Welcome to the Post PC Era


I’m genuinely amazed there’s not a single comment here about how it isn’t possible/practical to write code on a “post-pc” device.

Bar a few specialised industries, how many people can really do all their work on an iPad?


Obligatory xkcd (from 2010): http://xkcd.com/732/


When can I get a damn 2x resolution 27" imac? I’m guessing apple will be first there too (as in double the pixels on the desktop but only use them to make stuff clearer, not make everything smaller), probably on the MacBook air first. Bring it on!


@Mattola Pollardo why would you want to take it to the beach? So those billions of fine grains of sand can blow into ever nook and cranny - especially the charging port?


"I’m genuinely amazed there’s not a single comment here about how it isn’t possible/practical to write code on a “post-pc” device.

Bar a few specialised industries, how many people can really do all their work on an iPad?"

@Jack, I wrote one above. Its absurd to think that I can develop truly be creative on those things and its even more absurd that the marketing einsteins at apple or microsoft or samsung or wherever try to tell me that I could be productive and creative on them. They’re toys and I do have one but its just a toy. Its clumsy, dont try to hand someone the iPad so you can show them something because they’re going to grab it and touch the screen and activate SOMETHING - but what you’re trying to show them will be gone.

It is what it is but its not a true blue desktop workhorse and it wont be for quite some time - if ever.


Surely not really post-PC, simply post-laptop. Desktops have a reason to exist, and will do so. It’s laptops that don’t, really. The half or dozen or so people worldwide who really do write a novel in a coffeshop don’t really consitute much of a market…


Why on earth would I want to buy a new system that I would use most of the time with about as much power as a 5 year old (now outdated) PC and a display that’s even smaller? Granted, the higher PPI sure looks good, but I like bigger displays of sufficient resolution more than smaller displays with insane resolution. I remember reading somewhere: why am I watching netflix on a tiny ipad when there’s a 50" TV in front of me?

Again, hard to imagine any kind of serious content creation on these things. I’ve never heard of anyone editing video on an ipad. Coding might end up with me stabbing someone, and virtualization certainly isn’t happening either.

And speaking of post-pc sales numbers, why are post-pc devices being thrown into pc sales (therefore making Apple the #1 pc company in terms of sales)? Either they are PCs, or they are post-pcs and don’t throw them in with pcs. Just goes to show that the entire news culture is part of the Apple cult. It sickens me that it’s headline making news when there’s a new Macbook pro/air/imac/mac pro (or even if there’s a shortage of them), but no one gives a crap whenever there’s a new Dell XPS or HP notebook.


I am excited for the next gen MacBookPro that has this same display. Seems like the next natural progression. Thanks for the perspective Jeff. I had considered buying several ipad2 units for my wide and kids but you are correct. Why? A hundred bucks buys more than double the experience


But until the iPhone and iPad, near as I can tell, nobody else was even trying to improve resolution on computer displays – even though all the existing HCI research tells us that higher resolution displays are a deep fundamental improvement in computing.

Actually, the original Droid had a 265ppi display, which was released in October 2009. I attended a seminar by Edward Tufte in April 2010, and he specifically pointed out the high resolution display of the Droid. The iPhone 3GS had a 163ppi display.

The funny thing is that Motorola didn’t have Apple’s marketing skills, and the high resolution display wasn’t given much fanfare.

The iPhone 4 and its 326ppi Retina Display™ wouldn’t come out until June 2010.


Ajbrehm: the reason websites split content up into multiple pages now isn’t because they’re following his accessibility guidelines - they’re doing it to increase page & ad views.

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the one thing about that graph that bugs me: iPhones, iPods and iPads, in general, cost significantly less than Mac devices. I think that has a fairly significant impact on number of sales. Not to mention, people will replace their iPhone generally every 2-3 years or so, whereas people are going to go a bit longer before they replace their Mac (also due to that difference in price). And you also really need to be looking at the slope of the Mac graph over the last 5 or 10 years. It’s fun to compare to the start of life for the Mac line, but let’s be realistic: the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad were all born into a VASTLY different consumer tech environment than was the Mac.


iOS hasn’t supplanted Unix - it’s derived from Unix, and validates its good design.

As impressive as these devices are, I’m glad I still can have my clunky old PC’s where I can remove and add hardware and software as I like.


The graph, although interesting, tries to compare devices which are not comparable.

For one, the relative price of the various “computers” is very different, I have no doubt that if the Apple II cost the equivalent of 400 USD when it was launched way more people would have bought it.

Then comes the intended usage. Apple II had a very limited use (either pure office work, or some nebulous programming). What is today the use of mass spectrometers in the general population? Pretty abysmal. They are very useful devices, though (especially if you watch NCIS).

The iDevices graphs have roughly the same slope, the iPhone being also a phone (which adds functionality = expected increased consumption).

So all in all the results are not that surprising.


It would only be post-pc if we could sell all our computers and still get our jobs done. Not even close. I still need three monitors (and a few more would be better) as well as a large keyboard and a mouse.

Granted, I am a developer, so I need more specialized hardware, but even our secretaries would struggle terribly trying to look up phone numbers and addresses on a relative clunker like the ipad3.

At home, I have the same problem. I can’t do anything useful without an actual computer. I have a tablet, and I love it, but I still need the PC. Until tablets get more useful so that you can actually do real work with them, we are still going to need to the pc.

I don’t know that you will ever be able to do real work with such a small screen.


As a sidebar, when printing went digital in the late 80s/early 90s images that were processed digitally were “high” resolution at 300dpi. Those high resolution images were used when printing in 175lpi glossy magazines and travel brochures. With the retina display of the new iPad approaching this resolution, it’s “close enough” to the same quality of a high quality glossy magazine and designed to be held and used at the same distance.

I’m sure Samsung will also have an HR display tablet soon™ (although I don’t follow the tech that much) for the Galaxy tablets. The “post PC era” is true for the general public, but (at the moment) you still need a desktop/laptop/workstation for specific tasks, that aren’t going away anytime soon, including programming applications for the devices coming up in the “post PC” era.


@Huh Huh,

You’re making the classic mistake of thinking that just because something’s not right for you, it’s not right for anyone.

To completely rip of Steve Jobs, the desktop is a pickup truck, the iPad is a tiny car.

Some people need a pickup truck, because they do certain things, in the IT world say they are compiling code (although, with the iPad you can just SSH to a server and using VIM code just fine on it, but that’s besides the point).

But most people out there just need the “small car”, so browsing or maybe they just need to read/make do changes to MS Office (or equivalent) documents, all of which is so incredibly easy on the iPad.

I code across multiple languages for a living, so I need a pickup truck and I’m cool with that, but that doesn’t mean I have to force my parents to drive one when all they want to do is surf the net, email and look at pictures of their grand kids.


Re: stuff about “open”. Come on now, we all know Android isn’t “open”, even the most staunch Google supporters would agree with that. Also, what innovation has Android given us lately? Every Android tablet so far as been much worse than the iPad, can’t be updated, has horrible battery life and a low customer satisfaction rating.


Yes, that beautiful new display is completely necessary when half of it is filled with the image of a keyboard. Try as we might we can barely find a use for the ipad in our household regardless of how crystal clear the display becomes.


Having a 4th-gen iPod Touch w/ Retina, the pixelly mess of the 1st/2nd-gen iPads were distractingly obvious. If I owned both, I’d probably get used to the iPad because I’d use it more frequently for the expanded space, but given a choice between Retina/non-Retina iPad? That upgrade alone is easily worth $100.

Now if we could get PC display manufacturers to make Retina-class 3840x2560 displays…


The Post-PC world was declared back in 1998 as a result of the Palm Pilot. I first saw it in Infoworld. I found this posting of a Red Herring article from back then about top 10 trends of Post-PC computing.


Odd, no mention of Apple. You’d think if Apple invented this term… :slight_smile:

I like my iPad, but the reality is it’s a complementary device to my PC. It doesn’t replace it. To make it a replacement would involve making it into a PC.

So from my point of view, mobile phones and tablets have expanded my computing abilities. I’m able to do things today I didn’t use to be able to do. That’s what is meant by the Post-PC world. It doesn’t mean the PC is going away, it just means the PC is no longer the center of your computing power.


I agree with part of what Castaa said. I will always use a pc if I need to compose anything longer than my email address. In fact, having to screen type in my email address is painful. The next major problem that must be solved is input. I still think innovations like keyboards on the back of a tablet have promise. However, I still hope for a brain wave interface :stuck_out_tongue:


There’s one thing left for the world to go into the post PC era I guess. Build apps on the tablet/smartphone. It would be cool if we could write code, add server and test our apps all on our tab/phone. That would just complete the post PC transition complete.