I still see laptops and desctops as tool for creating and tablets for consuming. Maybe PCs will be come like workstations, just for higher-end users. I would not want to do my work on a tablet, even with a keyboard.
Another trend for newer Windows 8 PCs is to have multitouch functional displays. Many early Windows 8 laptops did not have touch screens. This must add a little price to the hardware BOM as well. It does seem to me that Windows 8 wants to be all things to all people but ends up not being optimized for anything. Maybe I'm just a dinosaur, but I don't really want smudgy fingerprints on my laptop screen.
Bestbuy had Lenovo Laptops deal for $ 177 but they ran out; I did see a Dell All in one Desktop for $ 349; But you are right. the offerings were far less and most folks were lining up to buy IPAD Macair etc I3 core and I7 core based PCs were more expensive.
I don't know from IT people, but engineers tend to keep their PC-controlled test and automation systems running for many years. There are still many, many automated systems running XP and a some run Win2K, Win98 and even a few DOS-bsed systems are still out there.
As engineers, we take pride in running old technology, keeping it running long after the masses ran out to buy the latest. I still have three XP machines at home. I'll keep them until they die then buy used Win7 machines.
help.fulguy you are probably correct in that PCs are boring and may not be worth the observation, but they are still a significant portion of the semiconductor market. In the end, it is all about computing devices as a whole.
I haven't seen many people, especially IT professionals, looking for older Windows 7 platforms, but they are delaying the shift to Windows 8/8.1 as long as possible. Much of the shift has to do with the applications and usage models toward mobile devices. However, the higher pricing is only exacerbating that shift.
Based on my observations in Chicago during the US Thanksgiving weekend, the higher price points reflect the shift up in the PC market to what were once 'mid-range' machines. The lower performance machines have been displaced by tablets and smartphones that meet consumers' needs better at those price points and/or usage models.