The post-PC era was an illusion

The post-PC era was an illusion

Data doesn’t lie. They didn’t do so three months ago, when tablet sales declined 14.2% year-on-year according to IDC, and they don’t do so now, when the same consultancy published New (and sad) sales report: Units sold in the fourth quarter of the year declined even further: 17.4% less than the same period last year.

In fact, the consulting firm grows by sharing the units distributed annually. There were 128.5 million tablets in 2023, which is certainly a high number until we compare it to 2022, which had 161.6 million: 20.5% less. Horrible.

No one is saved from falling. Absolute market leader (37.8% share) Apple sold 19.8% less in 2023 than in 2022. The Cupertino firm was a great driver of this market, but last year something unusual happened: Not a single iPad was introduced To renew its catalogue.

Others are also not doing very well. Samsung sold 13.9% less, but at least it can take solace in the fact that its market share has increased and is (slightly) closer to Apple with 20.4% share.

While Huawei suffered the least loss (4%) Amazon tablets drowned With a spectacular decline of 65.9%. Despite the fact that the company introduced two more ambitious models last year: the renewed Fire HD 10 and especially the Fire Max 11, the company does not see any luck with this format.

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From the post-PC era, nothing

In 2015, when tablets were on the rise and smartphones were already established, it seemed as if Apple had hit a major milestone with the launch of its iPad. The data shared by John Gruber at Daring Fireball certainly points to the consolidation of that “post-PC era” that has been talked about for some time. PCs as we knew them no longer matter as much, and people have started using smartphones and even iPads more.

but then It became clear that in the post-PC era, nothing, It’s true that PC sales have been declining for years, but things are not that bad. In fact, even taking the timing of the pandemic out of the equation (there was a spectacular rebound due to the confinement), the situation, though not ideal, is reasonable.

In fact, according to Canalys data, 246.99 million units were distributed in 2023: even with a decline of 12.9% compared to the previous year, two computers are sold for every tablet.

And they probably do so for (at least) an obvious reason: if one wants to create content, a mouse and keyboard combined with a desktop operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux) is still the ideal choice.

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The PC may not raise its head, but Your proposal is as valid today as it was 30 or 40 years ago., It is true that many of its functions have been transferred to the mobile phone – which is basically a pocket PC – but its presence, especially in the workplace, is undeniable.

It doesn’t seem that the future of the PC is particularly in danger. The gaming sector has strengthened its presence in that sector, and although desktop PCs for work are no longer popular, it seems that laptops have regained a certain joy and are increasing in their sales at least in the first half of 2023. developed.

He is also involved with all this Growing interest in AI And Counterpoint noted its (theoretical) promising future in PCs and laptops, noting how 50% of devices sold in 2024 will have AI components “provided by at least one NPU (neural processing unit) or AI accelerator equipped in the PC.” Will be done.” CPU and GPU.”

Meanwhile, the future of tablets is already complicated. At IDC he noted a difficult economic situation – which has implications for other tech categories – and highlighted how “tablets may not be very high on the priority list.”

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They also highlight how “technological advancements around AI will focus more on PCs and smartphones over the next two years, but tablets will gradually become part of that conversation.” It is to be expected that if these assessments are met, there will be an AI effect on tablets that will leave them in the background.

That doesn’t mean tablets don’t still offer a value proposition: they still Great product while consuming content And even to produce them in some scenarios, but they have never posed any real threat to PCs – in any case, that would be smartphones – and they have led to that famous post-PC era. Didn’t start. If we’re in an era, it’s that of the “Multi-PC,” as more and more products can behave like computers across multiple tasks.

In others, yes, it will be difficult to get them out of the way. Tablets have certainly tried – Apple hasn’t stopped offering more and more macOS alternatives to the iPad OS – but they haven’t changed the landscape much… and it doesn’t look like they will in the short term.


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