In tech circles, there’s been a lot of talk lately about how we’re entering a “post-PC era.” The idea is that, because your phone and tablet can do most or all of the things you need a computing device to do, you no longer need a traditional computer at all. Or, as Apple CEO Tim Cook put it when introducing the latest iPad Pro model, “Why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”
Maybe I’m just a grouchy old man clinging to the past, but I don’t see desktop or laptop computers going away anytime soon. They’re so much more convenient for some of our most important tasks that I doubt smartphones and tablets will ever fully replace them.
The case for the post-PC era
There are compelling reasons to think we’re nearing the end of the PC. Laptop and desktop sales have been declining for exactly the same years smartphone and tablet sales have been on the rise. Few people really get excited about the announcement of new PCs in the same way they do about new phones. Vaunted tech commentator Walt Mossberg for The Verge recently compared PCs to furniture to explain how boring they’ve become.
Phones and tablets can indeed do most of the things we used to do on PCs. Heck, they often do them in more convenient ways. They let us connect to social networks, pay bills, check email, and do basic web surfing. They let us take notes and edit photos. You can even use your phone to cash checks. Just the fact that we always have our phone handy makes them much more useful than a computer that sits at home on a desk.