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“Post PC” Doesn’t Mean “Sans PC”

“Post PC” Doesn’t Mean “Sans PC”

Michael Gartenberg weighs in on the “post PC” argument started by Steve Jobs at the iPad 2 media event, when he said devices like the iPad are the perfect example of the “post PC” technology era we’re living in:

The iPad and other devices are not here to displace the PC (by which I mean all personal computers, whether they’re Macs or PCs running Windows). In fact, post PC means after PC, a new generation of products that build on the PC. What it doesn’t mean is sans PC, that is, without PC. The personal computer will no doubt be with us for a very long time… but that doesn’t mean we’re not in the post-PC world.

Gartenberg is right, I don’t think Steve Jobs meant “iPads will replace desktop computers in the next 12 months” – rather, something more like “We’ve seen the numbers, and the iPad is clearly a device different from computers that average users actually want to buy”.

Think about it: iPads can’t “replace” Macs yet if only because a Mac is needed to develop iOS apps. And of course, hundreds of other tasks iOS devices still can’t perform. For this reason I think associating “post PC” with “replacing” is a wrong assumption. It’s obvious the iPad can’t replace a desktop Mac – and yes, also because of the cable that’s needed to sync content. But are we seeing a trend? Yes. And what about 10 years from now – what will the average PC sold at Best Buy look like?

“Post” doesn’t mean “sans”, but the post-PC era has definitely started.