Desktops, laptops may be yesterday’s technology

Is the “computer convergence” coming? Right now, your computer choices are desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

And what are the most common activities people use their computers for outside of work?

Checking Facebook. Watching YouTube videos. Tweeting. Reading and sending email. Purchasing things online. Taking, editing and sharing photos and videos.

All these tasks, and more, can be done on any digital device.

So, if all the computer types available can do these things, why not simplify the options to one or two devices? That might be what Apple is thinking these days with respect to its Mac computer line.

According to PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak, it’s quite possible Apple wants to phase out its desktops and laptops and just go with iPads and smartphones.

Dvorak makes a pretty good case. It’s no secret the iPhone is the flagship tech product supporting the company. The iPad comes in second in terms of popularity and sales. And, far behind, are the iMacs.

And then there’s this recent Apple TV commercial for the iPad Pro featuring a young girl taking and using her tablet in a variety of places. Her mom asks what she’s doing with her computer, to which the girl replies, “What’s a computer?”

The message seems clear. Desktop and laptop computers are old tech and old ways of navigating the modern digital world. Today, it’s all about the symbiosis between human lifestyle and digital devices.

You don’t go to a computer, sit down and access the internet. The computer is with you, always, interacting with you, woven into everything you do.

Desktop and laptops are dead. Long live the tablets and smartphones and wearable tech.

You can read John Dvorak’s column at http://bit.ly/2A5kw9o. See if you get the same impression.

I’m a longtime Mac computer fan going back to the first Apples. So I’m troubled by the possibility of the end of the line for Mac desktops and laptops.

Worse, there’s an unsettling logic to it all. It makes sense. And if Apple does go down this road, you can be sure the rest of the computer industry will soon follow.

It’s a social change in how we perceive and interact with technology in our daily lives. For years, we’ve been digitizing virtually every aspect of the real world: books, movies, photos, music, legal documents, family finances and banking, wages and purchases, education, just to name a few.

All those bits and bytes, floating in the global internet, up there in “the cloud,” channeled through one or two devices attached to us almost like skin.

It’s the next digital revolution — and it has been under way for several years now.

Keith Darnay is the Tribune’s online manager and has worked in the online world for more than two decades. His site is at www.darnay.com.

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