Despite Apple's declarations, the PC is alive and well

Aug 30, 2011

Are we entering the "post PC era" envisioned by Apple's Steve Jobs? Or is it the "PC plus" era touted by Microsoft's Frank Shaw?

This month on "The Digital Future," Strategic News Service (SNS) publisher Mark Anderson tells KPLU's Dave Meyer that both sides are right ... and both sides are wrong.

Smartphones, tablets, netbooks, e-readers and other devices have created some confusion in the marketplace. These devices do things that previously were the domain of personal computers. Does that mean PCs will be replaced by them?

A beginning, not an end

Mark doesn't think it's a question of whether the PC will survive. He sees it as an issue of production vs. consumption.

As Mark wrote recently in SNS:

This is not a funeral; it's a birth announcement.

The PC will continue to thrive on the production side of the equation. When it comes to work, you're most likely to use a PC (for example, Dave made this blog post and edited the audio with a PC). 

But when it comes to consumption, other devices are becoming dominant. You can watch movies, read books and listen to music on a PC, but it's usually more comfortable and convenient to use other devices.

Mark sees an exploding market for what he calls the "carry along" form factor, which includes smartphones, tablets, and small laptops (or netbooks). A market that will coexist and overlap with the PC.

On another note...

Last January, when Steve Jobs went on medical leave, Mark predicted Jobs would not be returning to the CEO seat at Apple. That prediction came true last week when Apple announced Jobs was dropping the CEO title and becoming chairman of the board.

Click here to hear Mark's January prediction. He recommended selling Apple stock then, and stands by that recommendation today.

The Digital Future” is a monthly interview with technology expert Mark Anderson covering the online world and all things digital. The feature is published here on the last Tuesday of every month and airs on KPLU 88.5 during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.