When I was working from home, I realized that the PC era wasn’t over yet.

“The PC is dead.”

For years after the launch of the iPhone, Android and tablets, I’ve heard that this concept is taken very seriously by experts, including myself. We thought the PC was representative of the past, as touchscreens dominated and keyboards and mice began to look archaic and archaic.

I was ready to buy the hype, and the MacBook became useless, so I decided to replace it with an iPad.

After all, we were all pretty wrong.

Laptop and desktop sales are up about 30% compared to 2019. In 2021, approximately 340 million units were sold worldwide. When Microsoft announced its quarterly results this month, Windows sales were up 25% year-over-year. Instead of becoming extinct or stagnant, PCs continue to grow again in the field of technology.

The reason should be clear to anyone who has worked from home in the last two years. And as we were enthusiastic about declaring the death of the PC, the rumors of that death were greatly exaggerated — and far from seeing the end of the PC, it could stay in the near future.

For clarity, PCs are completely dwarfed by smartphones in terms of importance, sales, and users. Our pocket devices sell in a quarter, almost as much as PCs sell in a year, and the number of users is nearly five times higher. Tablets, on the other hand, make up only one-tenth of the $ 250 billion in annual PC revenue, but app writers spend far more time thinking about the iPad than the average Windows laptop. I’m spending.

It was thanks to that momentum that I replaced my laptop with Apple’s midrange iPad last year. I had a desktop Mac, so when I was out of the house I thought the tablet would be fine. Of course, it’s not so frequent these days.

However, while it’s as fun as using an iPad, it’s still very limiting in many ways. Simple things like being able to display a chat window while using video Hangouts, or annotating a document in the margins, often turn out to be tedious or simply impossible.

Therefore, the appeal of PCs is clear, especially in the post-COVID world. Not only does it significantly increase the screen area for performing operations such as opening video chats and documents at the same time, but it is also built to be able to perform. Quickly do multiple things at once.

Another factor is that the core part of the software is not yet working or does not exist on the mobile platform. Despite significant computing power improvements (for example, the latest iPad Pro is much more powerful than most full computers), major applications such as Photoshop, Office, and other professional software are on tablets. Best for Windows or Mac without.

As a result, many still say that a PC is needed for “real work.”

But some of what’s happening here isn’t as good as a PC is by nature as a tablet is artificially constrained. Apple has little competition when it comes to the iPad, as both Google and Microsoft have almost completely dropped their tablet ambitions on the roadside.

As a result, the iPad can now do much more. For example, you can connect to a monitor (if incomplete) or use external storage, but the lack of real competitiveness means there’s still a long way to go before it’s perfect. .. Functions as a traditional computer.

But the mere fact that these comparisons can be made suggests that while PCs are making amazing profits, as tablets become more and more like PCs, they become more and more like tablets. increase.

As an important example, Microsoft has had real success with the Surface line. It fuses the functionality of tablets and laptops to create an entire 2-in-1 category. Touch screens are now almost standard on Windows laptops. Meanwhile, Apple’s Mac OS now shares its look and functionality with iOS.

Yes, the PC doesn’t go anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t change, but adapts to include the more familiar and accessible dimensions of mobile devices while maintaining the productivity of that classic PC. increase.

The PC renaissance, such as online shopping and remote work, is one of the technological changes caused by the pandemic and, like any other change, can last long after COVID becomes an imminent threat. ..

But the Renaissance, be it technology or art, is not just a return to the past. It’s a return to a particular idea, but it’s been modified to fit the present.

And think about it. Despite my regrets, this column was written on the same iPad that I think is wrong. For now, you may need a PC to do most of the actual work, but even if the PC comes back, that fact may not be true forever.

Navneet Alang is a Toronto-based star freelance contribution technology columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @navalang

When I was working from home, I realized that the PC era wasn’t over yet.

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