Did you know you’re a consumer?

I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about how they are replacing their PC with tablet and slate devices and they’re trying to convince me that the “post PC era” is upon us. Apparently you can do all your work on one of these devices and the PC is no longer needed. People are starting to buy an iPad rather than have a family PC and apparently they are just as effective at “work” and hence there is no need for the household PC.

I couldn’t disagree more.

I think we have a differing definition of “work”. Sure you can send emails, and create presentations and all that, but is it really work? I mean, to me – an email is just a long drawn out text based meeting. Presentations, well – lucky for you some people out there still need to have slides smashed in their face before a meeting is called a success. You can even buy a $30 adaptor for your iPad to plug directly in to the projector! Sure you may be able to use your tablet to help perform your duty at work – but mostly you’ll be just reading things that other people have created. If you use your tablet as a work aid, then you are most likely a consumer. 

“But we have wordprocessing, spreadsheets you name it!” they scream at me. Yes, yes and yes. First off, you should get a Surface as it has big boy Office programs on it (okay, that’s a rant in a rant). Secondly, is it enough that you *can* do this on your device? Is it enough to convert you from CONSUMER to CREATOR?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. I’ve been very worried that by people leaving the PC platform in favour of tablet we’re reducing the world’s digital creativity – we’re creating a bunch of consumers. Sure, one market segment that is way up is photo creations I’ll give you that. All the technological advancements of the human race have culminated in PHOTOS and SOCIAL. Currently people seem to be more interested in taking shitty photos of their shitty food and sending it to their shitty friends. I remind you – your “power” on a tablet with a locked down app store is limited to the functionality that the application designers allow you. You are at the whim of some other people who’s main goal is to make money (from YOU) – to lock you in, to get you to sign up, to share your shitty photos.

So, my analysis of the downward trend in the PC industry: we’re sorting the men out from the boys. People who would have once purchased a full PC are now buying a tablet (okay iPad) – but that’s okay as a large segment of that market we’re never going to be contribute anyway. They merely consume. They purchased the PC and didn’t use 99% of it’s capability. Maybe some browsing. Maybe some shitty game their friend gave them. Some viruses, a browser history full of porn. Cracked version of Office perhaps. These are the consumers and tablets are helping us filter them out in to light. The sales figures alone demonstrate just how much of the world consumes versus creates. There was an interesting talk at TEDxSydney about how people do not label them selves what they really are and one of the examples was consumers – people rarely label themselves so. Hmph.

And you know what? That’s just fine by me. Just don’t pretend you are not a consumer. It just turns out that there are a lot more consumers out there than I realised. It’s not a negative thing – it’s just a realisation. 

I’ll finish you by challenging you – if you really think these new devices are as good for work as a PC, buy your kid one to use for high school and university. Didn’t think so. Becasue that’s real work.

2 thoughts on “Did you know you’re a consumer?

  1. The surface is not ready for that burden you’ve given it. Using Surface Pro for a week so far it basically screams at “more work needed” so maybe one or two more generations sure, but today no. The RT is software in full retardation and Pro works I guess if you like the Start menu area only but beyond that it gets weird fast as a touch focused device… but ..when you connect it to a larger monitor and keyboard/mouse, bazinga it’s got the personality of any laptop of that same spec… but….did it just transformed into a laptop not a tablet and i’m back to using that weird thing called fingers on that weird thing called a “keyboard & mice” 🙂

    Sarcasm aside, i’ve been trialling the Android Tablets, iPads (all version), Surface Pro & RT and none of them really own the set posture of being the “replacement” for work machines (so we agree there).

    I think the Android has the right ingredients to be contender if it weren’t for the wasteland known as App store it calls home …iPads definitely have the “all the kids are doing it” momentum but the Surface generations are simply science experiments at the moment. The Apps are shit, the native experience when you break out of it get stuck in this weird resolution limbo land of “is it 150% or 100% zoom moment?”

    Like I said, none have the overall “I win” trophy they are all fighting and chipping away at the problem but nothing beats my iMac / MacBook pro and PC Desktop… ..and if i could buy a CRT monitor still i’d probably stick with that 😉


  2. Hehe, I had another person said I needs more “Get off my lawn!”

    The argument is less about devices and functionality (and brands!) and more about the fact that people are buying non-creation devices but deny they are leaving one side of the fence and joining the other.

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