If your 4 year old laptop still meets your needs, how important is it to you to upgrade to the latest model? More important than joining the tablet revolution? Probably not.
Then, the question we need to ask ourselves is this: Four years from now, when we do need to upgrade our laptops, do we actually upgrade them, or by then, we may have something neither a laptop nor a present-day tablet and we'd just buy one of those?
My daughter, who is almost 8 now, has had an iPad for a year. She loves it. A few years back, in the PC era, a 7 year old kid did not have their own computer or laptop - she would have used the home computer. This is a completely new market and only tablets serve this market. For a kid,I don't think I could give a laptop as a present now - they would not take it. This is one market that PCs just do not work now.
Although some consumers may truly be "ditching" the desktop PC, anecdotally it seems to me much more likely that they are simply keeping their existing desktop PC -- which works fine for them -- and are not motivated to upgrade to a newer model. To a lesser extent, I think the same is true for laptops. If your 4 year old laptop still meets your needs, how important is it to you to upgrade to the latest model? More important than joining the tablet revolution? Probably not.
I don't want to get this off track, but my son is in college and living at home, so I get to observe his needs. It seems that college guys are now doing most of their class assignments, including research papers, using online applications. This apparently is so that graders can readily utilize anti-plagiarism tools to check the papers for originality.
Even math assignments are done online nowadays, which I believe is a terrible idea. I've found that I remember everything I write, but only half of what I type.
In any event, even business majors will find a PC essential to graduation, as they will all be generating lots of those nasty spreadsheets long before they graduate. Even if a guy can graduate from a university with only a tablet, there's simply no way he will make it in the "real" world without eventually needing a PC or at the very least a tablet PC.
Of course, anything can change, but the discussion here is about how much power is needed for real work. My CEO only travels with a tablet these days, but he has people doing all the real work for him! I need to get my myself promoted most definitely . . .
I think maybe you would be blown away by how capable modern tablets are! Sounds like you haven't used one in some time. I happily type away using my bluetooth keyboard while listening to music in one app and swapping back and forth between multiple references while I write (as my job).
Did I mention the screen is almost as big as my laptop?
That being said, There are big shortfalls that I had hoped the surface2 would solve (and it may have, I haven't used it). Namely USB host and yes, to one of your points, multiple apps on the screen at once.
I don't think this will even be a debatable thing in the near future though. Why draw the distinction between the desktop and the mobile? I'm more interested in the distinction drawn between the types of operating systems (full OS vs appliance).
Well, not that odd, Caleb. Just one simple example. How many references do you have to have available, while writing any sort of half way non-trivial paper? And what are all these references? Paper books you had to go to the library to check out?
How many tablets allow you to have a lot of open documents simultaneously available, either on a large screen or even on multiple screens?
And of the one tiny screen available on the average tablet, how much screen real estate do you have left, if a good chunk of it is taken up by a virtual keyboard?
I can't fathom what people do at their jobs, at school, or even at home when not just reading the online news perhaps, to be able to get by with just a tablet.
it is an odd assumption to think that you can't do research or write a thesis paper on a tablet. though I do agree that many can't do all of their work on one, there are also many who can. I actually can't think of a single part of my education that would have required more than a current tablet can offer. Then again, I never did any fancy simulations or anything, so I'm back to anecdotal stuff.
Actually, I don't think the numbers say what the trade press keeps insisting. The numbers are only saying that people bought a bunch of PCs in the past, and now they're having more fun buying new smartphones and tablets. It doesn't say that they are ditching their PCs.
The average joe appears to be amazingly un-analytical. Our own documents person was also enthusiastic about tablets and smartphones, to the point that she thought she'd never use a PC. But then I asked her some really basic questions, like okay, now do all your work on that tablet. Oh, yeah.
If tablets get more PC-like, perhaps PCs will fade away and be replaced by this new cross-over product. Every time one of these articles comes up, as they do periodically, the same points and counterpoints gate made.
But again, just looking at school-age and college-age kids, just how trivial would their education be, if all they ever needed while going to school was a iPad-like tablet? And all they ever did was e-mail and a little light web browsing? Or is it that schools are back to using typerwiters?
I think the numbers speak for themselves here. A LOT of people use a PC only for what can be done online. While anecdotally you may not see many homes without a desktop, they're becoming far more common than you might think. Many that do have desktops are finding that they can often carry out their desired task on their mobile device quicker than it takes for the old beasts to boot up.
The only reason there is a desktop in my home is because I wanted a beast for some hobby game development. (of course, there are 4 laptops and 2 tablets in my home as well).