not out of the market because there are still a large number of areas where PC’s hold on firmly, but the rapid growth of non-PC devices has really shown that technology can go where it was previously impossible or was considered a far fetched idea. As non-pc devices get more powerful, it will surely outcast PC’s soon. Mac’s are powerful than ever before and it can run even complicated engineering programs. Apple products generally are a great advantage for any consumer related to any field of work. The fact that the author went from 0 to 30 non-PC products in just 5 years, shows how much of technological advancement we have achieved. In Nano technology there is more research being conducted and I am sure that in a few years, we will not at all be reliable in any kind of PC.

  14. Lauren R

    In addition to the author’s argument that we entered the post-PC world due to the rapid increase in volume of post-PC devices, there is another point that I would like to make:
    All these post-PC devices are making the PC obsolete. Why go out and buy a laptop when you can do everything and more from your post-PC devices at a cheaper price? Why create and edit a Microsoft Office document on your PC when you can do it on your lighter and cheaper tablet? Why buy a PC for online gaming when an Xbox offers players more features and more console controllers at a fraction of the price? And why use a PC for general online surfing when one can simply whip out their smartphone and have instant access to the Internet wherever they are?
    As well post-PC devices tend to be not only more mobile than PCs but offer users more options. A smart phone allows users to go instantly go from their texts to their emails to the internet to their stored documents on “the cloud”. A PC does not offer users access to their text messages nor does it fit in their pocket. An xbox connected to the Internet not only allows games to play with their friends online, but they can also pay with multiple friends on the same console.
    In short, in the future why would anyone buy a PC? We have anything and more (in a mobile form at a cheaper price) from our post-PC devices.

  15. Maria Rana

    I think that the PC era of computing is on the decline but it is still an important part of our lives and will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Although smart phones and tablets are capable of a lot, a person does not have the same type of experience with them as they would with a laptop. Personally if I were on YouTube or watching a movie, I would rather watch it on my laptop than my smart phone or a tablet. Even if I am browsing on the Internet, I find it way easier and I am way more comfortable sitting on my couch with my laptop rather than my cell phone. Also, smart phones have such a small laptop that I do not think it would be practical to do everything that one does on a PC on such a small device. Also, larger software can be downloaded on to a PC that you would probably not be able to download on a smaller device such as a tablet. Therefore, I feel like PCs might be on the decline but they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

  16. Salma H.

    We are definitely experiencing a decline in PC purchases and entering the era that will soon never have such things around! I have had classes where the professor would survey the class to see how many people have laptops vs PCs, and I always tend to proudly stand alone being one of the very, very few people that do not own a laptop, and still currently use a PC. Having a desktop computer is almost an unheard of phenomenon nowadays, with the increasing popularity of smaller, more efficient technological devices. With the recent release of tablets from many companies, the decline of PC purchases has made an even bigger drop. In this day and age, people are always on the move, looking for something that will be consistent with their daily active lifestyle. Whether it be work or school, desktop computers are just no longer efficient for users, which lead them to resorting to alternative technological devices.

  17. Veronica

    I definitely think there will be a day when PCs will be a thing of our past. When that’s going to happen? It could be years, it could be tomorrow. The the advances of technology ever changing, the PDAs, smartphones, tablets and iPads make having a PC more and more obselete. These days business can be done on laptops, phones, other hand-held devices so where is the need for the stationary device? I went to a doctors office the other day and the doctor came in with an iPad to take notes of our appointment even though there was a PC sitting right beside him. We are a generation of people that feed off of imediate gratification or getting, using, buying what we want when we want it. Other then the guy in this image you can’t really through a desktop computer over your shoulder whereas there are so many alternatives that can keep up and be with us 24/7/365.

  18. Ali Almasoud

    I think PCs are no longer the easiest accessible device that everybody carries for sake of simplicity and convenience. It is absolutely true that not everybody uses PC for sophisticated number of tasks that cannot be performed through smart phone, designing for example. However, I think it is safe to say that most people uses PCs for e-mail checking, spread-sheeting,other word processing ,and internet browsing. These kind of tasks are now available through smart phones that is even more available (always in the pocket)and lighter to carry than PCs. I believe that PCs sooner or later will be no longer popular as we can see the evolution of electronic devices. Therefore, it will decline

  19. Ali Almasoud

    I think PCs are no longer the easiest accessible device that everybody carries for sake of simplicity and convenience. It is absolutely true that not everybody uses PC for sophisticated number of tasks that cannot be performed through smart phone, designing for example. However, I think it is safe to say that most people uses PCs for e-mail checking, spread-sheeting, word processing, and internet browsing. These kinds of tasks are now available through smart phones that are even more available (always in the pocket) and lighter to carry than PCs. I believe that PCs sooner or later will be no longer popular as we can see the evolution of electronic devices. Therefore, it will decline.

  20. Ryan Huntley

    I think the death of the desktop really comes down to a question of functionality. I would argue that the predominate portion of the population’s data processing activities (internet browsing, banking, messaging, e-mail, social networking, etc…) can be accomplished more quickly and easily by mobile devices than non-mobile devices. Hence, it’s obvious to see that the demand for mobile devices are on the rise, while the demand for PCs are declining.
    Our culture is now entering an era where PCs are going to become a hallmark of professionals, technicians and enthusiasts. Recently I’ve been experiencing technical issues with my home network, and I’ve been impressed at how many of my daily functions I’m able to carry out with the use of my smart phone as a substitute. This being said, my smart phone is unable to meet my word processing and spreadsheet needs, and doesn’t have the computing capacity or inputs necessary for gaming. While the PC era may be coming to a close, there are still business administrators, technical professionals, and enthusiasts that are going to require the additional computing capacity and input functions that desktops are best at delivering. In essence, the PC era isn’t dead. The PC market segment is just becoming progressively more segmented (Just as it should).

  21. Debbie Kennedy

    I believe PC’s are here to stay. People will always want their own PC. Yes, they are in decline because of all the other devices coming out, such as iPads, iPhones etc. They are in decline because they are only getting a share of the huge market out there. Some people are purchasing an iPad as opposed to a PC. The business world is changing so rapidly and people are on the move going here and there and devices such as the iPad and iPhone are used more frequently by those on the move. Who wants to carry around a PC when they carry a smaller device. I can see people using a PC at home, but when your on the move an iPad seems more logical.

    I don’t think the PC era is over. As mentioned above people will always want a PC of their own. Personally I like the larger screens then the iPad gives me. Sure maybe PCs are on a decline; therefore, we are entering into a new era as well with mobile devices, but the PC will always be around. Smaller mobile devices will be on the increase as people are having options of working from home or on the move.

  22. Andrew D.

    The PC era of computing is certainly in decline, and its because advances in technology have allowed people to do their computing in more convenient ways than just on a desktop in their house or office. With the introduction of tablets, smartphones and netbooks, it is very convenient and easy to take the internet and almost every other computing function anywhere. Because of this, the PC has become less useful because it just sits in one room at home while you can you the internet anywhere on all other devices. The era we are entering is one of mobile computing. Business is already starting to be possible all on a smartphone through the use of the internet and apps for all the tasks you need to do. These devices are so good at using the internet that PCs will no longer be needed or preferred, but rather they will just be a less convenient way of computing and or using the internet.

  23. Misbah Dar

    The PC era is in decline because of the latest technologies that are surrounding our world today are on a major boost. New and improved technologies are on their way and are all around us in our every day lives that we don’t need a at home or at business PC anymore. We can access technology from anywhere from the palm of our hands. The PC era was just like the VHS era that one day they were so popular and the other day they don’t exist anymore. People are getting bored with the same stuff, they require new things that can make their lives easier and not have to do anything physically. Everything can be done for them without moving a muscle. They are trying to make their lives more convenient than ever before, therefore getting rid of the PCs and bringing in the new iPad can help make a big difference. Everything is revolving around the internet and without internet on any of these technologies is useless. PC comes with a lot of different tools with input and output and we don’t want to carry all those things around. We want to be able to have less input and more output.

  24. Le Liu

    The PC era of computing is in declining. However, I think it is hard to have a world that totally omits PC. We cannot ignore the advantage of desktops, for example, wider screen and larger keyboard. It is better for our eyesight and hands. But as smartphones continue to grow popularity, more and more people in the young generation replace their PC with the smart phone since smart phones do bring a lot convenience to our life. If the PC era is over, the new era we are entering is Post-Pc era. The main character of post PC era would be expansion of internet access, cloud service, new operating system and contextual- intelligence. As the smart phone spread quickly, internet is very easy to be accessed. We can have a moving office with us by using smartphone. Cloud service will provide larger storage space and enable the processing capability. Moreover, the further development of new operating system replaces the PC era operating system.

  25. Reply

    This article was very interesting to read and think about.. I’ve never imagined about people living a life without PCs. Even now we are living with PCS. As the article explains, the technology has been developing and evolving all time. Even though I get my emails through my smartphone, and that I can work on my word documents and spreadsheets on my smartphone, I still am used to use PCs for variety of reasons. Also, I am confused how to accept smartpads or iPads. I am wondering if I should understand its’ concept as a new device or a new developed and evolved versions of PC?? Because smartpads and iPads can do pretty much most of the things we do on PCs. Web surfing, downloading applications, text messaging, and so much more. However, yes I do think that we are becoming post PX generations with fast growing and developing technology. I honestly cannot predict at all what era we are getting into, but devices are definitely getting smaller, simpler, and more compact every time.

  26. Marli Hadden

    The article makes a great case for how and why the PC era of computing is in decline. I have to agree with the main arguments of the article that the computing is moving into a new era of mobile computing. This is through the increasing use of smartphones, tablets, and other devices that are capable of being carried around on a daily basis. Most people like the constant accessibility of their work and personal uses for the internet that are available through these devices. Perhaps the PC era is in decline, however I don’t think that PC are anywhere near going extinct. Businesses are still using PC networks to support most if not all of their functions and I can’t see a change to handheld, mobile devices to support a business in the near future.

  27. Rod white quills

    in my humble opinion i think that the world of the pc is done because there are so many other devices that you could use that are more portable and easier to access. thanks the invention of many different devices such as the ipad the iphone and other things of that nature the pc world is finding it very hard to stay afloat. even in office buildings where workers are finding different ways to work. like working from home or on the road with your ipad or your smartphone. like in my house we have a pc that is hardly used we have two ipads two iphones even my five year old have an ipod he watches movies on the pc itself is relativley new maybe a year old but i don’t think i have ever used it i do use my laptop for school but that is about all i use it for other than that i use my phone for everything. so it is very hard to justify using a pc in this day and because it is not mobile. the pc world is over and done with sure there are people who will tell you different but who are they trying to fool we have only begun to the world of mobilty and it is only going to get bigger.

  28. Keely

    I believe that the PC era of computing is on the decline, but it won’t be going away anytime soon. Though sales are decreasing, PC’s are still needed. Though were it was previously not possible to use non-PC devices for things like reading pdf documents and opening emails, I can now do that on my smartphone. In this day and age with the technology we have, almost everything can be done on a tablet or smartphone. Why would consumers go out and buy the new latest and greatest personal computer when they’ve already got the latest tablet? Because we are now able to do almost everything on this new non-PC technology, we no longer need PC’s as frequently. Documents can be edited on a tablet and the xbox is available for online gaming. There is no longer a need for consumers to go out and buy a laptop, as smartphones and tablets are able to do everything, and more. You can’t access your text messages through a PC, but with the technologies of cloud computing that essay you were writing last night on your PC, can now be accessed on your tablet. There is definitely not as high of a need for PC’s as there used to be, as there is everything, and more, in a mobile form.

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