BarCamps, Startup Weekends, Coworking, Panera, Starbucks, Ritual Roasters - all places typically flooded with Wi-Fi and laptop-toting patrons. Over the last five years, the increasing prevalence of wireless networking and the advancement of smaller and more mobile laptops have led to a stunning laptop adoption rate.
Recently I have been thinking about this a lot. I believe a tipping point has been reached in the last year or two. With the exception of certain use cases such as video production, servers and gamers/hardcore PC enthusiasts, laptops are undoubtedly taking over. For example, the MacBook is Apple's top selling computer, all incoming Georgia Tech freshman are required to have a laptop computers and so on.
Yes, desktops are dying.
No, they're still alive and kicking.
Image from bit-tech.net.
Speed is easier to attain with desktops. There's more space for larger hard drive platters, faster Blu-ray burners, full-size DDR3 DIMMs, multi-processor configurations, et cetera. Also, bleeding-edge technology is almost always only available for desktops at first. Desktops are sort of the test-bed for the latest tech before engineers can find a way to make them consume less power and produce less heat all while being half the size, and thus be fit for mobile usage.
VerdictWhere do you stand on this? I am a strong advocate for mobility and laptops, as I write this at home sitting somewhat half on the couch, half on the floor. I appreciate being able to have my primary computer anywhere I go and should I need the desktop feel, just attach a keyboard, mouse and larger external display. I can take my laptop to classes or compute anywhere for that matter, while retaining 90-95% of a typical modern desktop computer's performance. Of course, my PC enthusiast roommate will disagree with me with his single-stage (for now) vapor phase change cooled quad-core 4.4GHz desktop computer.