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back to article iPad propels Apple into top-three PC vendor placement

Apple is the third largest computer maker in the world... if you include the iPad in its sales tally. So shows Q4 2010 numbers from market watcher Canalys, which put the Mac maker behind HP and Acer with a market share of 10.8 per cent. That's the same as Dell, though a closer look at the figures show Apple shipped 11.5m units …

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but...

The iPad does less than the iPhone (other smart phones are available). so does that mean we need to count those? what makes a tablet a tablet? Is it size?

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Anonymous Coward

...because it's mostly about software

In hardware terms, the iPad is more or less a scaled up phone. You could also argue that smart phones are also scaled down computers.

Size does make a critical difference - there are things that cannot be done well on a phone-size screen. But *software* makes this possible. If you ran the same software on your phone and tablet (but simply scaled up), there would be little to differentiate them (the additional size would be wasted). Android is in this position today, but should change in future.

Apple has targeted development tools and resources at the iPad that are similar to the iPhone, but fully utilising the potential of a larger device. Many apps now have an iPad-specific version, or are iPad-only (like iWork) because the task is not well-suited to a smaller screen. These apps are often much closer to full PC applications than a phone, enabling them to replace PCs - and hence the call to classify them in the same group.

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If tablets are PCs...

If tablets are PCs, then the iPad is not a tablet.

The iPad is a locked-down appliance -- if I'm not allowed to break it by installing duff software, it's not a PC.

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Duh

Fantastic logic there...

The washing machine is a locked-down appliance -- if I'm not allowed to break it by installing a microwave, it's not a washing machine.

I'll have what you're smoking please.

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Anonymous Coward

If you're going to count the iPad...

.. You may as well count the iPod touch as well..

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g e
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If you're going to count the iPod touch

Then you may as well count the HTC Desire's which also have phone functionality included ;o)

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Jobs Halo

Re:

To be honest, we could count the vast majority of mobile devices, if we're counting the iPad.

Once again, this looks like stats manipulated to make the iPad look like such a magical and revolutionary device.

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FAIL

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight...

So I'm assuming that Canalys will be including all smartphones in their PC figures as well? If an iPad, a Galaxy Tab and the like are PCs, why would a couple of inches difference in screen size remove something from the category?

Or how about XBox 360s and PS3s? They've got ample processing power, and a number of applications you can download. Guess they should be counted as well.

"With screen sizes of seven inches or above, ample processing power, and a growing number of applications, pads offer a computing experience comparable to netbooks."

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Actually.....

A Galaxy Tab has more right to be called a PC than the iPad. For me, the term "PC" implies a general purpose computing device. You can write and/or run arbitrary programs on a Tab (or any other Android device) without having to ask permission from Samsung or Google.

You can only run applications sanctioned by Apple on an iPad, so it is *not* a general purpose computer and, therefore, *not* a PC.

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@Eponymous Cowherd

The dictionary agrees that a PC is a general purpose computing device, but I don't think walled garden versus free for all is relevant to the device classification, no matter how relevant it is to potential customers. The iPad has a microprocessor and an interface that is suitable for a variety of tasks and in practise can be used for such tasks as browsing, emailing, word processing, games, spreadsheets and others. It's therefore general purpose in that sense.

Personally, where the things that the majority of people use them for are the same, I'd use sales channels to differentiate products for the purposes of market reporting. So the Galaxy Tab, the iPad, etc, get bundled with things that are uncontroversially PCs since generally you walk into a shop and buy one.

Phones don't because generally you buy a phone contract and get the phone as a bonus. You may specifically pick the phone and pay a premium for it, but the main commercial transaction is the acquisition of the phone contract.

I don't go with the Canalys attempt to define a pad as something with at least a seven inch screen and then to try to get pads into the category of PCs.

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Boffin

@Eponymous Cowherd

It is called a _Personal_ Computer, not a GPC

Anything that contains a proper phone (ie not just Skype) could, and should, be excluded from this list, but I see no reason to exclude the Galaxy Tab (not that it will be enough to get into the top ten), or the iPad or indeed the iPod Touch. The entire point about the last two is that they are very personal.

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Where's the articles for number 1 and number 2?

Why is it we get an article everytime that Apple get to be number 3 (I'm sure there was a similar article some time ago on some other statistic where they were number 3)? But we don't get articles about the companies being number 1, and number 2 (which is surely more notable). Nor do we get news articles when any other company gets number 3. The same occurs in the mobile market - articles because the Iphone now gets to number 3.

Is number 3 special? Would you report on the Olympics, telling us who made number 3 position in the headlines?

As for definitions, don't Apple insist that Macs aren't PCs, let alone the Ipad? (I have no problem including the Ipad as a PC; the bigger problem is when the Ipad is counted as a mobile platform, but netbooks are ignored, artificially inflating Apple's share significantly.)

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@Mark .

"Why is it we get an article everytime that Apple get to be number 3 (I'm sure there was a similar article some time ago on some other statistic where they were number 3)? But we don't get articles about the companies being number 1, and number 2 (which is surely more notable)"

You almost touched the reason in your last line, here, but apparently chose to ignore it.

The likelihood is that there are no articles on numbers 1 and 2 because there is, in fact, NOTHING NEW and NOTABLE about their positions.

The company that is frequently called out for its relatively small market share ("How can you call Apple a major player with only n% of the market based on...?") nonetheless turning out to be the number 3 vendor among ALL personal computer manufacturers would, based on that perception, be noteworthy and, thus, news, while the usual suspects holding (or swapping) the number 1 and 2 spots for the umpteenth times in the last five years would be neither.

It's new. That's why it's called news.

As to:

"(I have no problem including the Ipad as a PC; the bigger problem is when the Ipad is counted as a mobile platform, but netbooks are ignored, artificially inflating Apple's share significantly.)"

...I didn't see anywhere in the article that netbooks were not included in the survey. Where did you see it? I *HAVE* seen articles claiming that tablets -- notably the iPad, since it's the big seller in the field at the moment -- have been drastically cutting in to netbook sales; it appears entirely possible that netbook sales WERE included in the survey, and Apple came out at #3 WITH the new, lower, netbook sales numbers included.

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If we include smartphones...

Nokia might be number 1.

For 2009, they sold 68 million, giving an average of 17 million a quarter, easily reaching number 2 on the PC figures, and only just short of HP's number 1. But 2010 sales could well be higher. ( http://noknok.tv/2010/12/06/nokia-n8-helps-nokia-to-dwarf-apple-iphone-4-sales/ )

And why stop at smartphones? Feature phones can run apps, access the Internet - the "smartphone" classification is entirely arbitrary, and usually refers to high end hardware features like GPS that you won't on a PC anyway. Feature phones are locked down, but so are the Iphone and Ipad. So yes, let's include those too.

Nokia's 2009 figures now show a whopping 108 million units per quarter. That's more Iphones and Ipads that have ever been sold.

But no, we couldn't possibly have an article showing Nokia in a good light - let's just pick the stats that make Apple look good, and ignore Nokia as always...

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Happy

Of course it is a PC

The iPad is indeed a Personal Computer. Have a look in any dictionary and you will find a personal computer (PC) is defined as any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it useful for individuals in contrast to terminals running off a mainframe or mini computer.

Microsoft classes the iPad as a PC as Steve Balmer is on record as stating as do analysts DisplaySearch and Barrons in addition to Canalys. All analysts considers tablet PCs to be Personal Computers and everyone considers tablet PCs like the HP Slate to be direct competitors in the same market as the iPad.

The iPad has a bigger screen than most netbooks which most definitely are classed as PCs and the iPad happily runs powerful word processing, desktop publishing, painting and photo-editing software, spreadsheets, databases and video editing apps in addition to of course email, web browsing and desktop-class games at least on par with the capabilities of netbooks.

You can connect an iPad to a data projector and do powerpoint-compatible slideshows (using Keynote), and now print wirelessly to a growing number of printers.

Many commentators have indicated how the iPad has replaced their notebook PC for a majority of tasks and most analysts are on record as stating that the iPad has cannibalised laptops and netbook sales and you can only "cannibalise" something that is of your own kind.

Some argue that because an iPad needs to be connected to another computer for system updates means it can't be classed as a PC despite the fact that the iPad can download media, apps and other data independently over the air. However this is splitting hairs as you would then have to discount the millions of PCs that are sold as Point of Sale terminals or factory floor boxes completely dependent on a server to function as well.

Yes, the iPad is a PC and Apple is indeed now Number 1 in PC retail computer sales in the USA and number 3 in computer sales worldwide.

As far as whether smartphones are PCs or not, that's when the lines get distinctly blurry. :-)

-Mart

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Alert

The dividing line is now so vague.

So a 5" Dell Streak isn't a PC but a 7" one is?

Right.

These figures only make sense it divided up in manner most people would agree with and understand - Desktops, Laptops, Tablets (screens over 5"), Smartphones & PMPs (screens under 5")...not perfect but most of us would understand what was being talked about.

Clearly Apple would have a monumental market share in the the tablet category a fair chunk in the PMP/phone section but much less in the first two, especially outside the USA.

Of course if analysts did this there would be no reason to issue so many pointless press releases.

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WTF?

I've got an old Nokia from 2005.....

......can we count that as well? Just who is trying to boost who here and why? This "reclassification" has bugger all to do with how you define a pc. I smell somebody on earners.

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just a thought

but surely the fact that you need a PC (more specifically a machine running iTunes) inorder to set-up and configure an iPad removes it from the possible PC category.

A PC should be able to function fully, without depending on another machine for config.

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If it's a phone, it's a phone

Yes, a smartphone is a PC. Can a computer get any more personal? But it's not counted in the PC numbers because phones are a different category. iPad is more like a notebook, netbook or "smartbook" - something that clearly should be included in the PC category.

Of course the phones are not included in the PC numbers, because they're phones - not because they're not PCs. The iPod Touch is a PC too, and it's not a phone. It's not included in these numbers I guess because it's supposedly primarily a music player. But eventually it will probably be included too.

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FAIL

Cars are now PCs?

So if you buy a car that has a computer in it and some screens for display, should it also be considered a PC?

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HP, Acer, Dell have been in the tablet market for years

I can't believe the general bitter tone of the comments about the iPad not being a computer. You can read the news, type a letter and print it, play a film, play an instrument, paint on it, edit photos, surf the internet, look through email, plug in a braille reader, use a MIDI instrument etc. etc.

When the amazing 90+% marketshare was calculated for WIndows® it includes all kinds of things (as Martin Hill has alluded to) that are used for less general purpose computing than iPad.

> The question is, will Apple be pushed back again when HP, Acer, Dell and co. release their tablets? ®

Didn't they already do this years ago? There has always been a tablet market, just not very big one.

Or you referring to the post iPad tablet market. i.e. now Apple has shown everyone else how to capture consumer interest in the form factor.

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Market segment, guys, not hardware capability

Maybe it's because this is Reg Hardware and it's full of propeller heads who live and breathe hardware specs. But only such geekery would confuse a smartphone with an iPad in a market survey, just because their hardware and software capabilities are basically the same. The above comment about smart cars just highlights your confusion.

Categories are, in general, blurry things, and depend on the domain you're comparing in. I'm racking my brains for funny analogies and failing, but in a market share survey, marketing is the domain, not hardware or software capability. Hence anything shown to occupy the same market segment should be in the category 'PC', and anything sold to a different market segment, even if it's identical in capability, should not.

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