I have a more positive spin on this, the PC market is 'right-sizing' since for many consumers, a PC is overkill for that they do and are better served by a smartphone and/or tablet. But there are many business and industrial applications that remain, so we will see the market stabilize. I can't imagine running SPICE or Modelsim on an iPhone or an iPad, at least for the next 3-5 years foreseeable! :)
I agree with the "right-sizing" comment completely. I have a hard time believing, though, that PCs would be limited to industrial or business uses.
Unless high school and college students have gone back to operating as they did 40 years ago, I can't see them doing meaningful school work, research papers, lab reports, computer models, photography courses, class presentations of all types, etc., on tablets and smartphones.
So which is it? Do most school kids now use typewriters and head to the library to do their research? Or has school work really evolved into something superficial and trivial?
You are right, to actually do 'work' you need a PC.
The problem for the PC market is the technology improvements are now very minimal - even for high end PC's used for gaming and advanced tech.
to do 'work' most people can easily use Windows XP, and a pc made in 2003.
The problem for the industry, isn't people don't need PC's anymore, it's people are not upgrading, like they used to.
I agree with Jaslam. Processors' performance has been improving over years. To most people, upgrading to the latest doesn't happen often like before. This applies even for gamers. To get most out of a latest game, all you need to do is to upgrade the graphic card and put in some more memory. Personally, I am still using my 5 years old mac for work and most of my personal stuff. In addition, I still have a couple 8-10 years old laptop laying around just in case I need it. To heavy work, my 7 years old desktop of 4 cores processor with 32G of RAM will get through almost everything.
One thing for sure is not everyone needs a PC. Students and engineers will always need one until a tablet can really become a productivity device.
Speaking of Windows 8, I'm a bit disappointed of the sales. It's really a good device and Windows 8 is really a game changer. What's really keeping people from going to Windows 8? The reputation of MS?
I understand that many college students have a laptop back at the dorm, but more and more are carrying a tablet in their backpacks. As tablets become more capable the laptop back at the dorm may get less use. Especially for liberal arts majors.
Many corporations are very conservative. Where I work we are just now changing from Windows XP to Windows 7. I imagine it will be several more years before we upgrade to the next OS - probably Windows 9 or 10 :-)