4. PCs are more cost effective
When netbooks were first introduced, PC makers touted the unique characteristics of what they claimed was an entirely new category of computing device. In hindsight, however, netbooks had one characteristic that appealed to consumers more than any other: They were cheap.
Since then, pricing pressure from netbooks has driven the cost of laptops down. According to The NPD Group, the average selling prices of laptops were lower than those of desktop PCs in three out of the first four months of 2010 -- an about-face from the days when customers paid a premium for mobility. At this writing, both Dell and HP are offering laptops with 15-inch screens and generous memory and hard disk space for around $380.
By comparison, the cheapest iPad is $499. It has a 9.7-inch screen, 16GB of solid-state storage, and no physical keyboard. It doesn't run Windows or Mac OS X, which means it doesn't support applications designed for either platform. You can browse the Web on it, but it doesn't support sites designed with Adobe Flash or other plug-ins. If this is the next stage of computing, we're taking a step backward.
Far more likely, the iPad will be a "post-PC" device in just one sense: By the time you buy one, you'll probably already own a PC.
5. Mobile devices aren't versatile
In his notorious "Thoughts on Flash" letter, Steve Jobs criticized Adobe's Flash technology as being "created during the PC era," making it a relic of the past. He offered Flash "rollovers" as one example of UI design that was incompatible with the iPad's touch-interaction model.
But customers are likely to see things the opposite way: The iPad does a poor job of supporting the websites, applications, and infrastructure we have right now, and it won't do a good job until everybody re-engineers their sites and applications to support it. That means replacing rollovers with touch-to-click behaviors, for one thing, and throwing out Flash and similar add-on technologies altogether. Only the most credulous Apple fans will be holding their breaths.
Furthermore, Jobs' post-PC model means getting used to an onscreen, virtual keyboard, rather than the mechanical kind, and that will be a hard sell for touch-typists. Jobs told the D8 audience, "When I am going to write that 35-page analyst report I am going to want my Bluetooth keyboard. That's 1 percent of the time." Not everyone has it so lucky.
And people connect more to their PCs than just keyboards. They use game controllers, tablets, webcams, remote controls, and more. If moving into the post-PC era means giving up all of these options, most of us will stay where we are.