Timothy Cook says he believes PCs are “dead.” That’s a wish. It’s not reality. I plan to buy a replacement for my Microsoft Surface Pro sometime soon. It won’t be another Microsoft Surface. I like the Surface but two years after buying it, the tablet-PC combo is showing me its limits. I plan to replace it with another portable computer but one with a faster processor, bigger memory and larger hard drive. That is, a PC.
My 11 years old niece also wants a laptop. Her first high-tech device of that genre was a tablet. It’s long dead. She has an Apple iPhone but she still wants a laptop. “I need it for homework,” she said during the same week that Cook, CEO of Apple, pronounced the end of the PC.
“Why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?” Cook said during a recent visit in Europe.
I could give Mr. Cook a bunch of reasons but instead I would suggest that he ask the folks who bought 21 million Apple Mac computers during the company’s fiscal year that ended in September. Of course that’s only 7 percent of the 300 million devices Apple sold during the 12-month period. As a writer pointed out, however, Cook may believe what he said about the PC but that hasn’t stopped Apple from making and selling computers.
More seriously, why is it still too early to write the obituary of the PC? First, as outlined above, people are still buying and using PCs. I am one of those who expect to keep using PCs for the foreseeable future. The utility and versatility of the PC haven’t been matched by the replacements being hawked around today, including the iPad Pro, which Cook was promoting in the U.K. Those of us who use PCs do so because tablets and smartphones do not completely satisfy our needs.
I write a lot and I don’t look forward to doing my work on a tablet. I own one but it cannot match even my limited Microsoft Surface and its tiny keyboard. I also review and manipulate large files on an extra display when in the office. I like to open numerous applications and multiple files at the same time because I often need to reference these documents. The tablet, pro or ordinary, is too limiting.
There’s a place, undoubtedly, for the tablet and smartphones, even in the world of PC-centric folks like myself. We appreciate these devices and we use them at the right time and for the right functions. As for the PC, one day all of its most compelling functions will be provided by another product. Tablets already do many of these, hence the jump in their shipment and the sharp decline in PC sales.
Today, though, the reported death of the PC is very misleading. Even school kids know enough to add, rather than eliminate, the PC from their collection of electronic devices.