Surging iPad Helps Apple Snag No. 1 PC Spot from HP

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Apple's share of the smartphone market may have slipped last quarter, but where the iPhone slacked, the iPad picked up, propelling the company past HP an into the pole position as the number one PC manufacturer in the world. Overall PC sales jumped 12 percent compared to the same time in 2011 and nearly one in five PCs shipped last quarter sported the iconic Apple logo.

Wait! Didn't we report just a few weeks back that second quarter PC shipments were flat and Lenovo and HP were duking it out for the global top spot, with Apple nowhere to be found? Indeed we did -- but that just shows it's all in how you look at things. Canalys, the firm behind the latest figures, considers tablets to be PCs while Gartner and IDC don't.

To show what a difference that makes in the tabulations, consider this: HP doesn't sell consumer-orientated slates, only enterprise-focused Windows 7 tablets. The vast majority of its 13.5 million shipments are traditional desktops and notebooks. In contrast, Apple's latest sales figures show that the Cupertino company only moved 4 million Macs last quarter, even with all the hub-bub around the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Over 17 million of the 21 million PCs Apple moved last quarter were iPads.

With the tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system looming on the horizon, don't expect the category confusion to clear anytime soon. Speaking of tablets, Canalys reports Samsung was the king of the Android hill, "more than doubling its Galaxy Tab shipments compared to a year ago."


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  • Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > If you are going to call an iPad a PC you may as well call a phone a PC as well. What’s the difference? Nothing except size.

    The difference is the apps they run. iPhone has a library of mini-apps which has been copied somewhat by Android. iPad has a separate library of full-size PC apps. When I got my first iPad 2 years ago, I thought I would run iPhone apps on there, but instead, today it runs GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Safari, Mail, OmniFocus — all Mac apps that I used to run on a MacBook Air. This is the same for all users. iPad time is PC time, it is not phone time.

    So you are just making the same uninformed assumption that I made 2 years ago. iPad has the mobile interface from iPhone, but it has the PC apps from the Mac and it is a PC.

    > I still can’t call an iPad a PC. Just doesn’t fit the mold well enough.

    It is not a generic PC, but it is a PC.

    > Windows 8 won’t cloud the definition at all, since it’s made to run on full powered tablets, and no limits.

    Windows has been running on tablets for 20 years, but nobody buys them.

    A "full-powered tablet" is like a bathing suit that covers your whole body. Now it is no longer a bathing suit, it is a just a suit. Nobody wants that. The whole point of a bathing suit is to be less than a suit. The point of a tablet PC is to be less than a PC. Much smaller, much lighter, much less power needed (so more battery life,) much less UI friction so it's easier to use on the go, intelligent Wi-Fi that hops around easily in the background, 3G/4G built-in, and absolutely no viruses because you are connected 24/7 and moving around from network to network.

    So a Windows 8 tablet may be more like a generic Windows PC than an iPad, but that is not a feature. iPad has outsold Windows tablets by something like 1000 to 1 and iPad has only been on sale for a small fraction of the time.

    For the overwhelming majority of PC users, iPad already does everything they want from a PC, for much longer on batteries, in a much lighter package, than any other PC. They are looking at it like they get a luxury sports car for $500 instead of getting a really, really badly-made pickup truck for $500 from HP. This trend is only accelerating every year when the iPad revs and gets twice as good every time.

  • Craig Says:

    If you are going to call an iPad a PC you may as well call a phone a PC as well. What's the difference? Nothing except size.

  • Craig Says:

    I agree with Gartner and IDC, Post PC is post PC. Apple has invented their own market segment so let them play in it

  • Narg Says:

    I still can't call an iPad a PC. Just doesn't fit the mold well enough. Windows 8 won't cloud the definition at all, since it's made to run on full powered tablets, and no limits.

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