Post PC

The term ‘Post PC’ has been used a lot recently, particularly since Steve Job’s frequent references at the iPad 2 launch. However, as Lewis Carroll had it, a word can mean just what you want it to mean.

Many commentators are seeing ‘Post PC’ as ‘PC replacement’, and therefore tablets, like the iPad 2 will not succeed in replacing the desktop. One example is Ovum analyst Tony Cripps, who is  justified by his definition of ‘Post PC’ in giving tablets a FAIL. “I can’t imagine the day is going to arrive anytime soon when I’m using a tablet rather than a PC.”

A definition that is more pertinent, and in my view more accurate,  from a popular blog, is as follows;

(a) small, pocketable gadgets that (b) run compact operating systems designed for mobility. Applications that run on these devices are (c) easily installed by customers and (d) execute under a trusted applications runtime. Unlike traditional PCs, post-PC devices are (e) not general-purpose computers that run general-purpose operating systems.

My definition of Post PC device is;

  • a personal information/entertainment device
  • running an OS suited to the form factor
  • easy to use ( which I know, is easy to say)
  • not a PC/laptop/netbook

So why are these points important?

  • it will be with you when your PC/laptop/netbook isn’t
    • e.g. when you’re having fun
  • scaled -down Operating Systems give a better user experience
    • touch is hard, Apple are doing it well, as are others
  • because it’s easy, it’s smart, it’s fun – there are many more people who will get involved
  • this is the point – who wants a PC in their pocket?

A simple example is that it’s more fun to answer a work email in a coffee shop than when you are at your desk. Why? You get a virtuous glow that a slice of your coffee shop time is devoted to work, you give a prompt response and it’s one less thing to do back at the office. It could also be that you’re out and the email is from someone stuck in the office.

As I see it, Post PC devices have their place, and there’s no doubt that light-duty work is achievable, but they won’t (and aren’t intended to be) replacing desktops any time soon.

So, are Post PC naysayers on shaky ground?  Who said Post PC devices would replace PCs anyway?

Certainly not Steve Jobs, CEO of a company that make about 10% of the world’s PC and laptops, or Macintoshes and MacBooks, in Apple’s case.

I certainly will be using my iPad 2 when it arrive for light-duty work, but mainly for fun!


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