A new report predicts worldwide sales of personal computers are bound for their first annual decline in 11 years. The forecast issued Wednesday by the research firm IHS iSuppli projects that nearly 349 million PCs will be shipped this year. That would be a 1 percent decrease from nearly 353 million PC shipments last year. Although small, the anticipated decline would be the first time that annual PC sales haven’t grown since 2001.
For most of us, this news comes as no surprise. With the historic proliferation of mobile devices hitting the market in recent years, industry followers have seen the writing on the wall for some time now. Mobile devices, such as smartphone and tablets, are cheaper, portable and can do many of the same things we do on our desktop devices. While there will always be the need for powerful computers to manage the heavy lifting of today’s modern world, the average user simply does not require such processing capability. Most of the folks at DeepBlue have tablets, specifically the iPad. Some here have gone so far as to use their iPad as a PC replacement, although I still depend mightily on my MacBook Air. Still, the concept of a post-PC world is intriguing. What if, instead of allocating responsibilities to my laptop, iPad and iPhone I have a single device that sufficiently services all my needs, wrapped up into a neat, mobile package? The possibilities of a post-PC world are staggering – cheaper, more accessible and better connected products that find their way into the woodwork of ambiguity, making every aspect of our life connected 24/7/365.
The death of the big box era in computing is inevitable. It will be very interesting to see what follows and how we as humans adapt.