Steve Jobs proclaimed, not the death of the PC, but change; change implemented by Apple’s iconic iPad line which heralded the post-PC era. The problem with reality is that it’s often at odds with what we think the future will bring. iPads, the leader of the post-PC era, are falling in sales. Yet, Apple CEO Tim Cook has tripled down on the iPad’s future.
It’s Mobile, Stupid!
The real post-PC era is already here, helped along a bit by the iPad and similarly sized tablets, but the revolution isn’t tablet-based. It’s mobile devices that form the basis of the post-PC era. Yet, here’s Tim Cook, ever the iPad champion, talking as if people in the future will ditch their Windows and Mac notebooks and use an iPad instead.
It will happen. But it won’t happen everywhere and it won’t happen all at once because the post-PC era is about lightweight, internet connected mobile devices, of which tablets– and the iPad– play a minor part. What has happened already is that more people are buying iPads than buying Macs, despite the former’s falling sales, and the latter’s quarterly sales records.
Researchers claim tablet usage is growing, and no tablet has more full-on internet connected usage than Apple’s iPad line, yet sales continue to fall. What does Tim Cook know about the new and future iPads that we don’t know?
Actually, we do know. It’s all about power. Until the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and the iPad Pro, the iPad was little more than a big iPhone with a giant screen and no phone. iPad, though it had tens of thousands more apps and games than a Mac, just was not powerful enough to unhook people from their Macs and Windows PCs– or their iPhones– to make the iPad’s presence in the post-PC era more of a pivotal event.
Change has this way of happening when we least expect it. The new iPhone 6s line, and the new iPad Pro, mark a jump in power and performance for Apple’s mobile devices. The A9 CPU in the iPhone benchmarks at roughly the same numbers as a new MacBook with Intel Inside. That’s a watershed moment, an event where the old is about to be outmuscled by the new; where traditional devices– entry-level notebooks and the MacBook in particular– are being eclipsed in both power and usability– not to mention price, app selection, and mobility– by top-of-the-line tablets, with iPad and iPhone as the leaders of the revolution.
To be fair, notebook PCs are anything but dead. Even the entry-level MacBook carries plenty of power and flexibility; it runs OS X, Windows, Linux, and most flavors of Unix, and sometimes all at the same time. You won’t see an iPad do that, but it doesn’t have to. The iPad, despite more power, flashier graphics, and a high resolution screen, hasn’t changed much since the introduction in 2010. Improvements have been incremental; iterative in nature, but collectively, the latest iPad Pro and iPhone 6s Plus, are nearly as powerful in functionality as a MacBook, and Tim Cook knows what advances Apple has in the pipeline, and it may be the post-PC era, the mobile revolution Apple inspired is about to move steadily into the enterprise and the home.