Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Post-PC World


I need a new computer. It's been about five years since I powered my current machine up for the first time, a fact which makes it positively geriatric. The first question I asked myself was: Do I want/need a laptop or desktop?

That was the beginning. That was the moment I started to notice that most of my friends, the overwhelming majority, did not have a desktop. Of course I had seen them all with laptops at the library, at writing courses, and so on, but I just assumed that, like me, they had a desktop at home.

I guess I'm an old fashioned girl -- or perhaps I'm just cheap! -- but I like having a big ol' thing to plunk down on my desk, combined with a sprawling, and very comfortable, ergonomic keyboard. I like playing around with photos and video, and it's nice to have a high-end computer. Of course there are laptops with the computational oomph to get the job done, but the user experience just isn't as good. Perhaps it's the keyboard, perhaps it's the smaller screen. I suppose I'm used to using a PC.

In any case, this is what was on my mind as I opened up my Flipboard app and read the following:
Apple CEO Tim Cook this week talked about a “post-PC world.” Many people treated his comments as controversial, exaggerated or outright marketing lies.

In fact, everything Cook said about it was literally true and perfectly accurate. He said the post-PC revolution “is happening all around us at an amazing pace and Apple is at the forefront and leading this revolution.”

He didn’t say we currently live in a post-PC world, or that in the future PCs would not exist. He specifically said “we’re talking about a world where the PC is no longer the center of your digital world.”

What he didn’t say — so I will — was that the transition from the PC world to the post-PC world involves a transition from a Microsoft world to an Apple world.

....

Once companies launch and become successful, the only way to maintain their success is re-invention. As the conditions that enabled their initial success fade into history, they have to remake themselves into a new kind of company.

This is so hard to do that very few companies actually achieve it. The reason is that you often have to kill your most successful products while they’re still successful in order to take a gamble on the products that aren’t making big bucks yet.

Apple managed to skirt this problem. The whole iOS forest was started with a tiny seed: The iPod.

The iPod in no way overlapped with or competed against Apple’s main business, which was integrated PCs. Apple leveraged the iPod and iTunes universe to launch the iPhone, which they used to launch the iPad.

By the time the iOS devices were competing against Apple’s Macs as an alternative for users, they were already bringing in more revenue for Apple.

It will be easy for Apple to “sunset” Macs, to put them on the back burner and focus on iOS devices, because iOS devices are already the core business.
- Why Apple will Crush Microsoft in the Post-PC Era, Cult of Mac
I found this especially interesting because I had been considering buying an iMac. Not the current iMac, the next one. I've seen the current one -- and there's absolutely nothing to dislike about that beautifully huge 27-inch monitor. There is no denying that it is a high-end machine, but there hasn't been a new iMac for a while.
Multiple news outlets are pointing to a leaked Intel roadmap slide which puts Ivy Bridge chips in the late Q1-Q2 2011 timeframe, indicating a March or April 2012 release at the earnest.
- 9to5Mac
I'd been wondering why Apple hasn't come out with a desktop computer sooner, but I think the simple reason might be that PCs are no longer as profitable as they once were. Many people only need a computer to check email and surf the internet. They can do that with a smart phone or tablet, why have a big computer at home taking up real estate?

Whatever the case, I'm still a PC gal. I've decided to build my own computer -- or at least to try! I'll blog about my efforts and let you folks know how it goes.

Thanks for reading.

Photo credit

4 comments:

  1. I'm going through exactly the same dilemma, so it's great to read this. I like my ancient desktop, but it's verrrry sloooow. And dying. I have a laptop that's only a year old and very speedy, but I want a bigger monitor, and a big old keyboard. And of course, a mouse. Can I justify having a desktop, too? Am I as much of a dinosaur as my old 2005 Dell? Sigh.

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    1. Hi Anne, it's nice to know I'm not alone! That said, your laptop sounds terrific. Have you considered buying a monitor/keyboard and running it from your laptop?

      A friend of mine has a work laptop with a docking station. He drops the laptop into the docking station and then uses a regular monitor and keyboard. When he goes to a meeting, he takes the laptop out and brings it with him. The best of both worlds!

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  2. I guess I'm an oddity in that I use both. The vast majority of my writing happens on my laptop (which I recently had to replace), while my desktop is the powerhouse that I use for editing, formatting, and graphics. My desk is far too uncomfortable for writing, but my laptop can go with me anywhere, in the house or on the road. Ironically, I ended up with a laptop that's far more powerful than my desktop and it has a larger screen than I would have chosen, but it's cheaper to get a bigger more powerful laptop than a small, underpowered one. Go figure.

    On the post-pc world, I'm a little more skeptical than Mr. Cook. I'm not a Mac fan anyway because, like you Karen, I build many of my own PCs and I like the ability to modify or upgrade at will. The friends I've known who bought Macs loved them, but they paid far too much and got stuck with what they had for years (and that's not even touching the software compatibility issues).

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    1. Jamie I'm envious, I wish I could learn to write on a laptop, perhaps I just haven't given it enough time. I think part of the problem is that I like using an ergonomic keyboard.

      Ah! It's nice to hear from someone who has built their own computers. I'm glad to hear it has worked out well for you. I spent this evening looking at reviews and putting parts in my shopping card over at NCIX.com. On the one hand it's very exciting and on the other I'm scared to death! I've heard horror stories about people zapping their HD or RAM and ending up with very expensive paper weights.

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Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies to anyone this inconveniences, I wish I didn't have to do it. I do appreciate each and every comment.