If the iPad counts, Apple is now the top PC manufacturer worldwide

By on January 31, 2012, 9:39 AM

After a record breaking $46 billion quarter, timing continues to be perfect at Cupertino for a Steve Jobs' "boom" moment. Apple reportedly sold 15 million iPads and 5 million Macs worldwide last quarter, representing 17% of the overall PC market. That is, of course, if you include tablets as part of the pie. Then Apple would have trumped HP to become the world's largest PC vendor.

Research firm Canalys is reporting fourth quarter sales for the PC sector, or what they are calling "client PCs" which includes desktops, laptops, netbooks and tablets. Under that designation, PC sales grew at a healthy 16% year on year, reaching 120 million units. If you were to take tablets out of the equation, then PC sales would have declined slightly by 0.4%, meaning that tablets were the driving force for PC sales last year and Apple evidently captured a majority of those with the iPad.

The Thailand floods are also cited in the report as one of the causes for PC shortages and a "mild disruption" in shipments during the quarter.

Behind Apple is HP, Lenovo, Dell and Acer. Of that group, only Lenovo was able to grow sales by 2 percent, while the rest of manufacturers saw declines. This is not surprising considering tablets were not core products for these companies, and probably won't take much precedence until Windows 8 arrives later this year. Ultrabooks are also expected to spur consumer sales in 2012 for traditional PC vendors.

The report breaks down tablets as accounting for 22% of the total PC shipments during Q4/2011. The Kindle Fire was the second best-selling tablet and the competing Nook took the fifth place.

As we've observed time and time again, there's some subjectivity on what should count as a PC. For a while netbooks were too small and impractical to be included or compared to a 'full PC', today the line dividing netbooks and laptops has all but dissapeared (if not the category as a whole). Personally, at this point, I would say both tablets AND smartphones count as PCs, but there's an obvious difference between the devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop/desktop) from most mobile to least portable, and from least useful to potentially most productive and powerful.




User Comments: 37

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sowens3000 said:

Mac is okay but PC is a lot better

Guest said:

"If the iPad counts..." It doesn't. It is not a PC, it's a gadget, a toy for people who have more money than common sense.

Cota Cota said:

"Personal Computer" i surely don't have one of those since my desktop is used by a lot of people in my family, mostly cousins, but still.

If we talk about "Computers" well i would say that those energy saving bulbs win the market since some of them use logic gates on their integrated circuit.

Sorry Apple you just lost that title.

Qrox Qrox said:

Agreed. Ipad is in no way a pc

Modena said:

Good for them. I wish I could sell overpriced items to the masses.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I must have blacked out the year tablets became even remotely synonymous with personal computers. Tablets and PCs are mutually exclusive.

I hate using an automobile analogy, but they are surprisingly useful. RVs are not cars, but they are vehicles. Just because they are vehicles, you can't consider them cars. The same logic applies.

Just because tablets perform few of the same functions as a PC (e-mail, browsing, etc), which in the analogy would be being able to drive an RV the same way as a car, or it also having an engine, doesn't mean their purposes are intrinsically equal. Because of their distinct inequality, a distinct label should apply to each.

Apple deserves praise for creating a market, but I don't believe this new market should be merged with another just be because some haven't figured out their true differences.

This is not directed to TechSpot, but to everyone in general.

dedparrot said:

a lot of people use their computers to browse the internet (facebook, twitter etc.), listen to music, watch videos. so the iPad seems to perform the same function as a PC for a lot of people.

the fact that Apple sell their devices at (what i feel, but not entirely true) extortionate prices, within a monkey simplistic OS, manages to destroy any sound reasoning employed by the critics of Apple.

i'm on the fence about wanting an iPad. it performs nearly all the things i do on a pc, which is browse the web and play games. the iPad can't come close to fulfilling my need for online fps games, but it sure can browse the web well, whenever and wherever. i said i'm on the fence because buying an Apple products makes me feel that i'm supporting the dumbing down of personal computers. iOS just simply feels like jump into an app, jump out of an app, jump into an app, jump out of an app.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

"Good for them. I wish I could sell overpriced items to the masses."

Yeah because there are a bunch of tablets similar to the iPad that are far less cheaper, the same goes to the Macbook Air and the iPhone.

Most competitors debut costing more than the iPad and then they drop prices after their tablets sell terribly.

The "Apple is overpriced" argument was OK up until 3-5 years ago, it's getting boring and outdated now please find new ways to dish Apple.

dedparrot said:

dedparrot said:

the fact that Apple sell their devices at (what i feel, but not entirely true) extortionate prices, within a monkey simplistic OS, manages to destroy any sound reasoning employed by the critics of Apple.

what i meant to say was, apple critics don't employ sound reasoning because a lot of them are so riled up about the fascistic iOS and the price of their devices.

Guest said:

For me Personal Computer is a device that need to have:

1. CPU

2. GPU

3. Memory (RAM)

4. Storage (HDD, SSD)

5. Display

6. Input (keyboard, mouse, touch screen)

7. Operating System (Linux, Unix, Windows ,iOS)

8. Most important being able to install and run programs / applications.

9. And these days being able to network (TCP/IP) - wireless or cable.

As iPad has all that it should be considered a PC.

Guest said:

If Hp or Dell or anyone had the sales/profit that Apple has, I don't think they would give a darn about what an Ipad is. Is it a pc? Is a tablet? no, its called a Profit!

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

dedparrot said:

a lot of people use their computers to browse the internet (facebook, twitter etc.), listen to music, watch videos. so the iPad seems to perform the same function as a PC for a lot of people.

That's precisely why I used the RV analogy. You can not only drive an RV, but you can sleep, eat and live in it. You can't do that on a car.

Just because you can also put gas in an RV, or be able to drive it around, doesn't justify labeling it as a car. Its purpose and objective is completely different.

The tablet market does blur the line between PC and Tablet, but it doesn't erase it entirely.

mario said:

"Good for them. I wish I could sell overpriced items to the masses."

Yeah because there are a bunch of tablets similar to the iPad that are far less cheaper, the same goes to the Macbook Air and the iPhone.

Most competitors debut costing more than the iPad and then they drop prices after their tablets sell terribly.

The "Apple is overpriced" argument was OK up until 3-5 years ago, it's getting boring and outdated now please find new ways to dish Apple.

I especially blame the OS that runs the competing platform. Android is an absolutely terrible tablet OS. It's clear Google doesn't care about the user experience, and only cares about putting as many devices that can use their services (and see their ads) as they can. This is the very reason fragmentation in the Android platform is so common.

The Asus Transformer is literally 300 less than the iPad, and I can assure you, if Apple made iOS cross-platform, it would perform equally or better than the iPad 2.

The same applies to smartphones. You can go into an AT&T store and buy a $50 Windows Phone, that runs in older hardware compared to iPhone 4S, but regarding smoothness and efficiency (of the OS), it manages to outperform iOS.

(I've owned a Samsung Focus for 9 months now, and I've never let the battery die (fortunately, I always happen to be near an outlet!). Mostly because of my job, I just can't afford to let it die.

With that said, it has never "frozen" on me once. My phone has been "on" for 9 straight months without a hitch.)

In essence, Apple products are not overpriced because of their hardware, but because of their experience. And I like that (my girlfriend has the 4S, and I enjoy it). But when people criticize Apple they don't take into consideration that the reason most people choose Apple over Android is not necessarily hardware, but software (and to those drinking less of the kool-aid, both). To you that might seem unfair, but, realistically, a gadget is not only composed of software.

Regardless of the experience however, the iPad 2 should at least cost 400-450 dollars, considering the iPad 2 costs them $330 to make.

TechM633 said:

Boy, just imagine if the Xbox counted......or any phone that has a full OS on it? Just imagine......lol.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Is the iPad a PC? No. But, there are actual tablet PCs out there, which were in the industry long before the iPad was born (been using them in control products for over a decade personally). So, it's hard for me to consider tablets and PCs mutually exclusive, since there are really 2 levels of tablets: actual tablet PCs (with full PC operating systems) and the current wave of tablet appliances, which have basically hijacked the "tablet" moniker. They can be very similar in form factor, with wildly different abilities and user experiences.

The lines are going to continue to blur as time goes on. Windows 8 stands to make the entire "tablet vs PC" argument fuzzy. Some seem to keep repeating the "tablets are a fad" mantra, almost like they are trying to convince themselves more than the people around them, but the tablet form factor seems likely to be here to stay. What's inside that tablet, both hardware and software, is where the evolution is occurring. Maybe, by the iPad's 5th generation, it will be computer-ish enough that we will consider it a PC... Stranger things have happened.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

That's precisely why I used the RV analogy. You can not only drive an RV, but you can sleep, eat and live in it. You can't do that on a car.

Just because you can also put gas in an RV, or be able to drive it around, doesn't justify labeling it as a car. Its purpose and objective is completely different.

I could argue that when you look at highway traffic statistics, or the amount of travelers on the road during a holiday (as is often reported by news agencies during the holidays) that RVs would be included in that number. So... tablets could be included in the PC sales. Especially like one of the posters above said, most of what people do on PCs can be done on tablets now.

Guest said:

But it doesn't. Sry brah.

veLa veLa said:

said:

"If the iPad counts

Well we don't live in what if land.

Guest said:

If you include IPads as a computer does that mean the figures include the $99/$149 HP Touchpad? I am not an expert but for several months I thought Touchpad was the biggest seller of pad devices. I really hate these drive-by news bites with imaginary computers added to the figures, what if you added HPs Business servers to the imaginary mix.. they are closer to PCs than a pad device. If you are going to include an IPad which is not a PC, shouldn't you include the touchpad. Bet HP still wins. Apple wins in the profit margin but what do people who actually have a brain and a budget buy? I love my Touchpad, it will be a little more useful when Android for Touchpad is out of beta. And it only cost 99 bucks and does what most people use pads for, mail, web browsing, music and movies right now.

EEatGDL said:

Guest said:

For me Personal Computer is a device that need to have:

1. CPU

2. GPU

3. Memory (RAM)

4. Storage (HDD, SSD)

5. Display

6. Input (keyboard, mouse, touch screen)

7. Operating System (Linux, Unix, Windows ,iOS)

8. Most important being able to install and run programs / applications.

9. And these days being able to network (TCP/IP) - wireless or cable.

As iPad has all that it should be considered a PC.

LOL, your enlisting is quite vague, is like the ancient greeks defining a human like an animal without feathers and 2 feet; then we're plucked chickens. Any engineer would differ pretty much about the definition of a PC; which nowadays is clearly hard to define and make it differ from other form factors and concepts. So by your definition for example, the ASUS transformer is clearly a PC because it has all of the above and even USB ports; the iPad lacks of removable media which the Transformer and almost all cellphones have (SD memory). Even a netbook may not have an optical drive for removable media or maybe a few not even memory readers; but they all surely have USB that may be used to plug USB memories, again removable media. So... by definition: a PC must have removable media/drives in that "Pro-Apple list"; even the old Windows 1.0 PCs had floppy drive. So clearly that must go in the list as a component of PC, at least. So let's ask us: by that list any touchscreen smartphone with those components and a memory card is a computer now?

Let's check back again Samsung numbers, a company that sells "computers", smartphones and tablets; it surely would make a difference in the market share, don't you think?

monkeychef23 monkeychef23 said:

Guess what; we don't factor Ipads into PC sales, so Apple is not the largest PC vendor.

It's like saying if Romney wasn't running, Santorum would be winning. But guess what, Romney IS RUNNING so who honestly cares. (btw idk who is in or out, and santorum might be out already).

AmpFeare said:

macs are overrated and way too price. u can do anything development wise on windows the same way u can with mac osx u just need to know the right programs. i could buid the best gaming machine on the market today for roughly 2.5k this includes a top notch monitor and an extra expensive sound system. so why pay 2gs for a half *** specd mac when u could build the best windows pc out to date for roughly the same price.

or u could buildyour own pc with the same specs as all the imacs for half the price, u choose

waterproof said:

Not everyone are buying brand name 'PC', a lot of my friends and including myself are building our own PCs, whether basic or gaming purposes. It's cheaper and you get more out of it than 'branded' PC sets.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

macs are overrated and way too price. u can do anything development wise on windows the same way u can with mac osx u just need to know the right programs. i could buid the best gaming machine on the market today for roughly 2.5k this includes a top notch monitor and an extra expensive sound system. so why pay 2gs for a half *** specd mac when u could build the best windows pc out to date for roughly the same price.

or u could buildyour own pc with the same specs as all the imacs for half the price, u choose

Does a spelling and grammar check come included in your PC purchase?

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Not everyone are buying brand name 'PC', a lot of my friends and including myself are building our own PCs, whether basic or gaming purposes. It's cheaper and you get more out of it than 'branded' PC sets.

Good point, surprised nobody else mentioned it prior. It is usually mentioned right away. Does anyone have any data on this though? Serious question, I don't know.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I especially blame the OS that runs the competing platform. Android is an absolutely terrible tablet OS. It's clear Google doesn't care about the user experience, and only cares about putting as many devices that can use their services (and see their ads) as they can. This is the very reason fragmentation in the Android platform is so common.

Couldn't agree more, and I'll add one more bit, I have yet to find an android device which I couldn't crash one way or another during 'normal' use. So I'll also add stability to this list, along with emerging security issues due to pretty bad market management.

Note: My current smartphone i.e. HTC Sensation crashes more often than it hangs, so at least it is little better when compared to SGS, which routinely hanged / or suffered from crashes.

In essence, Apple products are not overpriced because of their hardware, but because of their experience. And I like that (my girlfriend has the 4S, and I enjoy it).

You countered this with your pricing suggestions, which look very 'reasonable' IMHO. Having said that, I totally agree iPhone 4S is a pleasure to use.

Guest said:

A "Personal Computer" needs to have customisation. Something the iOS greatly lacks, and purposely continues to limit.

At least in Windows I can remove any and all sign of any default applications I don't want. iOS wont even let me put stock apps in folders any more...

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Guest above, this can be so true about droids of many manufacturers as well, e.g. I can't uninstall FB app on my HTC Sensation, unless I root it, which is pretty stupid limitation IMO.

Guest said:

No they don't count nor does that ooze they produce.

Give your workers a 1000% raise then we'll talk.

foreverzero89 said:

of course it doesn't count. silly apple.

tengeta tengeta said:

Assuming they lock up PC's as tight as smartphones/tablets, sure you could consider them one.

Guest said:

I'm surprised how people compare a tablet with a full powered computer? It's like comparing a roadside performer with Tom Hanks. A computer is always a computer and will remain forever. Macintosh is really good but Apple is not the No.1 computer manufacturer.

[email address removed]

Guest said:

yes, iPad is a personal computer, technically.

it has input, storage, processing unit, and output.

Guest said:

personal computer

Definition

per*son*al com*put*erper*son*al com*put*ers Plural

NOUN

1. single-user computer: a computer with its own operating system and a wide selection of software, intended to be used by one person

^iPad is a PC....Boom

To all you haters out there, get over it.

Guest said:

I would have to disagree with the few that believe that the iPad is a PC. If not by my personal qualifications, then by Steve Jobs himself when he said "The iPad is not a computer...". Arguement is now concluded. As my worthless opinion goes, I think the author of the article should have taken a different apporoach and not written it so quickly. A little more time would have uncovered more facts that were needed for a sold piece, but hey, it was successful enough to get a good number of response, eh?

The iPad was an instant interest as well as an instant target for critics who not really having a comparison, placed it in the PC catergory therfore claiming the iPad was lacking and short on the options.

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-03-02/tech/29977517
1_pc-market-tablet-market-pc-world

If you want a PC tablet you would have to go with a Windows or Android version which offers a more competitive set of goodies and more software abilities where Apple should have gone (according to some people). Some tablets actually connect or morph into a laptop which in my opinion qualify as a PC, (i.e. Asus as just one example).

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Anyone remember when a tablet was a actual PC with windows and x86 hardware, they still make those, i would suggest those over any of these overprice toys any day of the week.

Guest said:

@sowens3000

You are so part of the problem. Repeat after me: Apple sucks, and they sell marked up garbage.

The problem is this: You're wishy washy and say apple is okay, and someone takes your word for it. Then they talk to the apple fan down the street and the apple fan says, "PCs and windows-based products give you AIDS, malaria, typhoid, will cause birth defects, and that's just what you get from looking at them!"

They're far more likely to take the advice of the person who is vehement and seemingly well-informed. Take a stand.

Emin3nce said:

Apple is terrible, Apple fanboys are rich hipsters / wannabes. Umad?

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