The Post-PC World: Is It Here?

If there’s only one reason why I love Apple, it is their dedication to morphing the landscape for the post-PC world. Apple has made great strides in innovating technology to get people away from their PCs and more in-line with the mobile generation. Other companies are following suit, releasing new products and services to help end the home computer era.

In 2007, Apple unleashed the original iPhone, a device unlike any other, that changed the game for the the mobile world. It launched along with the App Store, a new service, similar to iTunes, where owners of the iPhone could purchase and download apps and games directly onto their devices. Fast forward a few years, and Apple announces and releases the iPad, a new tablet computer running iOS, that became an affordable, lightweight alternative to the laptop. With it’s 9.1″ screen, the iPad seemed like a viable solution for the on-the-go person. Featuring everything that made the iPhone so great on a much larger screen, the iPad became an instant success. Accessories like keyboards have become available for the iPad, which further makes it more of an option against the laptop.

One appealing feature about the iPad is how well it replaces the PC experience. For example, applications, such as Pages on the iPad, are a much cheaper and very functional replacement to your current word processing application. These apps feature the same functionality that you would find a PC version, at an extremely significant fraction of the price. Gaming has become even more significantly easy on the iPad than it ever was on a PC–no lag, no having to change out graphic cards or memory to support a game, and better control scheme. The user experience of a PC becomes irrelevant and unnecessary compared to what you see on a tablet.

Others have tried to emulate the experience. Google, which released the first version of it’s popular Android operating system in October 2008, has been working to perfect their open-source project into something that will help further shape the mobile landscape to its highest potential. Microsoft, too, has worked to perfect the new Windows Phone experience, where everything is more easily available by simple tiles on the home screen. The amount of mobile usage is at it’s highest point ever, with some users, myself included, completely abandoning the home computer in favor of smartphones and tablets.

Last month, Apple held a press conference to announce iCloud, their new online storage product that allows users to store practically everything “in the cloud.” Word documents, music, photos, applications, and other files will soon have the capability to be stored in your own virtual hard drive, powered by Apple, and accessible across all of your devices, with no wires or syncing required. The cloud concept is not new of course, with companies like Amazon and Google already offering these services for music. Apple is ultimately looking to keep users from using their PCs even more, by backing everything up to the cloud and turning the computer off. Apple is also eliminating the need to sync to iTunes to activate or update your iPad or other iDevice. All updates, starting with iOS 5 when it releases in September, will be handled over-the-air. The need for a physical hard drive is diminishing. The need for wires is diminishing. An era is ending.

What does this mean for companies like Microsoft, who have strived to maintain their Windows operating system? Microsoft is hard at work on Windows 8, which is a complete and total revamp of anything that you have ever seen on the platform. Windows 8 takes the tile concept first seen in the new Windows Phone 7, and evolves it into a desktop experience that promises to be unique and revolutionary. Windows 8 is designed specifically with tablets in mind, as Microsoft is well aware of this new revolution.

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 utilizes the MetroUI look first seen on Windows Phone 7.

It will be interesting to see where this new mobile generation takes us. With cords disappearing, syncing becoming a thing of the past, and tablets becoming more and more affordable and easier to use, it may be time to retire your ol’ PC. It’s something that I have recently done, and couldn’t be happier with. What do you think?