Remember what the pads and smartphones are designed on, A workstation or several PCs.
The PC is not going away as it has high-end applications that need to be fulfilled on a Worlstation or High-End PC.
I have a Mac Laptop and a netbook. The netbook I use in the bedroom when I just want to look somethink up and it is excellent for that. Other than the external Camera I could use it as a WifFi Pad.
I guess you have missed the fact that almost all of pc makers are releasing new hardware and form factors to go along with windows 8. This includes tablet/hybrids, touch screens, and more advanced touch pads.
First off, good number of folks probably have no interest in trying to update an operating system--for even the mnimally tech savvy, it's hard to understand, but for many folks that exceeds their comfort level. Secondly, why buy a PC and then have to shell out more for an OS upgrade, when you can just wait a bit and get the latest OS? Thirdly, while you can upgrade your PC to Win8, you can't upgrade your PC to touchscreen, and that's a compelling enough option for many folks to wait.
On your second point, I believe you are correct, mostly. x86 is not a niche. But it sure does seem to be heading in that direction.
Why on earth would anyone put off buying a PC, just because a different version of Windows is coming out? Don't these geniuses know that you can update the OS?
Used to be that competing against Intel with another x86 architecture uP was a decent business proposition. But it seems to me that these days, there are just too many other architectures competing against x86, that perhaps that market niche is gone?
We've been watching this train wreck in slow motion for years now. This is especially bad for the Markham office, formerly ATI. In the words of a colleague, "Dave Orton really screwed everyone in Markham. Couldn't have sold to a worse company..."