Gartner: Consumers Have Stopped Buying PCs Even As Apple ‘Demotes’ Them With iCloud

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Photo by kevindooley - http://flic.kr/p/88G64K
Photo by kevindooley - http://flic.kr/p/88G64K

Just days after Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced his iCloud service will ‘demote’ PCs to just another device, we are seeing confirmation from high-profile tech analysts. Thanks to the iPad and iPhone, the day of the PC is becoming dusk.

The first sign of the shift away from consumer PCs is analysts at Gartner Tuesday trimmed estimates for worldwide PC shipments in 2011 to 9.3 percent growth, or 385 million units. That is down from the analyst firm’s previously projected 10.5 percent growth. The key to the slippage: consumers are walking away from the market, and mobile PCs – once the only bright spot in computer sales – have fallen off a cliff.

“Consumer mobile PCs are no longer driving growth, because of sharply declining consumer interest in mini-notebooks,” said Ranjit Atwal, a Gartner research director. As a result, “this has substantially reduced overall PC unit growth.” The iPad has also hurt mobile PC sales “because they caused consumers to delay new mobile PC purchases,” Atwal added.

Fitting into the Post-PC era mantra heard at the recent WWDC, Gartner sees PCs “transitioning from a one-size-fits-all computing platform to a more specialized device. prized for its ability to complement other devices.” Moreover, PCs will take on more of a supporting role to other electronics, integrating into devices such as smart televisions or becoming part of basic mobile phones.

So, if consumers are flooding out of the PC market (both desktop and mobile), who’s left to turn the lights out? Business customers, according to Gartner. Stuck with aging Windows XP-based PCs because of the poor economys. If that isn’t the last gasp of the PC industry, I’m not sure what is.

What about you? Has iPad and iCloud made you rethink your next PC purchase?