Americans officially living in post-PC world, spending more time using mobile apps & web


According to new data from Nielsen, Americans now spend more time using mobile web and apps on their smartphones than they do online on their PCs, reports Engadget.

That shift toward mobile is affecting how many spend their free time. Americans spent an average of 34 hours per month using mobile apps and browsers in 2013; that’s more time than they spent online with their PCs, which chewed up 27 hours … 

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TV viewing is also declining, though people still spend more than twice as long watching live TV as accessing the net.

The figures show that almost two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone, at 65 percent, up from just 44 percent two years ago – with the average American owning four ‘digital devices,’ which include TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones.

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  1. OneOkami (@OneOkami) - 9 years ago

    Make sense. For the many people who usually only have very basics needs/usage of personal computers, mobile devices have simply reached a point where they’re more than capable of not only supplementing the role of the PC, but outright replace them. My parents for example really don’t do much more than surf the internet, check their email, watch videos on YouTube and play some light games. As their last PC got older and slower, they started using their iPad more and more to the point where the PC is now just a waste of space and they can do everything they want to do on their iPad, anywhere in the house and beyond. They’re simply no point for them to bother upgrading their PC, because they legitimately no longer need it.

    Now that being said, there are still people for which PCs are quite relevant, and those are people who have needs/demands that are still not met (at least not ideally) by mobile devices. Among those are gamers who play games that are too powerful for or are simply nonexistent on mobile devices, professionals like game/application developers, digital photographers and video editors that absolutely need capable machines and storage for their workflow, and even hobbyists who do such things because they enjoy them.

    So I can definitely see and understand the shift away from PCs. As a developer myself who is passionate about and works on applications for mobile devices, I’m excited to see it, but at the same as I also work on web and cloud applications professionally and am increasingly using Lightroom and Photoshop for my hobby digital photography, I know my Mac and PC still have a firm place and aren’t going away anytime soon. I feel inclined to argue that the PC is increasingly becoming more of an enthusiast and pro machine for the simple fact that the capabilities of mobile devices now make them overkill for many people who don’t fall into those categories.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Yes, I’ve certainly recommended iPads instead of laptops to a number of non-techy friends with basic needs

  2. Mark Carabin - 9 years ago

    Jobs said it best a few years ago. Cars vs trucks. It makes perfect sense. I’m a great example. At work, I’m all iMac (my work truck). It does the heavy lifting, graphic work, video, whatever I need to get the job done. I use an iPad at work to bring drafts and outlines around the office because lugging an iMac around is tough. Outside work, it the complete opposite. My poor MacBook has largely become a desktop, and rarely gets the attention it used to, where my iPhone and iPad have taken over the casual browsing and things I usually do at home, and are much easier to take with me when I need some light computing on the go.

    With the A7, even things that I used to rely solely on a computer for, like video editing, can be handled on a mobile device much better than they used to be even a year or two ago. While I’ll still prefer my “truck” at work for the foreseeable future, there’s no doubt in my mind that “cars” will continue to dominate the computing landscape for quite some time.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Yep. My MacBook Pro is a desktop except when travelling on business. My MacBook Air gets taken out once a week. My iPad Air gets carried around the rest of the time.

  3. ashtraywasp - 9 years ago

    Just a note, but when Jobs coined the term “post-PC” he explained that post-PC doesn’t mean past PC, rather the era where other devices aren’t peripheral to it anymore.

    In 2011 when introducing iCloud, his main point was that the PC has always been the digital hub that you need to connect all your devices to. But with the arrival of iCloud and the cloud in general, all these devices could function solitary and do everything themselves without requiring a PC to connect them to. We were past that. “Post-PC” simply meant the PC wasn’t the mothership any more, devices were democratized and the Mac/PC was now in line as another equal device.

    Although I totally understand what context you’re using the word in.. just thought I’d get that rant off my chest.. sorry Ben.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Jobs’ analogy was trucks and cars. There will always be some of us who need trucks, but in the post-PC world the majority will only need cars – ie. tablets and smartphones.

      • ashtraywasp - 9 years ago

        Ben.. you’re totally right. I feel like a knob now.

        My first and only explanation around that term was the iCloud keynote with the PC being “demoted to being another device”. I always took that as my sole explanation. Not as in the bigger picture.

        Searched and watched the scene you mentioned, great video.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        He certainly had a real knack for figuring out what people would be doing years ahead


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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