Skip to comments.The PC is dead, and other tech myths
Posted on 07/07/2013 6:01:08 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Four things you might have thought you knew, but which might not be true, as brought to you by the geek section of Real Clear Politics. I found at least three of them directly relevant to me, and the fourth one is doubtless of interest (or at least a subject of heated debate) for many of the rest of you. How many of these things are true and how many are just inaccurate popular perception?
The first one is that the desktop PC is dead.
The headlines couldn’t be more final. “The Death of the PC Has Not Been Exaggerated” reads one. “Ding Dong the PC’s Dead” reads another.
While we certainly recognize that many computer experiences that previously required a PC (email, web surfing) no longer do (and PC sales are slumping and mobile device sales are surging precisely for this reason), we think it’s premature in the extreme to sound the death knell for the PC.
If it’s a myth, it’s certainly one I was taken in by. I built my own desktop PCs for more than the last decade, (a decision driven by the fact that I used to do some heavy duty gaming on my machines) but the last desktop PCs in my house are now out of commission and heading for the scrap yard. Both of us now use laptops full time. However, the authors note that some gamers will still insist on using a PC, particularly for the full, traditional keyboard. (I don’t game on computers anymore, just my Playstation, so I suppose that’s possible.) They also note that business applications frequently benefit from using dual monitors on a larger desk, giving a leg up to the traditional PC. Are any of you still strictly PC users?
Next up, America’s internet access is awful.
That America has sub-standard internet access is something of an article of faith among many tech journalists. But the truth is America’s internet speeds aren’t all that bad on a global basis. According to the global network provider Akamai, the U.S. ranked eighth in the world with internet speeds of 7.4Mbps.
I don’t travel internationally enough to have any anecdotal evidence to offer on this one. I’ve heard people complain about it, but at least in the places I travel to, my experience has been that high speed internet access is pretty ubiquitous in the US. I’m sure that some of the more rural areas are still getting by on sub-par speeds, but I’ve also felt it was just “a matter of time” before everyone was up and on board. Are the speeds really that much faster and more widely available in Europe and Asia? I guess Japan might have the jump on us.
Third, low cost, internet streaming video is going to kill cable television.
The advent of low-cost, all-you-can stream internet video was seen as the death knell for the hated TV industry. And while cable TV subscriptions have fallen off from their peak, traditional pay TV (i.e. from cable, phone or satellite providers) is still generally healthy.
I suppose I tend to “believe” this one, given the number of younger people I see watching TV shows on their phones and tablets when I travel. And I have frequently been mocked on Twitter when I talk about “missing” some show I wanted to watch, generally by people who brag about not having had to sit through a commercial for years now. I still don’t even have a DVR. The closest I’ve come to this “unplugged” world of watching television is finally figuring out the On Demand feature on Time Warner to watch some shows which already aired.
But my big question is, how do these mobile devices get around the fact that it’s the content providers, not the deliverers, who control the flow of entertainment media? When it’s all said and done, you still need something to broadcast which people will actually watch.
And finally, (and of the least interest to me) Apple is no longer innovative.
It wasn’t long after Apple reached its stunning valuation that critics began to question the company’s capacity for innovation. Where, they wondered, were the path-breaking products like iTunes, the iPod, iPhone and iPad — products that could create (or ignite mass enthusiasm for) a whole new consumer experience? The naysayers have only grown louder as Apple’s stock has experienced its dizzying drop.
So why is it a myth to declare that innovation is dead at Apple?
The authors claim that Apple has always let a few years elapse between their “next big thing” announcements, so it’s too soon to pronounce their demise. I wouldn’t know. To this day I have never owned an Apple product and I have no plans to start now.
And yes… you can get off my lawn.
I use a PC for graphic design.
It’s almost always the case that old technologies die slower deaths than expected after an eclipsing generation has been introduced.
RE: I use a PC for graphic design.
Yep. The small, portable computers have been with us for over a decade ( Tablets are small computers by any other name ).
I still do all significant work on a computer with a HUGE screen.
I use one for video editing. However I am probably on my last laptop. I go months now between uses. The droid does 80-90% of what I need for mobile use.
Sort of a dumb argument from the start since laptops have up to 17" screens and aren't so different from desktops. I think the real divide is between computers with full sized keyboards and decent sized screens compared to tiny keyboards and screens from larger tablet size down to tiny smart phone screens.
The full size keyboard and decent size screens aren't going away. They'll be around for a long time in some configuration.
These things are not static. They will all change. That is not to say they will die.
My tablet has a HDMI output port—I attach it to my 70” big screen. Slightly bigger than most computer monitors.
The next invention I want to see is a HDMI, 1080i-capable wireless video/audio connection to attach to the big screen TVs. The HDMI cord I have can be a PITA when trying to get comfy on the couch!
For about 15 years now I’ve used a laptop.
When at work I plug it into a large monitor, which I use in conjunction with the laptop sitting beside it as an auxiliary monitor.
I also plug in a standard keyboard and use a wireless mouse.
For the life of me I can’t see how this experience is any different from using a “regular” desktop PC.
Except I can easily take the whole thing with me when I leave the office.
The thing is the tablet is becoming capable of running those big screens and full keyboards. Just plug them in when needed.
1080p or the coming 4K would be preferable.
I do the same thing at home. My desktop is seven years old now and I bought a new 17” laptop a year ago. So, now I use the laptop with my 21” monitor and full sized keyboard I used with the desktop. I keep the desktop in working order because it’s XP and I have some programs that won’t run on Windows 7.
To talk strictly about the old desktop configuration is a pointless argument. As I said, I think the divide is between full size keyboards and screens compared to the touch screen keyboards and small screens configurations of tablets and smart phones.
And these new All-in-Ones have large screens and keyboards, but are a very different configuration from the older desktops, but funcationally are about the same.
And when you do that you're just reproducing the old desktop configuration, and still purchasing all the components that made up that older configuration.
Yup, Screen size is the primary issue for me to use the PC for graphic work. In fact I often use the TV as a monitor for photo post processing to get a more accurate idea of how they look blown up to poster size.
I bet I’ve worn out 10 keyboards in the ten years I’ve been using this computer. The PC is kind of like a low tech hotrod that I can work on and upgrade as needed.
It’s not any different. I use my laptops 90% of the time and my beastly gaming rig sits gathering dust in my home office.
When I’m at home I even PC game on my newest laptop because it has a dedicated graphics that runs with most higher end desktop cards.
Tablets are still considered toys by many in IT including myself. It’s proven that unless they are strictly locked down with an MDM solution they are epic time wasters in the office.
Laptops and desktops in the work environment are still far more productive at this time.
I think in a few years we still won’t see the elimination of desktops for enterprises, but we will see more VDI, and streaming access to your desktop where nothing is actually kept or stored locally. If you have a computer problem we just swap out your terminal/laptop/tablet and you login to your VDI session and continue on where you were.
Yes you are but you also have portability with it. You can do your work at the base with the big monitor but can unplug a.d take it with you.
My lap top with Windows 7 has WiDi, so I can connect to a Push2TV wireless device that uses HDMI to plug directly into my surround sound system.
It is capable of both 1080p as well as 5.1 surround.
Sweet and very easy to set up/use.
I could give up the PC if they ported MS office to tablets. You can plug the tablet to an IPS panel TV and get your big screen for a lot less than a computer monitor of equivalent size. Same panel.
Whatever, but when you use a full sized keyboard and monitor with these small devices, you’re just reproducing the old desktop configuration.
You have portability with your small device, but you aren’t sticking your full sized keyboard and 20” plus monitor in the carrying case with your tablet or smart phone, and you aren’t holding those two full sized components in your hands when you use them with your small device.
The point is, very few are actually abandoning the old desktop configuration and doing all their work on the smaller devices. And all these articles about the death of the desktop are pretty pointless. People are just setting up the desktop computer with different components than the old desktop setup that’s been around since the 1980s.
As for internet speeds. I get about 20 mbps from a cable provider at home, and fast enough from other hot spots that I don't notice it. I generally don't notice particularly fast or slow connections. So it seems our speeds are good enough that there is no significant impetus to make changes.
Broadcast tv is dead/dying. But cable is how a lot of content is delivered. I don't think they care if I'm watching something they are sending as tv, or if I'm using their bandwidth to pull it from a server in a different format.
As for Apple, who knows. They are definetly not the same company they used to be. They can't be, companies, particularly in their markets, have to change. They wouldn't be around if they had tried to simply stick to making macs, or IIes, or Lisas, etc. Are they still "innovative?" That remains to be seen.
I have been spammed with ads for the new PC workstation. It’s revolutionary. It is for the Obamavoters.
It has no changeable stuff that you need to know. The OS is fixed/set, and the screen has four or maybe it was eiight icons. Facebook was one of them. It’s named, in Norwegian, the “DukaPC” - in english that would probably be the “You Can PC”.
I’m typing this on my phone. In the future I believe the phone will become a full fledged pc device. You will be able to dock it at work or at home. I do think there will still be a place for the desktop for graphics and other intense computing but most will opt for the more portable device. Desktops won’t go away but their numbers will keep declining.
Tablets are great for reading, but you’ll always need a mouse like device, a keyboard, and a large display for creating documents, presentations, or number crunching.
The advantage of desktop PCs is that they can be easily upgraded. Need a bigger hard drive, more RAM or even a new processor..no problem. Most components can be installed with no more than a screw driver. I just upgraded my 7 year old desktop with more RAM and a new processor and mother board to accommodate Windows 7... everything else was reused. To upgrade a laptop you buy a new laptop and throw the old one away.
You are arguing a different point from mine. I’m simply saying that sales of the three decades old desktop configuration are irrelevant. Most people still set up desktop computing with their newer, smaller devices by hooking up large keyboards and monitors.
Deaktop computering is not going away and you are agreeing with me when you “dock” at work or at home.
So, in adding up sales, where do you include the sales of individual keyboards and monitors people buy so they can do desktop computing with their smaller devices?
Desktop computing is here to stay. This silly argument is just over which components have the highest sales.
Microsoft has already done that for you. Check out Office 365.
hummm I don’t think desk top PC’s will ever lose it allure for those that use productivity software everyday for a living. Laptops are wonderful 2nds to the PC in that they are useful for those that must be productive.
Tablets....meh! yeah they are a convenient diversion but surfing with them is a constant exercise of Madison avenue gypsy, trinket, hotlink ambushing. Then you have to constantly request a desktop site so you can read the print.
A big FU to all the annoying android code writers out there.
Same here, and for HD video editing too. I use a tablet outdoors as a monitor screen when recording with a video camera with a WiFi back, but for real work; video editing, graphics work in Adobe, etc. I use my powerful, quad core i7 PC.
Large screen is still desirable for many uses and will remain desirable, TV and computer monitor have merged, it had become a redundancy anyway. “Screen” as hardware might eventually become obsolete, but large format viewing capability for both work and pleasure isn't going anywhere.
The remaining vestiges of visible “computer” as previously understood, the full size keyboard and mouse, remain necessary for many and likely will for several years to come. We have virtual keyboards now, I'm typing on one. It's functional enough for limited applications such as e-mail and memos, or field use filling in data. It's nothing I'd want to use for graphic creation. So, it's no replacement, just a make-do. But, eventually, there will arise a functional, desirable alternative as well, that will complete the “computer” migration into the woodwork, into apparent invisibility.
So, you won't see a box and a monitor set up in a discrete, separate environment but it'll still be there, still perfectly capable of performing any task for which you've configured it. It'll just be part of a larger communications system with a fixed component and a portable component, all the same system though. Extensible for highly visual-intensive or input-intensive tasks, I guess is a way to describe it.
If I still gamed or just plain wanted more memory,s I could leave more wimdows open, I’d own a tower.
Just about all laptops serve my needs these days.
Cost is always a factor. Laptops can be double the amount of a PC. Many jobs are still at a desk. The laptop is needed for portability. If the job is static, why pay the extra cost?
The tiny screens are going to damage eyesight in the young. Don’t throw away your desktop.
Rather not require internet access to use the app, and I trust myself more than the cloud to keep my data private and backed up.
Everytime I hear this I remember that a coworker in 1985 proclaimed to me that COBOL and the Mainframe computer would be dead by 1990, 1995 at the latest. When I retired from the military and walked into my civilian job position in 1993 I was greeted by a IBM 3270 dumb terminal and worked on a mainframe using COBOL and Assembler. COBOL and Mainframes are still here and in use. Now days I work with PCs, laptops, and tablets using C#, a little Java etc but there are still mainframers out there and COBOL hasn’t completely died either.
I agree with him on the first 3. As for number 4, I’ve never really found Apple that innovative in the first place. Very rarely do they make anything first, they just tend to make the first version that appeals to the masses, they sexify a lot more than they innovate, which is an excellent skill but shouldn’t be confused for actually making new things.
Computing at home means the luxury of a real keyboard and mouse, usable monitor, and always-on connection.
But the truth is, people under 30 years of age will prefer mobility over capability. Once their eyes start to go, and they have more homebound responsibilities, they’ll need a desktop machine.
But the days when desktop machine sales were in continuous enormous growth are gone. Margins are just not there. The result of so much mobile computing, in fact, has been the miniaturization of the components (particularly the CPU box) and deeper integration of the electronics. Smaller power supplies and footprints, plus the merging of monitors with our flatscreen TVs have also been results of this.
The money has been in mobile computing, and that development has been spun off into cutting costs on desktop machines. This means that desktop machines use cheaper, last-gen stuff that is tuned up a little. It reminds me of those home phone services which use regular phone hardware plugged into a small box, which communicates using previous-gen cell phone networks. It’s a brilliant way to compete in a rooted market and to help pay off sunk costs.
A friend showed me his Hackintosh, for which he uses the integrated Intel graphics. Works more than acceptably.
the cloud is secure.
the cloud is safe and private.