Steve Jobs’ vaunted ‘Post-PC Era’ never really happened — and likely won’t anytime soon

“As we head toward Apple’s annual device announcement-palooza, it’s an interesting exercise to consider where we are in Steve Jobs’ vaunted, much quoted ‘Post-PC Era,'” Mark Lowenstein writes for Tech.pinions. “The fact of the matter is, that era never fully arrived, and it doesn’t look like it will, in the near- to medium- term future.”

“In just 18 months, we’ll be commemorating the 10th anniversary of the launch of the iPad,” Lowenstein writes. “Initially met with skepticism by many analysts and tech reviewers, the iPad’s quick out-of-the gate success led to Jobs’ famous ‘post-PC era’ quote a mere two months later.”

“My Techpinions colleague Ben Bajarin says that Creative Strategies surveys indicate that only about 10% of tablet users have ‘replaced their PC’ — a number that has held steady for several years,” Lowenstein writes. “And that 10% is concentrated in a handful of industries, such as real estate and construction. PC sales aren’t exactly surging, but they’re steady. Your average white collar professional today still carries around a smartphone and a laptop, with the tablet being an ancillary device, used primarily for media/content consumption… I’m not expecting the average consumer or business professional to be carrying with them a dramatically different mix of device types or # of devices in the medium term.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’ll take awhile, but it the Post-PC Era will come. In 10 years, today’s twelve-year-olds will be hitting the workforce.

We find that there are many older users longing to make iPad work like a laptop, because that’s what they know.

Take a look at a twelve-year-old who’s only really ever used an iPad for personal computing. It’s an eyeopener. It’s like looking into the future.

The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm. — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

SEE ALSO:
As we head toward Apple’s annual device announcement-palooza – July 13, 2018
Adobe to launch full version of Photoshop for iPad in strategy shift – July 13, 2018
Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro has replaced my 12-inch MacBook – December 26, 2017
Apple: With iPad Pro + iOS 11, a post-PC world may be closer than you think – November 17, 2017
Apple’s iPad Pro from the perspective of a college student – October 13, 2017
Apple’s iOS 11 turns the iPad Pro into the only device your family needs – June 28, 2017
Apple’s iPad Pro is now a true photographer’s tool – June 26, 2017
10.5-inch iPad Pro: Back on an Apple computing device, but not in the form I anticipated – June 23, 2017
Apple’s powerful, new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a typing champ – June 22, 2017
Apple’s iPad Pro and iOS 11 will finally kill the MacBook Air – June 21, 2017
How Apple’s iPad Pro’s 120Hz ProMotion technology works – and why it’s awesome! – June 21, 2017
Tim Bajarin: Apple’s iOS 11 finally brings Steve Jobs’ vision for the iPad to life – June 20, 2017
Macworld reviews Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro: ‘If any iPad replaces the MacBook, it’s this one’
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CNBC review: In the market for a new tablet? You should buy Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro – June 17, 2017
TechCrunch reviews new 10.5-inch iPad Pro: ‘Apple pays off its future-of-computing promise’ – June 14, 2017
Apple’s game-changing 12.9- and 10.5-inch iPad Pros arrive in stores – June 13, 2017
Jim Dalrymple reviews Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro: Highly recommended – June 12, 2017
LAPTOP reviews Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro: Amazingly fast performance beats most Windows laptops – June 12, 2017
Ars Technica reviews Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro: Much more ‘pro’ than what it replaces – June 12, 2017
These go to 11: Apple makes iOS more Mac-like and iPad’s promise is finally realized – June 9, 2017

45 Comments

    1. For as long as it is not easy to save, access and work on files on an iPad and for as long as it easier to use a mouse than a touchscreen for selecting text, there will be no post-pc world.

      1. Save, Access, and work on files? Not sure what you mean as anyone who sends/receives text messages or emails with attachments does those things.

        You must be speaking of a specific type of file that’s not created on the iOS device.

        1. “You must be speaking of a specific type of file that’s not created on the iOS device”.

          Yes, I am sure he is, meaning the type of files that the electronic world operates on, and where iOS apps are created!!!!!!!! Desktops? ever heard of them?

          Wow, just wow. It may surprise you to know that there are more file types than e mail, messages and entertainment stuff.

        2. Yes. I think you do know what I mean. Pretending that you don’t does not make accessing, working on and saving files on a iPad any easier. We all have iPads so we all know the difficulty.

    1. Because it has a real keyboard and you don’t have to plug it into a damn iPad. The iPad was a made up product that book derive additional revenue with both the laptop and an iPad I’ll never buy it or only one

  1. “…It’ll take awhile, but it the Post-PC Era will come. In 10 years, today’s twelve-year-olds will be hitting the workforce….”

    Or, the power of devices will continue to be related to size so the PC will always exist because you can cram more technology and capability into a PC than something handheld or worn.

    1. Yeah but the PC Workstation market, who actually cares about it’s users, continues on successfully. The number of lost users and sales because of no Mac Pro is substantial. And many of those pro ain’t coming back. The trick is not to lose them for stupid reasons in the first place.

      1. Maybe Jobs was talking about Apple, otherwise you are right, the trucks that do the heavy lifting, the workstations and desktops are still around and will be for a long time I think. Apple might be dropping out of that. We’ll see at the gather round or next year or the year after that.

        1. Time will tell yeah but those of us who still need workstations will have alternatives. The interesting thing about pros being abandoned by Apple like this is how it makes me feel about them as a company in general. My sense of loyalty faltering greatly, or diminished excitement about anything else they might sell.

          1. I’m interested in seeing if Apple has a rationale for the delay if and when they do release a new version of the Mac Pro. The abandoning situation is something I’ve long learned and dealt with Apple. There may be no legacy support and it’s good to buy the hardware, software and peripherals all at the same time because you just might find yourself abandoned.

        1. Macs decreasing in numbers, OK, provide the facts.

          Doesn’t matter and get this through your thick skull — Pros do pro work and NEED Pro tools.

          Go back to playing games on your iPad …

      2. No doubt!!
        Idiotic mistake… Perplexing!

        I for one am looking forward to a 3d workstaion with Realtime raytracing… and a kick butt curved monitor!
        Realtime raytracing it is a huge leap forward imo and will be available on windows and PCs starting September on through MS DXR and Nvidia RTX technologies ..and at an affordable price!

        Nevertheless … im am holding off from going all in..
        Just want to give Apple a chance with their new Mac pro initiative..
        If they blow it after all this time and offer something with half the capabilty and double the price.. i will be off macOS in a heartbeat.
        There is just no more excuse to offer inferior technology at a premium ..not after all the complaints / letdowns and downright betrayal of thier most avid customer base!
        If they do not impress .. then it tells me they are in LaLa land as far as pros/power users are concerend.. and, imo, strategically on a very wrong path overall !
        i have zero interest in investing in LaLa land.
        My migration from PC to Imac in the halo of iphone/ipad has not been all that impressive.. as a matter of fact it has not impressed at all .( sorry to say)
        So lets see where Apple leads me next..
        Away from them or ???
        I pray they do whatever it takes!!!!

        1. “If they blow it after all this time and offer something with half the capabilty and double the price.. i will be off macOS in a heartbeat.”

          PRECISELY! If the new Mac Pro disappoints as I expect it will with tone deaf clueless executives — I will be GONE day one to Pro PCs …

          1. I feel strongly that Apple learnt a hard lesson with their innovative 2013 Mac Pro – namely, that pro users are not like casual users, who can easily adapt to abrupt design changes, but instead are serious professionals with a long timeline of usage, constrained budgets, and a need to regulate hardware specs to accommodate business-critical software requirements. I’m sure Apple got the memo but they still seemed to think they knew better and could provide leadership through disruption. It didn’t work. They had to go back to the drawing board, philosophically as well as engineering-wise.

            Apple’s hair-pulling delays and protracted silence about the Mac Pro are evidence that they do want to deliver pro solutions. I only say that because of that press conference where they admitted all of this and promised to get it right. If they claim they are working on new hardware, it will eventually show up. It seems they are taking their sweet time about it, but I understand it is not their number-one priority; maybe number two, or three, or ten.. God it hurts no longer being number one to the one you still love, despite that time they left you behind at the hamburger stand.

        2. I pretty much feel the same way. The only reason I stayed Apple’s execution from my next pro lineup was a borrowed 2010 Mac Pro updated well enough to use until I can see what a 2019 Mac Pro might look like. But I’m not optimistic Apple has learned their lessons. In fact I expect most of us will be aghast at the cluelessness of it. I hope I’m wrong.

          1. Peter, my sentiments exactly. I also doubt the arrogant clueless leaders of Apple have the capacity to LISTEN to their users, what, for five years now.

            Day one of the pro announcement will mean two things to yours truly. Either you put out the best pro upgradeable computer the world has ever seen — or I jump to PC forever.

            The ball is in Apples court …

            1. That’s about the size of it my friend. My expensive PC Workstation order is in place with Puget Systems and I’m ready to push the button if need be when the time comes. Hopefully at the next WWDC where Mac Pro’s have been announced in the past.

            2. Amen, brother. Yeah, 2019 Mac Pros are high on my list. If they disappoint, there are better options out there as you have pointed out numerous times. As an Apple owner since 1982, if they fail it will be the saddest day in my computing life to pull the Apple plug …

            3. For me too especially it would be bittersweet since it will no doubt be the very last high end system I ever buy, being in my 60’s and all. I’m an Apple owner since 1992 when I bought a Mac Powerbook 170 and took it to London to work on a movie there. The Brits were impressed with it, as were the Romanians a short time later on another project. I loved the trackball in that thing. Hate all flat surface tracking “mouses.” I still use trackballs but realize they ain’t for everyone.

  2. Post-PC era is a myth for some time to come. Powerful workstations advancing on what we have into the quantum realm will continue to be needed.

    Only if AI arrives and anyone can talk to a computer and create amazing studio quality episodes of the Avengers or Star Wars in their homes or other entertainments will the need begin to wane for business, but the need for more and more powerful computers in general will not. Eventually AI will take that over anyway and humans will be superfluous. We will end up a tiny existence blip on the cosmic timeline.

  3. for about 1/3 of my time the “post pc world” is already here.

    The only reason I haven’t bought another tablet is that my iPhone, does a “good enough job”.

    I suspect that I’ll buy just one more desktop computer and maybe after that, a tablet or a laptop but not both. The only thing I know for certain, my desktop use will go down and my iPhone or tablet use will go up.

    1. and I have an iphone and an ipad in addition to my iMac that I do my work on.

      I do use the iphone many times a day, but I am not sure where in the house my iPad is. It’s know its somewhere in my house, but………doesnt matter that much.

  4. Author is WRONG, Personal computer definition is slightly different now but we can say that peopled most of there personal information/computing(web) on mobile devices. I have seen people conduct all their work on a cell phone, guy/sell, organise, banking, spreadsheets etc…
    More persons own part devices, tablets and chromes than PCs, specially on development countries.
    PCs are used on banks, industries, offices, commerce, cashers. This are all trucks to me. Not personal at all. (device is the same, use is not) look at some numbers https://www.statista.com/statistics/420376/smartphone-tablets-laptops-sales-france/

  5. The post PC era never meant that PCs (and I consider the Mac the most personal of PCs) were going to disappear.

    Each of us (virtually all of us) use pencil/pen and paper to this day even though PCs have been around for more than 40 years. Hell, even by the late 80s and early 90s many of the scientists with whom I worked still used pencil and paper (or chalk and slate) to do their primary work then doing quick numerical checks with handheld calculators then finally running full simulations on mini computers, workstations, or large mainframes/supers. Most still wrote out their papers by hand and had their administrative assistants type things into dedicated word processing machines. All this when the personal computer had declared the “paperless office” was upon us.

    I do more on workstations and big machines than ever. I do use paper and pencil less and less — but still use them daily as well as “whiteboards”. But for the tedious stuff I use personal computers. (Who really wants to work out the world in spherical harmonic vectors by hand anyway?)

    The reality is that the post PC era has started. It won’t come into true fruition until after the next era has actually started.

    When will that happen? No one knows, certainly not me. But, if I had to *guess*, it likely won’t be until 2030 or later. What will that next era be? I have no idea about that either: VR? AR? Holographic interfaces? It’s anybody’s guess at this point.

  6. They’re basing it on an assessment of people who have replaced their PC. Instead, look at folks who, when deciding to buy their FIRST computing device, (for email, staying in touch with friends, etc.) decide on a device that they can always have on them AND that is always connected. For the vast majority of folks, they’ve already reached PostPC and wouldn’t consider something heavier with no cellular connection for their meager needs.

    Sales of PC’s being “steady” is less valid when you consider it’s just a plateau in a long running downward trend. But, like most articles, it’s just click bait using Steve Jobs and a tenuous grip of the facts to drive ad views, so, good job them?

    1. I agree. Right now it is a big iPhone media consumption device. I tried to type an email response and got gorilla arm from the large keyboard. Good for movies and music. Replace a Pro Mac? Get a frickin’ grip .,,

    2. The iPad is not garbage to me but then I don’t use it for any serious work except notes, news, some social media, book reading and entertainment. The iPad screen real estate is fine for that but when I do my pro work I wants LOTS of huge multiple monitors, keyboard, trackball and multi-core power to burn.

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