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★ To PC or not to PC

Shawn on the “iPad-as-PC” debate, piecing together the views both for and against, concluding with a resounding “Yay”;


Matthew Panzarino:
Look, tablets are PCs, get over it.

Andy Faust:
It’s replacing people’s needs for traditional computing environments in the home and office, and people are buying it in record numbers.

Wikipedia (from the definition of “Personal Computer”):
A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator.


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes:
I agree with Moorhead, it’s time to stop the madness. If tablets are classed as PCs then why not smartphones? Or smartfridges? Or digital watches?

There’s plenty more in there, I’d recommend you read the article in full. Shawn goes on to make the argument that MG also made, an argument that doesn’t really sit that well with me.

That is exactly the point. There will come a time when the majority of consumers who are in the market for a new personal computer will consider (and buy) an iPad or other tablet rather than a laptop or desktop computer. And when that time comes, the debate about the iPad being a PC or not will be over.
The market will decide that the iPad is a PC by buying them instead of laptops and desktops.

I’d say the reason we’re in this situation is because the IBM/Windows/Wintel machines dominated the market in the 90’s, subsuming the definition of PC away from a general, all-purpose machine — to a box that ran Windows.

Claiming that the market will resolve this argument doesn’t fill me with much confidence.

Ultimately, I agree with Shawn that the iPad is fundamentally a PC. It’s the most versatile PC I’ve ever owned or used (perhaps with the exception of the 11# Macbook Air), but I still think we’re missing the bigger picture here. The real innovation in this post-pc world, the real game changer Apple has made with the iPad and the iPhone — is to introduce computing into contexts where before there was none.

For millions of people, an iPad is a perfectly good replacement for their laptop or desktop. They just don’t know it yet.

I actually don’t care if someone can’t see a reason to trade their current (desktop or laptop) PC for an iPad. I really don’t.

I do care, however, about the doctors now suddenly able to deliver news and information electronically when and where they need to. I do care about the construction site foreman who can refer to building plans or drawings without needing to dry them out first (I’ve actually seen this happen). I do care about the 12 year old app developers who have begun crafting software apps for the sheer fun of it (plus a little bit of pocket money).

If, today you look at the iPad and think: “now, that couldn’t possibly replace my current setup”, I’d also go so far as to say that you’re not even Apple’s target customer.

The iPhone/iPad/iOS combo has brought fun, interactive, experience based computing to places and uses nobody could have imagined 4-5 years ago. The iPad is a PC, but only because that’s all it can be compared to right now. Truth is, the iPad is so much more than a PC, and what we’re seeing today is just the tip of the iceberg.