Just what is the "post-PC" era, exactly?

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Sure, we've all heard the phrase "post-PC" era bandied about over the past few months. But what does it mean, exactly?

Well, as Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps points out, rumors about the "dying" PC have been greatly exaggerated.

"[Yes], post-PC has been a buzzword [ever] since Steve Jobs announced at the iPad 2 launch event that Apple now gets a majority of its revenue from 'post-PC devices,' including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

"But [this] doesn't mean the PC is dead. [We] forecast that even in the US, a mature market, consumer laptop sales will grow at a CAGR of 8% between 2010 and 2015, and desktop sales will decline only slightly. Even in 2015, when 82 million US consumers will own a tablet, more US consumers will own laptops (140 million)."

However, Epps was quick to acknowledge that the industry was rapidly evolving.

"The news last week showed [us] loud and clear, as Microsoft bet big on Skype's voice and video technology and Google announced partnerships with Samsung and Acer to build laptops running its Chrome operating system.

Samsung Chromebook

"These developments point to a future where computing form factors, interfaces, and operating systems diversify beyond even what we have today."

According to Epps, the PC is currently "morphing" to support computing experiences which are increasingly ubiquitous, casual, intimate and physical.

"The new MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9 demonstrate PCs going in this direction. In the post-PC era, PCs are joined by smartphones and tablets, as well as future devices like wearables and surfaces. 



"Imagine computing via a heads-up display embedded in your eyeglasses or contact lenses or learning about breaking news updates from a change in your electronics-embedded clothing. [Of course], the products that will win have yet to be determined, but the underlying technological and social changes that will drive the post-PC forward are already here," she added.