Wrap-up: The post-PC era is officially here and CES proves it

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A lot of virtual ink is being spilled over the fact that Microsoft wasn't at CES, but more interesting for me was that CES was a manifestation of a five-year-old prediction coming true.

CES


For years, Microsoft used to keynote CES, giving us memorable moments like the time Windows 98 crashed on a 30-foot tall screen. This year, however, the Redmond, Wash., company and its products were almost completely absent.

In 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, and with it the birth of the Post-PC era. International CES 2014 was a prime illustration of the era spawned by that announcement. PCs played as background noise to the cacophony of new connected devices and mobile-first services.

Instead of beige boxes, we saw crazy future things: connected home voice control; smart watches, smart watches; more smart watches; amazing five-fret wireless guitars, rings that control apps in mid-air; musical lightbulbs.

Also on display were evolutionary advancements in tech we now consider pedestrian. Memory cards gained multi-host Wi-Fi, ski goggles got heads-up display capabilities, and everyday cables were wrapped in leather.

Okay, sure, Toshiba had a few Haswell-powered Chromebooks on display (which happen to run iCloud.com very nicely), but on the whole there wasn't much to see in the way of traditional computing. It seems every bit of tech at CES 2014 migrated to the wrist, to the cloud, and in more cases than not, to iOS.

Toshiba


So what do you do in a Post-PC world? If you're a manufacturer, you adapt. Fujitsu showed their ScanSnap iX500 scanners which work with iOS and scan up to 25 double-sided pages per minute. Available now for $410, it lets you easily capture pictures, documents and receipts and send them off to iOS.

It may be pricey, but it's also one of the better scanners on the market. Personally, I still use a Fujitsu S300M from 2009. If the scanner lasts for 5 years, the amortization makes sense if you scan a lot.

On the topic of imaging, Epson showed off their $99 LW-600P label printer ($129 for a two-tape version) which works with iOS over Bluetooth. Capable of printing up to one-inch labels. Working with Mac and iOS, it's possible to print on any of the company's label materials including satin. The Epson representative talked about how cool it would be to print satin ribbons for gift-wrapping. Iron-on labels are also available.

In a mobile world, the office gets portable: the Epson runs on 6AA batteries in addition to the power cord. The Future-is-now-feature? The accompanying iOS app enables label printing with voice dictation.

Epson


iCreation showed off their SpeeCup, a Bluetooth speaker shaped to fit a car cup holder that is controlled by air gestures, acting as sort of makeshift Siri Eyes free. Starting at $99 with no gestures and MicroUSB charging only, you get 20 hours of battery life and can still prompt Siri from the speaker.

At $129, you get a jog shuttle wheel, convex and concave buttons you can find with your eyes closed, and air gestures. Air gestures here are in the four cardinal compass directions, east-west and north-south. For $159, you get touch capacitive sense controls on top, air gestures that include moving your finger in a circle as if controlling a touch-wheel iPod and qi compatible charging. This last model will be available in Q2.

SpeeCup


CES is exhausting to attend, and while we didn't get to every single booth or company suite, we covered the best and most interesting products that work with iOS or Mac. After sifting through countless cases, dongles, watches and other paraphernalia, we found that Jobs was right. This is the Post-PC world.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Until you actually need to get work done. Then you grab your Mac
  • Reply 2 of 48

    Well we're moving away from the age of the PC being the "digital hub" that defined Apple's original iMac strategy in the early 2000s. The original iPod was created as an accessory to that hub. As was the iPhone and iPad, originally. I think it's interesting that now these devices are now fully independent computing devices, and are becoming "digital hubs" in their own right with all these accessories (printers, scanners, sensors, etc.). So, yes, I agree that this can be a leading indicator for the "Post-PC" age.

  • Reply 3 of 48
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

     

    Well we're moving away from the age of the PC being the "digital hub" that defined Apple's original iMac strategy in the early 2000s. The original iPod was created as an accessory to that hub. As was the iPhone and iPad, originally. I think it's interesting that now these devices are now fully independent computing devices, and are becoming "digital hubs" in their own right with all these accessories (printers, scanners, sensors, etc.). So, yes, I agree that this can be a leading indicator for the "Post-PC" age.


    Like SJ said in the WWDC 2011 keynote, iCloud (or the cloud generally speaking) is the hub of your digital life and your devices.

  • Reply 4 of 48
    This like the past 5 years of CES have been the opposite of an embarrassment of riches. Instead, it's just been an embarrassment in actual innovation.

    The past 7 years have been catching up to ideas Apple disrupted.

    The concern people have about Apple now is will Apple be able to disrupt the space again and force another leap.

    I know they will.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 692editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post



    Until you actually need to get work done. Then you grab your Mac

    Well, this depends on what "work" is.

     

    If taking photographs, writing notes and stories on booths and uploading them to dropbox (before it failed us) to the rest of the team count, then an iPad with the lightning-to-SD-card cable, and perhaps a keyboard, does fine, or a Chromebook with SD slot would do as well.

     

    I used my iPhone in personal hotspot mode. The LVCC Wi-Fi speed tested at an absurd 256kbit/s down, 33kbit/s up. Oh lord, the data overages, they pain me.

     

    I left the MacBook Air at home. 4 hours of battery life on a Mid-2011 just isn't enough to cover the show without recharging. I think I spent only 15 minutes in the press room, although Wi-Fi was much better there. 

  • Reply 6 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 692editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post



    This like the past 5 years of CES have been the opposite of an embarrassment of riches. Instead, it's just been an embarrassment in actual innovation.



    The past 7 years have been catching up to ideas Apple disrupted.



    The concern people have about Apple now is will Apple be able to disrupt the space again and force another leap.



    I know they will.

    Note that we didn't cover the poorly made bedazzled products and only mentioned cases and cables where there was something interesting to talk about.

  • Reply 7 of 48
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    Yes but can the Speecup and the Bluetooth musical lightbulb run full Microsoft Office?
  • Reply 8 of 48
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    "This is the Post-PC world."

    I know a guy who went to CES. He calls all those cheap connected watches and other gadgets "disposable electronics." Perfect description.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    Wasn't the last time Microsoft did a CES keynote when Ballmer wore a red sweater, held up a HP tablet (that never came to market) to his chest and tried to demonstrate it by looking at it upside down and poking at the screen like it was going to so something. Meanwhile, all the Windows computers behind him and around him on the stage went blue screen and had to be manually reset one-by-one.

    It was only a few months later Steve Jobs declared the era to be Post PC... In a few more months Microsoft will be post-Ballmer. Imagine what the new CEO will have to deal with: (1) Ballmer and Gates on the board of directors. (2) MS just talking on the cell phone purchase under Ballmer's own hand. (3) The entire Microsoft organization under a new structure by Ballmer's own hand. (4) new XBox running second-place in the console wars (and not even branded with the MS name on the cartons). (5) Bing bleeding like a stuck whale. (6) Cash cows, Windows and Office, under pressure for the first time in decades. (7) Surface, redux, not eating up the market and buyers poking at it suspiciously with sticks, like it might came back alive and attack them.

    Now, in that context, the new CEO is expected to change anything for the better with Bill and Steve having a good giggle from their position on the board, and thumbing everything down that may diminish Baller's recent massive changes. I give the new puppet CEO a year or so before he's out the door.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    512ke wrote: »
    Yes but can the Speecup and the Bluetooth musical lightbulb run full Microsoft Office?

    ...and do "real work?"
  • Reply 11 of 48

    I can't speak for others, but I think it may be a post-PC world as far as home setups are concerned. However, as far as work is concerned, I work on .NET applications, for which I need Windows.

     

    As much as I love Apple, the fact is that I earn my bread and butter on Microsoft products. And Microsoft is as PC as you can get, so it may be a while before developers like me, who are tied to Visual Studio, can move to a post-PC world.

     

    However, as @vmarks noted, it really depends on what your work is. I think the number of paying tasks/ jobs that you can do on the iPad is increasing at a phenomenal rate.

     

    Personally, the one thing that is highest on my wish list is App development on the iPad. It would be great if Apple could develop Xcode in such a way that it can run on iOS and allow people to directly develop apps on it. I am sure there are a lot of hurdles for it, but once they crack it, it will be a revolution.

     

    Of course, it may affect Mac sales so no idea if they will do it anytime soon.

  • Reply 12 of 48
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,335member
    ...and do "real work?"
    I think someone should make a real paper clip with Voice Recognition. AI and Bluetooth that you can ask for help while writing term papers. Clippy 2.0!!!
  • Reply 13 of 48
    Talking of Chromebooks, how come Google are allowed to sell these without offering an alternative choice of browser like regular PC's have to?
  • Reply 14 of 48

    Last time I checked iOS devices use a CPU, an operating system, and run programs...and if anything are even more personal than any other computer I can think of.  For consumers, the home work station might be dying, but not personal computers.  

  • Reply 15 of 48
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    I rather get a full Mac computer than a crippled, jailed and limited iOS toy.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    Anything working with Samscum or Jellybean, Gingerbread, ....CupONoodle...Googleglass, soy sauce?
  • Reply 17 of 48
    Ah yes. The post PC era. Can't wait to trade in my iMac for a musical lightbulb.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,121member

    Post-windows is more like it.

  • Reply 19 of 48
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    But Business Insider claims Apple is doomed because everyone they saw at CES was using an Android phone.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    vmarks wrote: »
    I used my iPhone in personal hotspot mode. The LVCC Wi-Fi speed tested at an absurd 256kbit/s down, 33kbit/s up.

    Well, that just sucks. Why the heck they thought WiFi wouldn't be the #1 thing on their list of things that would need to be working, they screw this up. CES. We know least best.
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