Apple Becomes Leading PC Vendor, According to Canalys

Posted on February 8, 2013 10:25 AM by Rob Williams

To see a headline stating that Apple has become the world’s PC leader might result in some head-scratches, but once it’s realized that iPads are part of the equation, it begins to make a lot more sense. Kind of. You see, research firm Canalys doesn’t consider iPads and iPad minis to be too dissimilar from our desktops and notebooks – thus, they’re PCs.

Apple iPad 3

If this all sounds familiar, you might be recalling an editorial I wrote a couple of years ago as a direct result of the same research firm hitting the headlines for the same classifications. The conclusion I ultimately reached was that because the general description of a “personal computer” could be applied to a tablet, the “PC” classification was fine. That doesn’t mean that I don’t consider it a bit strange even still, however.

Also strange is the fact that the firm still doesn’t consider a smartphone to be a PC, despite the fact that tablets offer the exact same thing but in a larger package. It’d be silly to bring the argument of size into things, as a tablet is much smaller than a desktop or notebook already, yet it’s still supposedly a PC.

What did Apple do to become top dog PC vendor? It shipped 27 million units in the last quarter, for the first time breaking through the 20% marketshare barrier. By contrast, HP shipped 15 million, Lenovo 14.8 million, Samsung 11.7 million and Dell, 9.7 million. And speaking of Dell, the report states that its shipments dropped 19% year-over-year, which makes the recent announcement of its buyout all the more reasonable.

That aside, do you think tablets should be lumped into the same category as our desktops and notebooks?

  • e550mercedes

    At one point, if you remember, laptops were also considered to be non-PCs for a while. Now that tablets are consider PC’s, so I guess smart phones are next. Nonetheless Apple is doomed, doomed I tell you:

    • Rob Williams

      I don’t remember a time when notebooks were not considered PCs, but it might just be because I didn’t pay attention. Regardless, there’s just no logic there. Notebooks were not PCs, but now they are. Tablets were not PCs, but now they are. And just because of the passage of time, smartphones are eventually going to become PCs? Seems a bit strange.

  • Marfig

    I’m not too hangup on this definition. I’m with Steve Jobs on this one.

    From a functional point of view, the tablet isn’t exactly a general purpose computing device. That’s what distinguishes it from a personal computer. For the consumer market it may appear so; I can play games, browse the web, or run productivity applications. But a tablet can’t really act as a server device, or be used for developing software, for instance.

    Now, with the right software and a keyboard device we can indeed use a tablet for those functions. But in doing so we are altering the device form factor (its intended design and geometry) to a new function. This is in contrast with a personal computer which doesn’t have to experience a change to what we perceive as its form factor in order to perform any of its general purpose functions.

    This is why I’m more in agreement with the term Tablet PC. It offers the notion there are definitely personal personal computer capabilities in any tablet (assuming a general purpose operating system can reside within), while at the same time makes it clear the device is however a subset of the personal computer. Either that or simply define tablets in their own new family of computing devices.

    If I see a sales figure that offers me a grand total, but lets me read the PCs and Tablet PCs partials, I won’t complain. In any case, I’m pretty sure that’s precisely what happens behind closed doors. The public will see instead whatever works at the time to make it a sales pitch.

    • Rob Williams

      I couldn’t agree more on all those points. “Tablet PC” does seem fair.

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