By John Gruber
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On Twitter, Benedict Evans points to fascinating polling data indicating that the answers to this question1 are changing dramatically. In 2013, just two years ago, the results were:
In 2015, the results were:
Assuming the polling is valid, this suggests we’ve already passed the inflection point where most people consider their mobile devices (phone and tablet) central to their use of the internet.
I don’t think the chart in Evans’s tweet indicates these trends well. (The chart wasn’t his creation.) I would prefer something like (spends 15 minutes dicking around in Numbers…) this:
Also interesting is to compare “mobile” (phone and tablet) versus “PC” (laptop and desktop):
My “mobile” and “PC” groupings aren’t entirely rigorous, because I’m conflating physical form factors with operating systems. For Apple products, that distinction is clear — their phones and tablets run iOS; their laptops and desktops run Mac OS X. And Android, as a consumer platform, runs almost solely on phones and tablets. But Microsoft’s Surface devices are tablets that run Windows, and Chromebooks are laptops that run what I would consider a mobile OS.2 But the overwhelming popularity of iOS and Android compared to Surface and Chromebooks is such that I think it’s a useful and fair comparison.
The bottom line: the post-PC world is here.
It occurs to me that, personally, I honestly don’t know how to answer this question. A Mac and an iPhone both feel indispensable to me. If I really had to make do with just one, I suppose I’d pick a MacBook, but that’s not the question that was asked. In terms of my actual usage, my iPhone might be “the most important device I use to connect to the internet”. ↩︎
It’s probably wrong to say Chrome is a “mobile” OS, but it certainly isn’t a traditional PC platform. What I’m interested in is the post-PC disruption of the industry, and Chromebooks are clearly a part of that, even if they’re instantiated in a very traditional laptop form factor. ↩︎︎
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