First the iPhone comes out as the first of a slew of smart phones, and many pundits and industry observers forecasted the death of the PC. Now there is a tablet tsunami, and the entire world is in a frenzy about the ultimate demise of our great friend and companion, the trusty computer. Well, the death of the PC is greatly exaggerated. Worse yet, for some reason, the exageration seems to be willful and intentional. What do they have against the good old PC anyhow? I have no idea, but let me debunk this nonsense.
First off, let’s define a PC versus a phone or a tablet. A computer has a large screen that sits about between 18 – 24 inches from your nose. Of course, the computer has the ability to accommocate multiple screens going up to sizes competing with a television and resolutions that greatly exceeds that of a television. Next, a computer has a keyboard and a mouse. A computer has ample storage starting at something like 100GB and having perhaps terabytes of data instantly at its disposal. Last but not least, a PC is expandable and at a minimum supports the USB standards.
Using this broad definition, Apple makes computers. In fact, they sell a lot of them. There’s a news flash. On top of that, netbooks are computers too, although they barely squeak through on the specifications. But those are my personal biases. I know lots of netbook users that are happy to use them as computers.
PC Pitstop did two very simple studies to understand people’s computer usage. The most recent asked the simple question about what device was the most important in their lives. We did not include tablets in the study, but the PC was the runaway winner. Although PC prices have fallen down less than $500, and television prices have skyrocketed up to $1000. The iPhone runs for about $300 last I checked. But despite all of this, people feel overwhelmingly that the PC is the most important device in their lives.
Why is that? We ran another survey asking the primary way people get their news. Again, the runaway winner was the old, trusty computer. A tidal shift is happening and the computer is at the center. The internet has surpassed every medium for getting news, and not just by a little bit. The only one holding a candle to the computer is the old fashioned, get-out-your-remote television. Me personally, I never watch television to get the news. I stopped when I still had AOL dial up. God, that was a long time ago.
Of course, you can get all of your news on a tablet too, which brings us to another survey which analyzed how people communicate. This one was much closer but the #1 way that people communicate today is via email. It makes some sense. One of the key ways that businesses now communicate with us is through email. Email is where you get your bank statements, and your airline reservations and on and on. Although it is not a hard necessity, in order to do email with any level of efficiency or competency, you need a keyboard. I am really biased here. I type about 80 words per minute. I have honestly tried to type out an email on a smart phone, and I feel like I am moving in slow motion. I am sure that if I tried I would improve my typing skills on a phone, but I just prefer the feel of a full size keyboard and apparently so do a lot more people.
There is another large transition happening out there. Sorry we haven’t done another poll for this one but people are watching more and more video on their computers. The amount of video that is being created for the internet is quickly dwarfing the video choices that one can find on traditional television. Although some of the biggest names such as Sony and Google have tried to figure out how to get this landslide of video content onto your television, by and large they all have come up short. Still the best way to watch YouTube, Vimeo, et al videos is through your computer.
In conclusion, the internet is perhaps one of the most significant accomplishments of mankind. It touches all of our lives in more and more ways each and every day. The amount of content to be viewed via the internet is growing at an exponential rate and sites like Facebook continue our love affair with the internet. The absolute best device to access all of this information is the computer sitting with a monitor positioned about 18-24 inches from your face, and controled with a mouse and a keyboard. Technology has tendency to obsolete itself very quickly, but the PC is here to stay. More over, the paradigm of the mouse and keyboard will survive as well. In 10 years, we will all still be using computers, mice and keyboards. It is this simple paradigm that allows all of us to quickly, and efficiently find all the information in the world at our finger tips.