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Linux and the truth behind the ‘post-PC’ era

Apple introduced its highly anticipated iPhone 5 yesterday. And as is to be expected with the introduction of any new iDevice, all the tech news sites went into an absolute frenzy. The major news outlets even caught a healthy dose of Apple fever, especially here in the U.S. Even in the midst of a presidential campaign, a new iPhone will always be the day’s top headline.

What interested me most about this entire ordeal was not the new iPhone, nor was it the fact that a small gadget can induce such hysteria. Rather, it was something that Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the introduction ceremony. Cook cited the popularity of the iOS device as proof we have entered a “post-PC world.” You hear this phrase quite frequently in the tech media these days. In fact, Microsoft is supposedly redefining the term PC to mean “personalized computing.” With the advent of tablets and smartphones, the traditional personal computer is being left behind. Or so they say…

In reality, the idea of a post-PC world is bogus if you take it literally. As others on the web have pointed out, iPhones and iPads are actually still personal computers. The smartphone you hold in your hand has more processing power than most computers had just decades ago. Sure, they come in radically different forms and sizes, but when you get right down to it, they’re still PCs.

When people talk about a post-PC era, I think they mean something different—if, that is, they realize it. Rather than signaling an end to computers, the popularity of devices such as the iPhone signals an end to openness and freedom in personal computing. Read the rest of this entry