With tomorrow being the 30th anniversary of the IBM PC I thought it interesting™ to take a look at the future of the PC in the home. First a look back at how I envisioned my PC would be used in my digital lifestyle a few years ago. I thought I would have a PC server with multiple tuners serving Windows Media Center extenders all around the home, with tablet PC as the device I would use for work and browsing the web, maybe with Media Streaming connected to the server.
The first problem with this vision was that fact that Media Center extenders failed to take off, perhaps because of limitations of the devices. So I moved to having a PC connected to my TV which I love, with Freeview HD and Windows Media Center it works great however not being able to access premium TV content like Sky is a real limitation (yes I know there are ways like DVBLink and Dreambox but this is to advanced for the average user)
The other change has been the the introduction of the iPad. This has really changed things around, I love using the iPad to browse the web and particularly like apps like Flipboard so I find I use a PC a lot less in the evening now, also the Media Streamers have been replaced with iPod docks which my family find they work much better.
With Microsoft’s pushing of the Xbox 360 as the device they want you to connect to the TV and Apple having the Apple TV you have to wonder apart from enthusiast who is going to have a PC connected to the TV in the home? With the rise of tablets and slates who is going to be buying PCs for the home in the future? I know laptop sales are going to continue but over time I can see home users switching devices like the iPad and Android tablets.
So where does that live the humble home PC? I am sure laptops will stick around and I will be keeping my PC connected to my TV but after 30 years maybe the PCs time is up?
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.