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PCs go the way of phones

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 26 March 2019, 8:59 pm

We used to clamour to get our hands on the latest device. Tech media that is. Even if you weren't that interested in the latest phone or PC, it was a point of pride to be in the know.

Mostly you weren't allowed to keep the devices you got for review, and some companies made you sit through the most detailed demonstrations (an individual briefing in a hotel meeting room with product experts flown into the country especially to take the local journos through every detail) before you could get your hands on the device.

And even then, you could only have the thing for a month to review before you had to post it back in a courier bag which they sent you - along with several emails reminding you to return it. I remember signing very long forms in which I probably consented to forfeiting my house if I in some way damaged the device. I say 'probably' because, you know, I was usually so keen to get out of that windowless meeting room and away from those people talking at me for an hour about phone features that I would have signed Anything.

Totally worth it to be one of the first to experience it firsthand. But now, I don't think it is such a big deal. IDC has followed a report on the decline in new smartphone purchases with one that shows consumer PC sales are headed in the same downward trajectory.

According to Liam Landon, Associate Market Analyst at IDC, the New Zealand PC market for the 2018 calendar year saw shipments of commercial PC devices grow 2.4% but consumer devices shrink -7.9% year-on-year.

"The consumer market continues to struggle with people not feeling the need to own a PC, phone and tablet anymore, with one or two devices now able to satisfy consumer's needs. Despite this, specific areas continue to perform well, with ultra slim and gaming notebooks both growing within the consumer market in 2018", he says.

"The opposite was seen in commercial PC Devices, encouraged by the end of support for Windows 7 in 2020. Overall, commercial organisations, particularly in the second half of the year, saw increased demand. However, Intel's CPU shortage delayed shipments, predominantly on low end commercial devices, stemmed growth in 2018Q4"

Landon is predicting the traditional PC market will decline by 4.4% in 2019. "Despite some growth from Windows 7 end of life refreshes, commercial shipments will fall in 2019. However, growth in purchases of Chromebooks by consumers for use in schools will help to offset the ongoing declines in the consumer market.".

Hardware is not as in vogue as it once was. The fashion today is for services, as Apple's announcement today on its new TV, news, and gaming subscriptions demonstrates.


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Rebecca Hatton 27 March 2019, 2:54 pm

I think it's fair to say that a few years ago, new technology had very clear benefits for the user to buy into. These days, most day-to-day users don't see the difference in one device to the next.

I have a 2011 Macbook Pro. Overtime I've upgraded the hard drive and put in some new RAM. Until I think a new laptop purchase will be significantly worth it, I'll stick with what I have. Same for my phone; a Nexus 6 phone I've had for about 4 years now.

I suspect most people are the same? Why pay for new technology if they can't see the benefit?

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