2014 trends: All-in-one PCs

The iMac has played a huge role in defining and popularising the all-in-one PC design. — AFP pic
The iMac has played a huge role in defining and popularising the all-in-one PC design. — AFP pic

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 8 ― Consumers may be losing interest in traditional computers thanks to tablets and smartphones, but demand for the streamlined, design-focused desktops is expected to grow over the next 12 months while the rest of the PC market continues to contract.

A form factor cemented in the public consciousness thanks to the iMac, an all-in-one (AIO) PC offers the power of a desktop computer but without the clutter and dangling cables. And although in general terms the appearance and performance of the computer is now mature and set in stone ― or should that be plastic? ― the AIO sector is one of the few where companies are still trying to innovate.

As such, Digitimes believes that AIOs will account for 11.5 per cent of global PC shipments over 2014, that’s up from 2.3 per cent in 2012. Some of this growth will be down to the growing popularity of the aforementioned iMac in China, but elsewhere in the computer-buying world, Digitimes’ research suggests that Dell’s and Sony’s latest streamline PCs are going to start appealing to more and more consumers.

The forecast is in stark contrast to the wider PC market. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report suggests that earlier forecasts regarding falling PC sales weren’t sufficiently pessimistic and that by the end of 2013, shipments will be down 10.1 per cent and will lose a further 3.8 per cent in 2014.

The research firm is predicting that only 300 million PCs will ship over the next 12 months. If commercial sales and shipments are discounted, consumer PC shipments have fallen 15 per cent year on year and IDC holds out very little hope that demand will increase any time soon.

It claims that as well as competition from mobile devices, desktop computers are no longer innovative in terms of design or features and therefore there is little reason for consumers to upgrade their existing PCs to newer models.

“Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system,” said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. “While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device ― for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones ― PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available.” ― AFP-Relaxnews 

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