How long ago did you buy a PC? Are you planning on picking one up anytime soon? If not, you're probably joining the growing number of people who are moving to mobile devices instead of upgrading that old Windows XP desktop you bought in 2003. The movement from PC to mobile has been felt in the industry for quite a while, but it might make a visible dent in the market this year.
According to IHS iSuppli, shipments of PCs are on track to fall this year. The last time that happened was in 2001 alongside the infamous dot-com bust. This year's potential drop won't be attributed to a bust, but to the unprecedented growth of an entirely new industry.
So what happened to the PC industry this year that led to this? One word - Ultrabooks. Intel hyped the new slim laptops earlier this year as the savior of the PC, but they have consistently failed to deliver. I would attribute it to the high price that Intel refuses to budge on, but you could also argue that the comparatively low price of tablets got most of the sales.
There is hope that 2013 will see a turnaround, but only due to semantics. The new Windows tablets hitting the market will technically count as PCs since they will be running a version of the Windows 8 operating system. Analysts expect Microsoft and OEMs to sell 53 million tablets in 2015. In that same year, analysts expect Apple to sell through 350 million iPads.
Contrary to doom and gloom reports, the PC is not going to die anytime soon. There are still a number of useful applications that only PCs can reliably accomplish. For instance, you won't be seeing tablets take over the workplace. The only place that you'll see PCs fall behind over the next few years is the admittedly large consumer and student markets where tablets are deemed far more convenient for general tasks such as email and entertainment consumption.[h/t: CNN Money]