It would be foolhardy to proclaim the death of the PC in a year in which Windows 7 was key to record quarterly sales for Microsoft. The top stories of 2010, however, show that the PC for many people around the world has already become just one of several devices used to tap the Internet and a world of applications for entertainment and business -- and that increasingly, the main Internet access device is not a PC. The billions of devices connected to the Internet globally are also giving rise to data and security issues for the wired and mobile worlds alike. Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's farewell note to his colleagues in October warned them that the PC software giant has to brace for a "post-PC world." News flash for Ozzie & Co.: The post-PC era has already begun, as reports from InfoWorld.com and others are making clear.
Here, not necessarily in order of importance, are the IDG News Service's picks for the top stories of 2010.
Apple does it again: the iPad sets a new direction for computing
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad at the end of January he asked, "Is there room for a third category of device in the middle, something that's between a laptop and a smartphone?" The answer is yes. Although early critics blasted it for being an overblown iPod Touch, shipments of the iPad tablet totaled more than 7 million by October. After ushering in the personal computer era with the Apple II, changing the music industry with the iPod, and the phone market with the iPhone, Apple has helped create another product category. Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, and HP are gearing up their own tablets, and there will be a wide variety of the devices on display at January's Consumer Electronics Show. Gartner expects tablet sales worldwide to reach 54.8 million units in 2011, displacing around 10 percent of PC units by 2014.