The PC is dead, and other tech myths
posted at 4:01 pm on July 6, 2013 by Jazz Shaw
Four things you might have thought you knew, but which might not be true, as brought to you by the geek section of Real Clear Politics. I found at least three of them directly relevant to me, and the fourth one is doubtless of interest (or at least a subject of heated debate) for many of the rest of you. How many of these things are true and how many are just inaccurate popular perception?
The first one is that the desktop PC is dead.
While we certainly recognize that many computer experiences that previously required a PC (email, web surfing) no longer do (and PC sales are slumping and mobile device sales are surging precisely for this reason), we think it’s premature in the extreme to sound the death knell for the PC.
If it’s a myth, it’s certainly one I was taken in by. I built my own desktop PCs for more than the last decade, (a decision driven by the fact that I used to do some heavy duty gaming on my machines) but the last desktop PCs in my house are now out of commission and heading for the scrap yard. Both of us now use laptops full time. However, the authors note that some gamers will still insist on using a PC, particularly for the full, traditional keyboard. (I don’t game on computers anymore, just my Playstation, so I suppose that’s possible.) They also note that business applications frequently benefit from using dual monitors on a larger desk, giving a leg up to the traditional PC. Are any of you still strictly PC users?
Next up, America’s internet access is awful.
That America has sub-standard internet access is something of an article of faith among many tech journalists. But the truth is America’s internet speeds aren’t all that bad on a global basis. According to the global network provider Akamai, the U.S. ranked eighth in the world with internet speeds of 7.4Mbps.
I don’t travel internationally enough to have any anecdotal evidence to offer on this one. I’ve heard people complain about it, but at least in the places I travel to, my experience has been that high speed internet access is pretty ubiquitous in the US. I’m sure that some of the more rural areas are still getting by on sub-par speeds, but I’ve also felt it was just “a matter of time” before everyone was up and on board. Are the speeds really that much faster and more widely available in Europe and Asia? I guess Japan might have the jump on us.
Third, low cost, internet streaming video is going to kill cable television.
The advent of low-cost, all-you-can stream internet video was seen as the death knell for the hated TV industry. And while cable TV subscriptions have fallen off from their peak, traditional pay TV (i.e. from cable, phone or satellite providers) is still generally healthy.
I suppose I tend to “believe” this one, given the number of younger people I see watching TV shows on their phones and tablets when I travel. And I have frequently been mocked on Twitter when I talk about “missing” some show I wanted to watch, generally by people who brag about not having had to sit through a commercial for years now. I still don’t even have a DVR. The closest I’ve come to this “unplugged” world of watching television is finally figuring out the On Demand feature on Time Warner to watch some shows which already aired.
But my big question is, how do these mobile devices get around the fact that it’s the content providers, not the deliverers, who control the flow of entertainment media? When it’s all said and done, you still need something to broadcast which people will actually watch.
And finally, (and of the least interest to me) Apple is no longer innovative.
It wasn’t long after Apple reached its stunning valuation that critics began to question the company’s capacity for innovation. Where, they wondered, were the path-breaking products like iTunes, the iPod, iPhone and iPad — products that could create (or ignite mass enthusiasm for) a whole new consumer experience? The naysayers have only grown louder as Apple’s stock has experienced its dizzying drop.
So why is it a myth to declare that innovation is dead at Apple?
The authors claim that Apple has always let a few years elapse between their “next big thing” announcements, so it’s too soon to pronounce their demise. I wouldn’t know. To this day I have never owned an Apple product and I have no plans to start now.
And yes… you can get off my lawn.