The PC is dead. It’s a proclamation made by some pretty prominent voices – Apple’s Tim Cook, Forbes, Wired magazine – in recent years.
As we increasingly pick up mobile devices to do tasks previously handled at a PC’s keyboard, its prognosis seems pretty dire. Think about the last few online tasks you did – web search, Facebook check, reading an article in the newspaper. Was it on a PC or your phone or tablet? What are you reading this article on right now?
Trends in PC sales
By the end of 2015, PC sales were at the lowest point since 2007. They were down eight per cent from just 2014 to 2015. Analysts blame the strong U.S. dollar and weakening Chinese economy, but they also point to the remarkable rise in the use of mobile devices.
There are more active mobile devices on this earth than there are people. And by 2014, we were using these smartphones and tablets to surf the web more than we use PCs. There are a growing number of mobile-only users. They now outnumber those with only PCs.
Don’t dig the grave just yet
Yet for every proclamation of the PC’s death, another says not to write that obituary too hastily.
Dell’s tongue-in-cheek top 10 reasons the PC is dead includes the fact that “just” 315 million PCs were sold in the year previous, and that nine out of 10 people have a PC (and the 10th person probably has three). As they sarcastically point out, “Excel and smartphones are a match made in heaven.” But there’s no denying that we are in the midst of a revolution in the way we use our Internet-connected devices.
Get mobile-friendly, higher ed
Young adults are the highest reported users of mobile devices. They use phones and tablets to study, look for jobs and browse the Internet for information.
So what does this mean for higher education? On the administrative side, services like admissions and financial aid must be mobile-optimized. You can bet students are using mobile devices to access the services your financial aid office provides. What does your website look like on a smartphone? Can your forms be filled out on an iPad? Are you letting students know you are mobile device-compatible and, thus, understand their needs?
Reports of the PC’s death may be greatly exaggerated, but talk of the importance of mobile-optimization? The hype is real.
Learn about mobile-optimized web forms >