Apple’s Steve Jobs killed the netbook – is the PC next?

Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld, “Steve Jobs saw it coming. He explicitly referred to netbooks during the iPad launch, dismissing the whole category as follows: ‘They’re slow, they have low quality displays and they run clunky old PC software. They’re not better than a laptop at anything, they’re just cheaper: they’re just cheap laptops. We don’t think they’re a third category device, but we think we’ve got something that is, and we’d like to show it to you today for the first time. And we call it, the iPad,’ he said.”

“See, Jobs was right. These things might have been cheap, but they had no legitimacy beyond their status as a cheap laptop. As soon as a choice hit the market, consumers adopted a device that gave them something better and the iPad beat them on battery life, functionality and design,” Evans writes. “Netbook sales collapsed, falling from 32.14 million units in 2010 to a projected 3.97 million netbooks this year, the analysts claim, down 72 percent from 2012.”

“The iPad now accounts for one out of every six computers shipped and the huge decline in recent PC shipments shows shoppers are either slowing down planned purchases in response to the stark prevailing economic melt down, or adopting cheaper, cooler devices, such as an iPad. This pattern is going to continue, and if you extrapolate it it becomes pretty clear it isn’t just the netbook the iPad is devouring — it’s the PC,” ,” Evans writes. “Call it post- or plus-PC (semantics are just nature’s way for smug people to look smart) the effect will be the same — it won’t be long now until your iPad will be the first PC you buy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Like most things, Steve Jobs certainly did see it coming:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars… PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. – Steve Jobs, June 1, 2010

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    1. The very idea of getting smeary finger smudges all over my screen turns my stomach. I’ve seen them at the Windows store with the germs of a thousand strangers all over them. A touch screen iMac is an abomination I never want to encounter. Ever.

        1. The hover is a non-starter. In the old days of plastic film covered LCD monitors, everyone I worked with when pointing to something on my screen would poke or touch the display and potentially wreck the LCD.

          On the other hand, I have learned from childhood to wash my hands frequently during the day so that when I touch my iPad, it does not get ‘messy’.

  1. Here’s what I’d like to see– iHome, a home data appliance that quickly and seamlessly serves up files and media to i devices and macs.

    I started with itunes 3 and have been building up media ever since — music, tv shows, movies, epubs, magazines on PDF, a collection of cbz and cbr files that would have taken up a floor of my houses as paper in long boxes.

    The stuff is far too much to ever store on iCloud. I have a stack of external hard drives. Itunes is completely incapable of handling my collection–it’s flat file database is far too slow and, more importantly, above a certain number of tracks itunes chokes trying to export the file list through AirPlay and also won’t make the library accessible through the remote app.

  2. iPad won’t devour the PC, they’ll be around for years.

    But it will devour all the growth and profits in the PC space. Expect some serious consolidation in the next 2 years.

    1. Essentially a lot of the consumer market for PC’s will dwindle and the business side won’t upgrade nearly as often. Not that they upgrade all that quickly NOW. But it’s a miscalculation for Microsoft to put those tiles into an operating system that will really end up more for business and the tile thing is an anathema to them. What a joy it is to see Microsoft get their comeuppance at last, thinking too their s**t don’t stink. The Peter Principle is alive and well in Redmond.

  3. Netbooks wiped out. Rest in Pieces. Next, PC?

    P.C. I think of Pickett’s Charge—the last gasp of Confederate forces at Gettysburg, obliterated by the Union cannonade.

    The remnants of Lee’s army pulled back across the river, and Meade let them go. More fighting lay ahead, but a strange new sense of foreboding prickled everyone’s skin like the drifting, acrid smoke. The world had changed.

  4. I’m AMAZED how media is very quick to spread predictions from losers like how the new crapberry will outspcace Apple, how the Nokia and windows phone will be the king of the hill, how apple is domed and things like that with absolutely no evidence and all statistics against their predictions.

    But when it comes to Steve Job’s predictions or apple products, that year after year have proved to be accurate and beat every record, “ANALyst” just ignore those facts and stick to spread they usually lame rumors and predictions.

  5. I think for a lot of people the PC will be dead. It will live on in the enterprise and various fields where it is needed but MS’s dream of a PC on every desk is over and done.

  6. Since “truck drivers” are going to be the only ones using Macs moving forward, how about Apple focuses more its Mac efforts serving its professional users?

    They don’t need annual OS X updates with mostly useless consumer-focused features. What they need are new Mac Pros, refreshed on a reasonable schedule.

  7. How can you do FCP X on an ARM chip? You can’t. Will Apple stop making Macs? I want ny MTV,…. or a REAL pc, on the go.
    Apple picked a WEAK chip for it’s tablet. So you CAN’T just put a fully functional OS X on it.

  8. ♪ Imagine there’s no Microsoft!
    It’s easy if you try.
    The end of the Computer Dark Age!
    The future, ours to fly. ♫

    ♪ Imagine all the computers!
    Giving us a life of peace…
    Woohooo ooo ooo! ♪

    ♫ You may think that I’m a dreamer.
    But I’m not the only one.
    I hope some day you will join us!
    Kicking Gates and Ballmer in the bum! ♪

  9. I do t get it.
    I have never understood the difference between a laptop, notebook and a netbook. They are all portable PCs… Netbook is just the new evolution, the new spec. It’s thiner, lighter etc. but it’s still a laptop… I think the rest of the laptop space will go away and we will only have netbooks. This is the evolution. Why go back to a thicker heavier device. That would be stupid.

  10. Both will live together, but tablets, smartphone and wearing computers will take more and more user time from the traditional computers. As Steve said, trucks are still used today, they just are not the main vehicles on the roads anymore.

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