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Apple as top personal computer vendor

“Yes. I think it’s possible if you integrate tablets”

– Meg Whitman, HP CEO in response to the question of whether Apple could overtake HP in computer sales in 2012.

via HP CEO Meg Whitman Admits Apple Could Surpass HP in 2012 | MacTrast.

However, according to Gartner, HP shipped 14.7 million PCs in the last quarter. While we don’t have the total global figure for Apple, my estimates are 5.2 million Macs and 14.7 million iPads, for a total of 19.9 million computers in the same period.

There might be an error in both Gartner’s and my numbers, but the gap of over five million in Apple’s favor is unlikely to disappear.

The history of shipments from these vendors  is shown below.

The market shares are also shown here:

I included the market shares thee years ago, and the rankings with the iPad excluded.[1] Apple went from 3.42% share at the end of 2008 to 5.6% share today excluding the iPad or 17.6% including the iPad. HP went from 19.3% in 2008 to 16% today or 13% if iPad is included.

Apple is ahead of schedule on their taking[2] the top spot in terms of units.

Notes:

  1. Although vendors other than Apple also sell tablets, their totals are unpublished and I am not aware of any estimates so. If anyone has seen estimates I would be happy to amend the data.
  2. Throughout the history of the industry, Apple never held the top spot.   The Apple II peaked at 15.8% in 1984 and the Mac at 12% in 1992.
  • http://twitter.com/disc1979 Dirk Schmidt

    For the blog post http://www.asymco.com/2011/11/16/the-end-of-the-dedicated-portable-device/  I have used Strategy Analytics for the aggregate number of tablets. For most of the quarters they have some free data in the press releases.

  • Anurag

    The way PC category exist is due to its historical nature but if you wish to include all personal computing devices on what basis would you exclude smartphones? To me they are personal computing devices first and phones later.

    • poke

      I think, ultimately, this is true of the long-term – the PC and mobile phone markets are being disrupted by a single, unified mobile devices market that contains different form factors – but at the moment there are important differences in distribution model that separate the two markets.

      I think we need to remember that what we’re looking for here is not an essentialist definition of what a personal computer is but a pragmatic categorisation that allows us to be best understand market trends. Right now I think there’s a very strong case that in order to see what’s happening in the PC market you need to include tablets.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Stay tuned.

    • http://kaizenity.blogspot.com/ FalKirk

      Smart phones are definitely personal computers. Desktops, notebooks, tablets and smart phones are all personal computers that can easily be sub-categorized by form factor. The personal computer that always strikes me as odd is the netbook, which is not so much described by its form factor as by its limitations (not a full keyboard, lower powered, etc.) In my view, these should all be considered personal computers and then the sub-categories can be divided or combined as necessary.

    • http://twitter.com/kirkburgess kirkburgess

      It appears we need a new definition for “personal computing devices” – if they are defined as devices that can run applications & access the internet etc, then we not only have to include desktops, laptops, tablets & smartphones – but also ipod touches, home gaming consoles, portable game consoles, smart TVs, and Apple/google TV like devices.

      That marketshare graph would look somewhat different….

    • Anurag

      This discussion has thrown up a more fundamental question, which is the objective of this study/publication? Is it for understand marketing, technological or consumption pattrns? Each of this is a valid exercise but will be distinct. Thus for marketing purpose it has to be categorized on corporate vs retail sales channels; while for technology it is most challenging as disruptions are quite common for e.g point and shoot camera will be absorbed by smartphone so we have category which was not in this study before but is now. The consumer pattern will need to identify the major use cases that can be used for designing category for e.g device being used as tool for communication, collaboration and documentation in office etc. Atleast I am not aware of these fundamental basis and would appreciate if you could fill in.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        A different categorization is a lens through which you will see all the patterns you mention differently.

  • Anurag

    The previous comment was left incomplete :-( hence new comments. 

    My reasoning is that computing categories should be analyzed from consumers perspectives i.e the first separation in computing devices should be between server devices and client or personal devices (in some use cases there might not be clear separation). Then within personal computing devices the separation could be for specialized devices like desktop, notebook/tablet, smartphone etc. Basically, should follow the lead of auto industry and achieve a standard classification.

  • Anonymous

    Are iOS devices really “personal” ? They’re *individual* in the sense that you own one, but I have doubts about *personal* since one can’t get *any random* apps on their own iPads. I’d call them Curated (or Censored if you feel bad about it) computers. Same as many content stores are curated and won’t sell pornographic, political, religious… stuff. (funny to see those 3 together ^^)

    • jawbroken

      Seems like an arbitrary line you’re drawing. Are Windows computers not personal computers because Microsoft tries to prevent you from running programs to crack their activation check and their virus scanner tries to prevent you from installing malware?

      For me, this would only make “curated” computers and personal computers different categories if there was evidence that the curation was seen to make the computers useless for a significant number of people who were looking for a device to do their computing tasks. Personally I haven’t seen such evidence.

      • Anonymous

        Mmmm… you really don’t grok the difference between trying to get users to use an antivirus (which is optional, by the way) and having some DRM/authentification on the OS about the OS itself, and barring all apps that include a shop that doesn’t pay the 30% Apple fee, or are too political/pornographic/religious/whatever (guidelines are mainly unpublished and vary over time, and include stuff competing with Apple’s own products) ?

      • jawbroken

        Obviously there are differences, the line is still fuzzy though. If I get a laptop from work that I can’t install arbitrary applications on because I don’t have the administrator password then should be somehow not count that as a PC?

        I think I was clear in my second paragraph what my thoughts were on the significance of those differences and relevance to a category use to compare market shares, though.

      • Anonymous

        Again, there’s no comparison between the owner of a computer choosing to lock it down, and the manufacturer doing so forcibly.

        Amongst things that a locked-down model prohibits, are 
        – buying cheaper stuff, by bypassing the 30% Apple fee, and having access to freeware. There’s many more free and good apps on Android than on iOS (LAN access, remoting, DLNA…)
        – installing differents OSes/UI Shells/OS Utilities. Flash for example, I’m not saying that it’s good, I’m saying that if someones must needs have it, they should be able to. I’d also love to have Linux on a tablet or phone, mainly for OpenOffice and remoting both ways.
        – being able to buy/view any content, from any sources (that includes apps and media). 

      • jawbroken

        There is a comparison, obviously, because I made one. What is the difference from the user’s perspective if Apple or their workplace restricts what applications can be installed? They’re not identical but, as I’ve said twice previously, your definition seem fuzzy and unhelpful. In what way does your definition of a personal computer help understand the presented data and the computing market? The second paragraph of my original comment was really the important part and you seem to have missed it. It’s not particularly relevant whether you accept a comparison or not.

      • Anonymous

        OK, try to do the comparison from the owner’s perspective.

      • Anonymous

        You appear to argue software features as a PC standard.  Others are arguing features and abilities as a standard.  Jailbreaking OS is not a new software but installing Android on an iPhone/iPad is possible.  So, if your only standard is the ability to abandon iOS, and that is a confident and plausable possiblity, do you agree that a PC is a descriptor for the iPad?Or another way, if Redmond comes out with an ARM/Metro tablet.  No way to back into the classic Windows 7 viewset, no mouse or keyboard, will it be a PC?  Or will you require that Android run on that client too?

        -RJ

      • Anonymous

        It depends on whether that MS tablet allows sideloading of apps, content, utils and even OSes or not. I really think there’s a different pbetween the PC model as we know it (an open device, with a choice of OS and content), and a Console model with closed hardwre, OS, software, with the iPad and WinMob leaning more towards Consoles.
        Imagine if MS or IBM had pulled the same trick back when the PC was only nascent. IE would be the only browser, VBA the only programming language, MS would make 30% on all content and apps sold for a Windows PC… Would the PC industry be as much fun ?

      • Anonymous

        The definition of a PC has morphed beyond recognition in the modern age of the ubiquitous computer. There’s no putting everything back into Pandora’s Box any more. Apple has busted the paradigm wide open, and that’s that. Your definition is no more useful than anyone elses at defining the undefinable, obarthelemy. It merely ends up defining you, and in this case your prejudice against closed systems.

        Apple has moved beyond definitions. it has moved well and truly into the realm of the ubiquitous computer. As such, it is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the revisualization of computers in the modern world. And as such, it is merely at the beginning of its growth and development as a computer designer and manufacturer.

      • Anonymous

        Apple had noting to do with that ubiquity, they neither invented PDAs (I had a Palm Pilot around 1995 ? Wonderful machine), nor smartphones (had an LG/WinMob piece of crap much before the iPhone), nor tablets (fond memories of a Fujitsu/XP thingie… NOT ^^). I’ve said it here before, I’ll say it again, what Apple does is make pre-existing geeky stuff fashionable and easy to use. Nothing more, nothing less. They’re doing it at the right time, because computers were ready to break out from the nerd brigade into the Johnses’s world (blindsiding MS’s nerds), and the Johnses do need to show off and have things made easy for them.
        Apple is just riding the wave and looking sexy doing it, not creating it.

      • Anonymous

        That’s your opinion. Mine is that Apple IS the wave. Time will tell which of us is right.

      • http://twitter.com/kirkburgess kirkburgess

        Im sorry – but comparing tablets pre-ipad to the ipad and claiming apple didnt invent anything new is rediculous. Tablets before the ipad were simply PC hardware with a touch screen. The iPad WAS a new product category, running on completley different hardware & OS software & ecosystem (the 3 fundamentals of a computing platform)..

      • Xpctech

        > Apple had noting to do with that ubiquity, they neither invented PDAs (I had a Palm Pilot around 1995 

        So? I remember Apple’s Newton back in 1993.

      • Canucker

        I can see it now – that’s the argument that Microsoft and the Windows OEMs will make to exclude iPads from the PC + Tablet mix. People will see through it simply because they use iPads in the same manner as PCs. Defining curated vs “open” (which has its own complete series of definitions) is arbitrary since many aspects of traditional PCs are anything but open. It’s not black and white and, more importantly, it is irrelevant. These are two approaches to the same problem. I am not sure why anyone is getting their knickers in a twist over definitions. I’m pretty sure Apple doesn’t give a hoot as to what people think should define a PC. They’re perfectly happy making more than 10X $ per device than “traditional” PC makers.

      • Anonymous

        Very true about Apple. We’re not Apple though, and I wonder if we should be as elated to get “curated”.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        Heck yes.  If it keeps my time free from “fixing” other’s computers like I did for years on Windows and have refused to on Android.

      • Anonymous

        I’m with you on that one. A bit sad to justify Apple closed-ness via MS sucky-ness though ^^ I haven’t had nowhere near the number of issues with Android as with Windows, which is very understandable since the hardware is fixed (no drivers issues) , there are no cables to get disconnected, and no moving parts/PSU to fail.

      • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

        Locked-down corporate desktops are still “personal” and not some other kind of computer because corporations are persons, didn’t you hear?

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        So in your view, you would consider Android tablets a “PC” but not an iOS tablet a PC because Android offers a fewer selection of applications that are of significantly lower quality than iOS?  You would make that distinction because you can (in most cases) side load?

        Sounds amazingly arbitrary to me with little to back up the view point.

        All that really matters is if people are buying these devices and tasking them to similar purposes as the traditional “PC”.  The source of applications (with 100’s of thousands of free ones available for iOS) does not enter into the discussion.

      • Anonymous

        Nope, not because it has fewer apps, but because I can install any app, from any source, and buy any content on it. Quality of apps has nothing to do with it either.

        iOS computers are “personal” in the same sense your work PC is “personal”… You don’t really own either.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        So if an automobile manufacturer says that replacement of the engine voids the warranty then you don’t actually own the car?

      • Anonymous

        The correct analogy would be with a car manufacturer “curating” which gas you can use, which roads you can drive on, and which destinations you can go to. A Car is a tool to go places, same as a Computer is a tool to run/play content.

        Imagine Ford allowing refuels only in Ford-branded service stations, and charging hotels a 30% transportation fee for guest driving up in a Ford ? How would *that* have changed travel/motoring, and ancillary industries over the last century ?

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        No it isn’t. Your assessment dealt with modifiability of the device as it relates to ownership. You can modify anything on an iPhone but you will violate the warranty or terms of use. This is a common precaution all manufacturers place on their products. As “curated” computers become predominant if not the only option in the future they will conform to how all products are sold and the anomaly of what you call “personal” will end.

      • Anonymous

        No. I’m not talking about modifying a device, but using it for its primary purpose, which is “running apps and showing content”, same as it is “going places” for a car. Installing an App is no more modifying the device than installing snow tires is on a car, or using your Ford to work for GM.
        I understand how changing “running apps and showing contents” to “running apps and showing content we approve of, giving us 30% in the process” is a nice proposition for Apple, but this is bound to come back and bite us users. Apple will get greedy, or incompetent, or both, same as every company before them. I’m mighty happy I can run Linux on my netbook-based home server instead of having to upgrade it and pay $100 for a Windows license. 
        And jailbreaking an iPhone 1- cannot be done by the non-tech savvy, 2- might become undoable for technical reasons at any time, 3- might actually violate laws (DMCA in the US ?), not contracts (and violating contracts might violate laws by itself), so we’re talking jailbreaking not only voiding your warranty, but being a criminal offense, in some countries.

      • Anonymous

        No. I’m not talking about modifying a device, but using it for its primary purpose, which is “running apps and showing content”, same as it is “going places” for a car. Installing an App is no more modifying the device than installing snow tires is on a car, or using your Ford to work for GM.
        I understand how changing “running apps and showing contents” to “running apps and showing content we approve of, giving us 30% in the process” is a nice proposition for Apple, but this is bound to come back and bite us users. Apple will get greedy, or incompetent, or both, same as every company before them. I’m mighty happy I can run Linux on my netbook-based home server instead of having to upgrade it and pay $100 for a Windows license. 
        And jailbreaking an iPhone 1- cannot be done by the non-tech savvy, 2- might become undoable for technical reasons at any time, 3- might actually violate laws (DMCA in the US ?), not contracts (and violating contracts might violate laws by itself), so we’re talking jailbreaking not only voiding your warranty, but being a criminal offense, in some countries.

      • Anonymous

        But you can’t run “any app, from any source, and buy content on it”. You can’t run Windows apps, or OSX apps, or iOS apps, or any of the other multitudinous apps that run on any other OS’s. You can only run apps that have been written for your specific OS, at least until someone writes an emulator app to run them in an inferior way. You’re as walled off as anyone else in your own little app world. But in your world there be dragons….

      • Anonymous

        Yes, but any app can be written for it, in any language, with any IDE/toolset, and distributed however anyone wants. There no thought police deciding what I should be running or not.

      • Anonymous

        I’m simply pointing out that that’s not what you said.

      • Anonymous

        In fact, there’s no “police” at all, which is why malwear is a serious problem on Android and not on iOS. That’s fine for the few, presumably like yourself, who can deal with that, but the jury’s still out on how most consumers will go. My guess is that walled gardens will soon be the rule and “jungles” will be very much the exception.

        And why should how you write an app have any beating on whether it’s an app for a PC or not? And distribution? PC’s have existed for decades with far more limiting distribution models. Again, irrelevant.

      • Anonymous

        Mmmm… there is a police, either via pulling apps, or antimalware apps, or only using the google app market… there is a choice, optional police if you wish. I’m sure walled gardens will be as successful as gated communities indeed, which I find kinda sad.
        As for having to use a specific language/toolset to write apps for a platform (and, in Apple’s case, buy a Mac and a subscription), it’s a just an extra niggle, barrier to entry, to cross-platform dev… If you’re a company wanting to support mobile clients with fat apps for your staff’s mobile devices, you either have to go all-in on Apple, or duplicate work, or avoid iOS entirely. If you’ve done Apps in a non-Apple-Approved language, you’ve got to recode entirely, not just port.

      • Anonymous

        Not my point. You’re saying it’s NOT a PC if it isn’t open. You haven’t proven your point. Ergo, as of now, it’s just an opinion,and as such no more valid than anyone else’s.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        “you really don’t grok the difference between trying to get users to use an antivirus (which is optional, by the way) and having some DRM/authentification on the OS about the OS itself”

        As for if a computer is a “personal computer”?  In no way shape or form.  I am clueless why it would make a difference.  For the tech inclined, you can jailbreak the device.  For the vast majority of people, they simply do not care.

      • Anonymous

        let me make that sentence VERY clear for you:
        you really don’t grok the difference between
        1- trying to get users to use an antivirus (which is optional, by the way) and having some DRM/authentification on the OS about the OS itself, and
        2- barring all apps that include a shop that doesn’t pay the 30% Apple fee, or are too political/pornographic/religious/whatever (guidelines are mainly unpublished and vary over time, and include stuff competing with Apple’s own products) ?

        Better now ?

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        There was no misquote.  I stopped at the point where the first flaw in logic happened making the rest of the quote meaningless.

        Better now?  I am guessing we will never reach an understanding on this.

    • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

      Does it mater?  Seriously?

      Does it mater if the 500,000+ different applications come from a curated store by default for the bulk of users or a “random” apps from a jail break store for a subset of tech power users?

      I use my iPad more and more and my laptop less and less.  There are some things I can do better on my iPad like iThoughts HD.  The touch interface is, IMO, superior than the desktop interface for this activity.

      IMO, the source of where you get your applications has little or no bearing on if I use my iPad for the same tasks as my other “Personal Computers”.

      • Anonymous

        It’s not about the source, nor about the quantity, of the apps, it’s about the power of each person to do what they want with the device they bought. To me, that’s what “personal” means. Like my bedroom as opposed to some hotel’s, my car as opposed to a rental.

        What matters are not the million apps that are approved, but the few that are censored (Flash, alternative browsers, developement environments, content shops…)

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        And why does any of that matter if the device does everything it is tasked to do for the vast majority of people?

        You have yet to even begin to address that question. Likewise, you have not addressed the option millions of people have taken to jailbreak. Likewise, iOS does offer alternative browsers, development environments and content stores. It does not offer Flash.

      • Anonymous

        You’re being incredibly specific in your definition of “personal.” Are Android tablets PC’s? Android phones? Android refrigerators? How about Linux servers?

        You are defining the word personal in such a unique way as if your only goal is to incite as many comments as possible. It is a PC because it does the job of a PC. It is a PC because it has the entire industry nervous/excited at the way it is disrupting the value chain of traditional PC vendors. It is a PC because even business users are free to loa up whatever apps they please without fear of retribution from their IT departments.

      • Anonymous

        Jailbreaking is too difficult or scary for most users, illegal in some countries, and could go away any time, so it doesn’t change the basic question of what makes a computer “personal”, especially not in the long term. It’s similar to custom ROMs and chips on gaming consoles.

        Censorship matters because I’d argue the device doesn’t do everything it could/should to start with (again, Flash, alternative browsers/OS/UIs…), and can take away features/apps/contents at any time. Again, project ahead, and imagine how that could go wrong, the most benign form being Apple keeping their 30% fee stable despite huge economies of scale.

        Please do point me to the alternatives app stores, Firefox and Chrome for iOS, a cross-platform dev tool for fat-client approved by Apple…

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        You never said “Chrome” or “Firefox”.  You said “alternate browsers”.  There are alternate browsers for iOS (Opera for example).

        You never specified cross-platform dev tool for fat-clients.  You said development environments. There are dev tools available.  I have used the iPad to update code through SVN and then log in remotely to compile, build, validate a new build and submit to iTMS.  All using the iPad as the frontend/editor.  I think this satisfies your request.

        You claim there is no alternate content.  Netflix.

        You claim you can’t load apps from any source than the App Store.  I point out jail breaking.  You try to claim that does not count though millions and millions have jailbroken devices.

        Flash.  The one truth in your complaints.

        You ignore the 100’s of millions of ad supported free apps in the App Store that have no revenue sharing to Apple.

        You see computers as extension of your political beliefe system.  I don’t.  I outgrew that.  I view computers as a tool to get a job done in a consistent and cost effective way.  Has the iPad allowed me to replace many of the tasks my laptop used to be used for? Yep. Is it a “PC” as I use it?  Yep.

        You make so many factual errors in your understanding of iOS that it is impossible to think you have a deep understanding (making your use of the word “grok” completely misused) of the system enough to make an informed decision if the iPad is a “PC” or not a “PC”.

      • Anonymous

        More precisely, Opera Mini (server-based browser a la Amazon Silk) is available, not Opera Mobile, which is a full browser. So, no alternative browsers, basically only Safari/WebKit skins.

        So, no cross-platform dev tools for fat clients. Must use Apple Approved tools and languages, cf Developpers’ guidelines.

        Indeed, you can still stream to an iOS device without paying the Apple fee. For how long ?

        How long also until Apple decides to bar Adsense and Admob and enforce Quattro everywhere ?

        I do think getting walled-gardened may seem OK now, and bite us later. Look at what happened with MS’s Windows/Office lock-in: stagnation and monopoly. I’d really like to avoid a replay of that 10-20 years down the line.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        So again, you have many factual errors.

        Opera Mini is an alternate browser.  Period.  End of sentence.

        I specified how I use the iPad to aid in development.  It does not mater the SDK.  Why does it have to “cross platform”? I fully satisfy your original objections.  Period.  End of sentence. 

        You specified Apple takes 30% of app revenue.  I brought out free advert supported apps where Apple makes 0%.

        Personally, I have no desire to return to the lowest common denominator hardware quality of WinTel that AndArm is quickly going toward.

        Many of your views of iOS echo the views I have heard for years when Windows people would say Macs are bad because they needed to run applications like Office and Photoshop and you simply could not get those apps on a Mac.

        This is not to say that iOS or the Mac are the best solution for everyone.  There are many people where the full systems design is not a good thing.  It will limit what they want/need to accomplish  But on the flip side, there are many people (and I would argue more) where the tight systems integration buys an operational freedom that allows a greater utilization of the technology.

        There is no law that states you have to provide a product that works for 100% of all people in 100% of their use cases.

      • Anonymous

        No. Opera Mini is a very limited browser, try using it, I do. Very limited Javascript support, for one. Actually, since you want to go that way, you not being able to spot the difference between Opera Mini and a regular browser does tell a lot about *your* technical competence.

        I have no clue why you’re throwing hardware quality into the mix. There are very good (hardware-wise) non-Apple products, and very crappy Apple ones. Look at the “% needing repairs” in that chart: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2384243,00.asp

      • Anonymous

        Not sure how I’d define % needing repairs. Apple famously look after thier customers repair wise. I’ve had a four year old plaatic MacBook that received an entire new casing free of charge because the original case got cracks in it, a known issue. I’ve had plenty of old PC notebooks that have got cracks in the plastic. Would HP have replaced my casing free of charge 3 years outside of warranty? Doubtful.

        The nVidia issue, that affected PC’s and Macs. PC owners mostly got settlement money, Apple replaced logic boards globally free of charge.

        I know someone who dropped her MacBook Pro and later complained to Apple about battery life, they replaced the battery, top case, and the entire display, free, on a two year old machine.

        So % needing repairs, I’m not so sure that isn’t just % that had repairs carried out…

      • Anonymous

        Where I live, that’s a “design defect” (since it’s a systematic issue, occurring from normal use within the expected product lifetime), and actionable outside of the warranty anyway, for any and all manufacturers.

        I’ve got counter-examples: that junk Mighty Mouse that I got for my brother’s Xmas a few years back, unusable AND got dirty quick AND could not be cleaned. Form over function… His iMac has been having issues on and off since its second year… I think Apple is an OK manufacturer, that sometimes get carried away on design follies, but not an outstanding one, performance, features, and quality-wise. Service seems better than average, though it seems needed too often to my taste. The PCs I build myself cost about half, and break down much less often. They don’t look nowhere near as nice, though.

        Oh, and % needing repairs is the % of Apple PCs from respondents that neede repairs in a given year. 15% is not an outstanding number, either way.

      • Anonymous

        You’re being incredibly specific in your definition of “personal.”  Are Android tablets PC’s?  Android phones?  Android refrigerators?  How about Linux servers?

        You are defining the word personal in  such a unique way as if your only goal is to incite as many comments as possible.  It is a PC because it does the job of a PC.  It is a PC because it has the entire industry nervous/excited at the way it is disrupting the value chain of traditional PC vendors.  It is a PC because even business users are free to load up whatever apps they please without fear of retribution from their IT departments.  It is a PC because many users take it to bed with them – try doing that comfortably with a laptop.  

        As for alternate browsers, I have Skyfire and Full Screen Private installed on my iOS devices.

        Your complaints are valid.  You have a right to not like the choices Apple is making on behalf of its users without their input.  But exactly NONE of your complaints invalidates the iPad as a PC.  Nowhere on any definition of “Personal Computer” does anyone mention limitations on monetization or the ability to add non-approved software.

      • Anonymous

        You’re being incredibly specific in your definition of “personal.”  Are Android tablets PC’s?  Android phones?  Android refrigerators?  How about Linux servers?

        You are defining the word personal in  such a unique way as if your only goal is to incite as many comments as possible.  It is a PC because it does the job of a PC.  It is a PC because it has the entire industry nervous/excited at the way it is disrupting the value chain of traditional PC vendors.  It is a PC because even business users are free to load up whatever apps they please without fear of retribution from their IT departments.  It is a PC because many users take it to bed with them – try doing that comfortably with a laptop.  

        As for alternate browsers, I have Skyfire and Full Screen Private installed on my iOS devices.

        Your complaints are valid.  You have a right to not like the choices Apple is making on behalf of its users without their input.  But exactly NONE of your complaints invalidates the iPad as a PC.  Nowhere on any definition of “Personal Computer” does anyone mention limitations on monetization or the ability to add non-approved software.

      • Anonymous

        You’re being incredibly specific in your definition of “personal.”  Are Android tablets PC’s?  Android phones?  Android refrigerators?  How about Linux servers?

        You are defining the word personal in  such a unique way as if your only goal is to incite as many comments as possible.  It is a PC because it does the job of a PC.  It is a PC because it has the entire industry nervous/excited at the way it is disrupting the value chain of traditional PC vendors.  It is a PC because even business users are free to load up whatever apps they please without fear of retribution from their IT departments.  It is a PC because many users take it to bed with them – try doing that comfortably with a laptop.  

        As for alternate browsers, I have Skyfire and Full Screen Private installed on my iOS devices.

        Your complaints are valid.  You have a right to not like the choices Apple is making on behalf of its users without their input.  But exactly NONE of your complaints invalidates the iPad as a PC.  Nowhere on any definition of “Personal Computer” does anyone mention limitations on monetization or the ability to add non-approved software.

      • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

        If I want to use my desktop Dell top prop up my car during an oil change, that would likely end up with a smashed PC and a guy who laughed at me when I said it failed during what *I* wanted to do with it. 

        To me, the argument that an absolute right to have a manufacturer protect me from my own stupidity is utterly without merit.

        This is not to say that Apple’s warranty policies always work my way: when I dropped my iPod onto my iPhone, I got a hairline crack in the cover glass. Covered under warranty! Until the store person found that it’d been dunked into water (twice), and despite my having no water-related issues.

        But you pays your money and you takes your pick. If Android tablets were the equal of Apple’s in all ways except they had the freedom (that I’d use only under exceptional circumstances because the MarketPlace is a cesspool of disease), why sure, I’d prefer the device with more flexibility. But I never expect to see that day: most of the arguments for unfettered app freedom despite malware and risks of unintended bricking are equivalent to the most extreme Second Amendment paranoia and I think we’re all smart to stay out of their way.

      • Anonymous

        You’re being incredibly specific in your definition of “personal.”  Are Android tablets PC’s?  Android phones?  Android refrigerators?  How about Linux servers?

        You are defining the word personal in  such a unique way as if your only goal is to incite as many comments as possible.  It is a PC because it does the job of a PC.  It is a PC because it has the entire industry nervous/excited at the way it is disrupting the value chain of traditional PC vendors.  It is a PC because even business users are free to load up whatever apps they please without fear of retribution from their IT departments.  It is a PC because many users take it to bed with them – try doing that comfortably with a laptop.  

        As for alternate browsers, I have Skyfire and Full Screen Private installed on my iOS devices.

        Your complaints are valid.  You have a right to not like the choices Apple is making on behalf of its users without their input.  But exactly NONE of your complaints invalidates the iPad as a PC.  Nowhere on any definition of “Personal Computer” does anyone mention limitations on monetization or the ability to add non-approved software.

      • Anonymous

        You’re being incredibly specific in your definition of “personal.”  Are Android tablets PC’s?  Android phones?  Android refrigerators?  How about Linux servers?

        You are defining the word personal in  such a unique way as if your only goal is to incite as many comments as possible.  It is a PC because it does the job of a PC.  It is a PC because it has the entire industry nervous/excited at the way it is disrupting the value chain of traditional PC vendors.  It is a PC because even business users are free to load up whatever apps they please without fear of retribution from their IT departments.  It is a PC because many users take it to bed with them – try doing that comfortably with a laptop.  

        As for alternate browsers, I have Skyfire and Full Screen Private installed on my iOS devices.

        Your complaints are valid.  You have a right to not like the choices Apple is making on behalf of its users without their input.  But exactly NONE of your complaints invalidates the iPad as a PC.  Nowhere on any definition of “Personal Computer” does anyone mention limitations on monetization or the ability to add non-approved software.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=741717344 Dick Applebaum

        The things that you require to make a “personal” computer acceptable for your use are fine… for you!

        However, some others, like myself, do not need to do any of those things to make a device “personal” for our uses.

        That’s the beauty of being  “personal” — the user gets to define what it means for himself!

    • poke

      If Apple updated OS X so that it only loaded apps from the App Store, would Macs stop being personal computers?

      • Anonymous

        Is a gaming console a personal computer ?

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        I would argue that it isn’t because it’s not hired to do the same thing as a personal computer by the majority of the population of buyers.

      • poke

        No, but the difference between a gaming console and a personal computer can’t only be that the former is curated since that would make the iPad and the hypothetical curated Mac gaming consoles.

        Honestly, I find the idea that the Mac would cease being a PC because of curation bizarre. I think it’s obvious these categories are individuated by use. Games consoles are used to play games, PCs are used for a variety of applications typically by a single user.

    • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

      obarthelemy, my desktop Dell at work is locked down for me. No admin rights; I can’t install ANY executable. Can’t add existing EXEs to the list of auto-starts. 

      I guess by your definition that about half the PCs shipped today are not “personal” computers.

      You know, I suspect you have a good point that you miss the early years when PC hobbyists could replace chips, install our own firmware and tweak software to our heart’s content. But I can only suspect it because you bury it under a fundamentally dishonest claim that Apple’s goal of “approved uses only” somehow makes the device technically or operationally different from other PCs in the marketplace that have a different user rights model.

      I’ve encountered a few people who make clear-cut arguments for the importance of every computer shipping with full admin rights, people who argue for Android despite the inferiority of the ecosystem in most other respects and despite a deep distrust of Google, too. 

      But posts that claim Apple’s refusal to sell porn on its store means the devices aren’t “really “personal”?” Spare us the non-sequiturs.

    • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

      obarthelemy, my desktop Dell at work is locked down for me. No admin rights; I can’t install ANY executable. Can’t add existing EXEs to the list of auto-starts. 

      I guess by your definition that about half the PCs shipped today are not “personal” computers.

      You know, I suspect you have a good point that you miss the early years when PC hobbyists could replace chips, install our own firmware and tweak software to our heart’s content. But I can only suspect it because you bury it under a fundamentally dishonest claim that Apple’s goal of “approved uses only” somehow makes the device technically or operationally different from other PCs in the marketplace that have a different user rights model.

      I’ve encountered a few people who make clear-cut arguments for the importance of every computer shipping with full admin rights, people who argue for Android despite the inferiority of the ecosystem in most other respects and despite a deep distrust of Google, too. 

      But posts that claim Apple’s refusal to sell porn on its store means the devices aren’t “really “personal”?” Spare us the non-sequiturs.

      • Anonymous

        But then again, you don’t own you work desktop, so that’s not the same issue. I completely understand that the owner of a PC should be able to do whatever they want with it, including locking it down. iOS device are factory-locked, not owner-locked… A bit like your home’s builder keeping the keys to your house, and “curating” what you can put and do in it.

        I’m not discussing Google or MS, both open different set of issues. But the most important one for me is, indeed, the move to Curated (more than the move to Spying or.. well… whatever in the case of MS ^^)

      • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

        Here’s a “breaking” quote from The Verge
        However, Microsoft’s latest hardware requirements, published in December 2011, indicate that Secure Boot cannot be disabled for Windows 8 ARM systems. The requirements contradict Microsoft’s previous statement that the company “does not mandate or control the settings on PC firmware that control or enable secured boot from any operating system other than Windows.”

        No response yet from Microsoft. If this interpretation stands, as I suspect, you’re now defining the fastest-growing category of personal computers from the two largest vendors to US enterprise and consumers, as “not personal computers.”

        Good luck with that. Why not post on the evils of restrictions to freedom, or try to get the readership hot and bothered over the Obama Administration claiming the right to assassinate any person, including citizens, if it deems, in its un-overseeable wisdom, that the person was involved with terrorism? Now THERE’S a concern that goes a bit beyond being able to load smut apps.

      • Anonymous

        Not so breaking, that’s from a few days ago, end of last week ? Anyway, the story here is about Apple, though a bit of context doesn’t hurt, indeed. 
        I’m not a US citizen, so I’ll let you have your fun with your administration ^^ Maybe not on this site though, this is a tech site.

      • Anonymous

        I think a more apt metaphor would be like the home builder also had a huge furniture and appliance store with half a million different products on sale, and they only allowed you to buy your stuff from there. And that they would provide tools that make it really easy for all manufacturers to make furniture and appliances to be sold in the store, provided that they stick to the guidelines.

        But, in all honesty, the talk about openness vs. curated has become stale. Yes, there are certain things you can’t do within the walled garden, and some of those things would be very useful for a number of people. I just don’t think anyone can successfully argue that you can’t do the vast majority of necessary things within the walls of the App Store.

        On a related note: does anybody think that the Internet is a walled garden?

    • http://twitter.com/kirkburgess kirkburgess

      Theres nothing at all stopping someone from running software outside of that from the app store: you can run web apps, you can jailbreak the iOS device, you can run a virtual desktop, you can even write and install your own software.

  • Anonymous

    Steve Balmer has said that Tablets are PCs. A number of other Microsoft people have also said so.

    • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

      I suspect you won’t be hearing a lot about that if the Win8 tablets fail to catch on, and the iPad sales into businesses continue to skyrocket.

      My take is that Microsoft hasn’t yet quite realized how dead their Windows Phone X initiative is, and so they don’t know that they’re not going to leverage the metro OS onto WinSlates in the Enterprise. The Win8 tablet initiative seems ever more to be a one-for-one copy of the iOS/MacOS business model. (Today we see a report that Win8 ARM tablets will be locked down as securely as iOS is, earlier claims to the contrary.)

      Unfortunately, they’re claiming — perhaps, due to commitments to Nokia, they have to — that Nokia efforts will jumpstart the whole line. This means that they’ve boxed themselves in and can’t abandon or sell the WP effort to Nokia, as I think would be a great move.

      • Anonymous

        I believe that Microsoft really is between a rock and a hard place here. Mobile is the place to be now, and even moreso in the next few years. If they were to abandon the Metro approach, what could they do to get back in the game in the mobile? I think it speaks volumes that they are willing to leverage the Windows platform to push the mobile platform; they seem to (rightly) believe that the mobile platform is more important and so it makes sense to take the risk. They might not be betting the bank just yet, but I must recommend them for their bold move.

      • Kizedek

        But are they really leveraging the “Windows Platform”? Seems to me they are merely, as usual, leveraging the Windows *Brand*.

        Rather, their early attempts at a mobile platform have failed because they are not up to the task of modern mobile computing that has attributes of general desktop computing. It is inevitable that they had to go in a new direction. Just as they should really be going in a new direction with Windows itself and finally lose some of the legacy cruft.

        Apple did this years ago with OS X. Because it was a success, Apple could indeed leverage their desktop OS into mobile. So, isn’t really a case that Apple has “leveraged” OS X into iOS? How is MS to be commended for coming a number of years late to the party?

        This is indeed the irony, isn’t it: MS talks about “Windows everywhere”, but they have a real hodgepodge of a mess, and don’t know how to focus nor bring them together to meet modern computing needs and expectations.

        Meanwhile Apple appears to have different products (iOS and OS X), that are actually so complementary and unified under the skin that no-one believes it’s possible; the prevailing belief is that competitors will just stroll in any day now and emulate their success — in the case of MS, people believe this success is absolutely assured, and come December upstart Apple will put in its place once and for all! Good luck with that.

      • Anonymous

        Considering that Windows 8 main UI is Metro, I’d say they are leveraging the Windows platform. They are altering Windows 8 to be like Windows Phone, and I can only imagine it’s with the intent that people will get familiar with Metro and there will be a halo effect from the PC side to the mobile. Remember, they have already tried to leverage the Windows brand, but it hasn’t worked out.

        With Windows 8, Microsoft also seems to be going for a unified development platform. To my knowledge, they have to made any statements regarding Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7, but I suppose Silverlight and .Net will give way to Metro + HTML5 apps. I’ve read some frustrated developers complaining about just that, that Microsoft seems to be dumping the development tools and languages that the developers have invested into. So there is a lot of uncertainty in the whole strategy, but I still recommend them for trying. They may be hopelessly late, and the whole thing can easily backfire, but it’s about time they took some risk.

  • Luis Masanti

    After all this “numbers” from from big-named “consulting groups” denying the iPad as a “personal computer” just to show that “Apple is loosing…” I ask myself: Who has the Reality Distorsion Field?
    Or better yet, Who is trying to build a Reality Distorsion Field in that area?

    And if the “curated” environmentalist… (with all due respect) Should Android’s tablets be considered “pcs.” What about Kindle Fire… or any other “curated” device. Or, Is this only an argument to avoid including iPads?

    What about excluding “devices with an logo in form of a bitten apple”?

    • Frank Capra2

      OF course Tablets should be considered PCs.. Do you realize the entry level IPAD of 2 years ago is more powerful and functional than a top speed Laptop from 5 years ago? Also, just wait until IPAD 3 is launched. The proccesor power will enable Apple to run LION on the IPAD3 and newer.. This is when the IPAD will really go to a new level!

      Never the less the Desktop/Laptop business is appox 250MM units per year.. Apple has less than 25MM so less than 10% market share.. Within 3 years I expect they will double their market share in old school desktops and laptops to 20% and will be churning out 50MM Macs Per year… Apple is its in its infancy… Makes sense, as artist always die before they ever see their work really come to age and appreciation.. In 5 years Apple will easily be doing $400 Billion per year in sales and over $100 per year in EPS.. and SJ will forever be a legacy that will be equal to Ford, Edison, and Gates all combined!

      • Chandra2

        Frank, I agree with your projections, even if it takes a couple of extra years. Every non-mac customer who enters an apple store to look at iPads and iPhones is a potential mac customer. I wish Apple finds a way to promote Macs to them in a tasteful way, so the halo effect gets a steroid boost.

        But it looks like that $100 billion in earnings will be the peak after which the growth will be anemic. That is when the P/E will settle permanently into the 10 area. So that will predict a peak value for Apple stock to be around $1000.00. Not bad.Not bad at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Carbajal/620312515 Carlos Carbajal

      The thing to remember about the big PC market data companies (IDC, Gartner) is that they sell most of their data to the PC industry – Intel, Dell, MSFT, HP, etc.  

      The data itself is a loaded gun even without the iPad – it moves the stock price of individual companies depending on what is reported each quarter.

      The iPad is being classified the way it is (not as a PC) because Intel, MSFT, Dell, etc insist on it.  They know that the press and wall street will start painting dire and sensational pictures in the mind of the public and investors which will crater the stock prices before they can adequately respond.

      In an alternate universe where the iPad used an Intel x86 chip Gartner and IDC would be trumpeting the PC market coming back to life driven by the iPad (sorta like they did with netbooks a while back)

  • http://profiles.google.com/larry.davis Larry Davis

    Not to nitpick, but do HP’s numbers include the TouchPad fire sale?  That probably wouldn’t make up the gap, but would close it by a million or two.  (I don’t know offhand how many they sold).

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      No, HP’s numbers do not include any tablet devices. I do not know the number of units shipped.

    • Anonymous

      Touchpad firesale is around %2 of total tablet shipments in that time period I believe, I can’t find the source now though. Samsung tablets were about 1.8%

  • http://nmuppala.wordpress.com Nalini Kumar Muppala

    Readability of the first chart could be improved by rearranging the table/chart such that the legend reflects current standing.

  • Waltfrench

    Don’t the Apple detractors say that the iPod Touch is “just a small iPad?” Its “job hired to do” might differ, but by that logic a Ferrari isn’t a car, and a change in consumer attitudes could flip it in a heartbeat. For that matter, I sniffed at early Nokias because I didn’t want a clunky computer with such a small screen— not that smartphones weren’t computers.

    So I think it’s time to move beyond Linnean taxonomic concerns and look at how the DNA and economic niches play out. Nice to know that Apple is now big enough to get Big IT respect and the stock price that should go with it. But my real interest is how Apple leverages or combines or networks it’s individual products

    • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

      Was it Mobile Safari or m.Disqus telling me my post was verging to tl;dr and that froze my input?

      Anyway, some of the religious battles that have appeared here since I first tried posting highlight that the purpose of the definition is badly ill-defined. Market share is good for understanding pricing power, network effects on customers & 3rd-party developers and the business challenges facing competitors. Some of those have led to great discussions on Asymco. I think before we worry how many of Apple’s product lines ought to be lumped together into the “personal computer” category, we ought to lay out why it matters and how we intend to use the definition.

      • Anonymous

        Walt – always enjoy reading your insights and occasional quips (corps as persons)

        I have frequently had Disqus lockup on my iPad, apparently after I selected text (by intent or accidentally). A workaround appears to be to select text outside the comment & do something with it (like get its definition or copy it). Then come back to the comment. I’ve reported this to Disqus, but I’m sure it would stir them to have more feedback.

  • Scott Sterling

    Horace, do you have the data for comparing the ASP (average selling price) of iPads to the ASP of computers for the PC makers? I’ve never seen such a comparison published.

    I have felt from the beginning that iPads should be counted as PCs, but there is no clear set of criteria for determining what is a PC. So let’s add ASP into the mix. 

    By itself it doesn’t prove that the iPad should be counted as a PC, but I think it will add weight and context to the argument. I’d guess iPad ASP is nearly equal to PC ASP.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      The iPad ASP is a bit higher than the PC ASP for the entire industry. I think you can Google both. I don’t have data for ASP by vendor but that too should be fairly easy to derive.

  • Janderson

    The tablet is a PC, and there is zero doubt about it. The relevant metric is use. Does the iPad cannibalize one’s use of a notebook? Obviously, yes. One’s desktop? Yes. Anecdotally, every person I know who owns an iPad uses it more and more and their other computers less and less, bar none. The point is that, in terms of doing work, the tablets are cannibalizing tasks formerly performed on traditional PC form factors. That is the proof beyond dispute that the tablet is a “PC.”. Put another way, it matters not whether someone chooses to call a tablet a PC. If the tablet is taking the tasks, taking the work, from other form factors, it is taking share. Not merely of market, but of tasks. And that, in the end, is what will matter.

    The caveat to this, of course, is that there are computing based tasks for which tablets are not well suited, e.g. heavy word processing, movie production, etc. But it matters not. In terms of typical computing tasks, more and more of the work being done is being done on iPads. and that is what we should focus on. If the work formerly done on a PC is moving to the tablet, the comparison between PCs and tablets is indeed relevant in terms of comps for market share analysis purposes.

    Joseph Anderson

  • Janderson

    The tablet is a PC, and there is zero doubt about it. The relevant metric is use. Does the iPad cannibalize one’s use of a notebook? Obviously, yes. One’s desktop? Yes. Anecdotally, every person I know who owns an iPad uses it more and more and their other computers less and less, bar none. The point is that, in terms of doing work, the tablets are cannibalizing tasks formerly performed on traditional PC form factors. That is the proof beyond dispute that the tablet is a “PC.”. Put another way, it matters not whether someone chooses to call a tablet a PC. If the tablet is taking the tasks, taking the work, from other form factors, it is taking share. Not merely of market, but of tasks. And that, in the end, is what will matter.

    The caveat to this, of course, is that there are computing based tasks for which tablets are not well suited, e.g. heavy word processing, movie production, etc. But it matters not. In terms of typical computing tasks, more and more of the work being done is being done on iPads. and that is what we should focus on. If the work formerly done on a PC is moving to the tablet, the comparison between PCs and tablets is indeed relevant in terms of comps for market share analysis purposes.

    Joseph Anderson

  • Westechm

    History is replete with the corpses of companies who have denied that a new technology is not a threat.  The American automobile industry could not believe that Japanese manufacturers could make better quality, lower cost cars than they could; Polaroid and Kodak were slow to respond to the threat of digital photography; Nokia and Rimm were slow to respond to the iPhone threat; and the personal computer manufacturers failed to understand the true impact of the iPad on their PC business.  Not classifying the iPad as a “PC” is a way of saying that it is not relevant to their business.  Gartner and IDC did not do the “PC” industry a service by their failing to include the iPad as a “PC”; they should have been sounding the alarm rather than trying to marginalize it.

    The Market speaks, and it has said that the iPad does enough of the functions of traditional PC’s  in a cost effective manner and well enough to supplant them in many applications.  The argument that an iPad is not a “PC” is moot, and the traditional PC manufacturers have lost valuable time in their development efforts.

    If you will excuse the pun, I call this the Cairo syndrome: Living In De Nile.

    • http://twitter.com/juancho Juan Jose

      It’s funny you mention Kodak as someone who underestimated digital photography… being that THEY WERE THE ONES WHO INVENTED IT!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Sasson

      • Westechm

        Yes, and some of the earliest digital cameras that I saw were Kodaks.  It is not uncommon for companies who invent something to underestimate its potential.  If Kodak put the resources behind digital photography that they could have they would not be on the verge of bankruptcy today.  Although they may have invented digital photography I don’t think they recognized it as such a huge threat to their existing business until it was too late.  I suspect that their film business had first call on their reaearch dollars.

        And how about XeroX?  They invented the graphical user interface, and the mouse, sort of.

  • Janderson

    The tablet is a PC, and there is zero doubt about it. The relevant metric is use. Does the iPad cannibalize one’s use of a notebook? Obviously, yes. One’s desktop? Yes. Anecdotally, every person I know who owns an iPad uses it more and more and their other computers less and less, bar none. The point is that, in terms of doing work, the tablets are cannibalizing tasks formerly performed on traditional PC form factors. That is the proof beyond dispute that the tablet is a “PC.”. Put another way, it matters not whether someone chooses to call a tablet a PC. If the tablet is taking the tasks, taking the work, from other form factors, it is taking share. Not merely of market, but of tasks. And that, in the end, is what will matter.

    The caveat to this, of course, is that there are computing based tasks for which tablets are not well suited, e.g. heavy word processing, movie production, etc. But it matters not. In terms of typical computing tasks, more and more of the work being done is being done on iPads. and that is what we should focus on. If the work formerly done on a PC is moving to the tablet, the comparison between PCs and tablets is indeed relevant in terms of comps for market share analysis purposes.

    Joseph Anderson

    • Anonymous

      “The caveat to this, of course, is that there are computing based tasks for which tablets are not well suited, e.g. heavy word processing, movie production, etc. But it matters not. In terms of typical computing tasks, more and more of the work being done is being done on iPads.”

      Exactly.  Nobody debates whether netbooks are PCs, but they are deficient in plenty of tasks.  Operating system is not the determinant, usage is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Carbajal/620312515 Carlos Carbajal

      I’d make one key change here and say that the metric that matters is *sales* — which of course is another way of saying “use” but if we focus on if iPad cannibalizes sales of notebooks/desktops that gives us good data we can track from quarter to quarter.

      I’ll bet Apple has the best data here already . . . they’ve said iPad is cannibalizing notebook sales to some degree – Mac’s of course but more so the PC guys I am betting.

    • Titanic

      “The point is that, in terms of doing work, the tablets are cannibalizing tasks formerly performed on traditional PC form factors. That is the proof beyond dispute that the tablet is a “PC.”.”

      Many tasks done on a traditional PC are also cannibalized by iPhone. So according to your proof, iPhone should also be in the category of “PC”?

      According to Wikipedia: “A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator.”
      and
      “A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations.”

      I don’t disagree with your conclusion that iPad is PC, but your proof. 
      In fact, according to the definitions from Wikipedia, any phones can be called PC. Maybe PC is simply a generic term that analysts should adopt another term for market analysis. 

      Titanic

      • Anonymous

        Appealing to Wikipedia for the definition of PC is a bit odd, since if I disagree with the definition I will simply change it.  Then I’ll have Wikipedia on my side.

  • Anonymous

    But, but, but … Bill Gates and so on.

  • Sy

    When Steve Wozniak designed what was to become the Apple 1, he wanted to give the design away.  Woz wanted to share everything, and have everything open.  The Apple II had slots, because Woz wanted the owner to have the ability to expand and modify the hardware.  If Steve Jobs hadn’t wanted to sell the thing, the PC industry would be rather different today.  Steve had always wanted to make appliance computers that people didn’t need to know anything about to use.  The iPad is the closest thing to his vision from long ago that is possible with today’s tech.  It IS a personal computer, even thought it is not “open” like traditional computers.

    In the early days of the automobile, one had to KNOW how to fix cars in order to use them.  Today, most people who USE cars could care less about knowing how they work, other than that they need fuel.  (What about those cars that REQUIRE premium gasoline? If you put low octane gas in them, and it doesn’t perform as well, do you have the right to complain? )

    And as cars have become sophisticated, they are harder to modify.  I have a Prius, and it has an 8yr, 100,000 mile hybrid system warranty.  If I wanted to, I could “jailbreak” my car’s computer, and modify the engine program.  Of course, THAT would violate the warranty. Does that fact make my car any less of a car? Of course not.  Do I still own it? Yes.  Same goes for a iPad.

    If you want the total freedom afforded by Android, then by all means, avoid iOS.  But just because you are limited by the manufacturer from sideloading software and still keeping the warranty, doesn’t mean that its not a “personal” computer.

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  • Anonymous

    Arguing over symantics; that’s what we’ve come to.

    Look, the world has changed. Computers are ubiquitous. Is the Apple TV a computer? Certainly, on one level. Do people own it? Yes. Is it then a “personal computer”? By that definition, it is. And so is the computer in your car. And your phone, and your game player, and rockets, aircraft carriers, blah, blah, blah.

    The point is the personal computer has morphed beyond recognition and beyond definition. We’ve moved on

  • Anonymous

    I find it hilarious that the goalposts that the iPad must meet to be a “PC” will move further and further back while the approved and accepted “PC” market shrinks smaller and smaller, obviously being devoured by mobile devices whether you want to call them PCs or not.

    You’re trying to limit and restrict the definition of what is a “PC” in order to diminish the importance of iPads and other mobile devices, but what you’re really doing is diminishing the importance of the “PC”. The mobile device market is already larger and more important than your closed-minded definition of a PC, and it’s only going to get worse from here on.

    So take your pick: Are PCs becoming more common, useful and important than ever before, or were they just a transient stepping stone to the mobile computers that will dominate the near future?

  • Chandra2

    From all the comments, it is clear to me that the onus is now upon those who claim iPad is NOT a computer to put forth arguments. It is getting boring to read arguments why it is not a computer. To me, it is a computer based device that I interact with it directly. What you call it is much less important.

    Remember ten commandments. Tablets go a long way back!!!!

    • Chandra2

      I meant to write
      “It is getting boring to read arguments why it is a computer”

  • Luis Masanti

    quote:
    “Are iOS devices really “personal” ? They’re ** in the sense that you own one, but I have doubts about *personal* since one can’t get *any random* apps on their own iPads. I’d call them Curated (or Censored if you feel bad about it) computers. Same as many content stores are curated and won’t sell pornographic, political, religious… stuff. (funny to see those 3 together ^^)”

    As far as my Mac OS X 10.6.8’s dictionary:

    “personal |ˈpərsənəl|
    adjective1 [ attrib. ] of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else :her personal fortune was recently estimated at $37 millio individual n.”

    “individual |ˌindəˈvijəwəl|
    adjective1 [ attrib. ] single; separate : individual tiny flowers.2 of or for a particular person : the individual needs of the children.• designed for use by one person : individual serving dishes.”

    No one definition has any relation to “adding random things.”

    • Sspam

      Wow a true pedant. I bet you were popular with the girls.

      • Anonymous

        Girls like to know that their guys know what their talking about. They aren’t too hip on penis envy though.

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  • http://twitter.com/marckagan Marc Kagan

    I dont see any reason to NOT count the iPad as a PC but, that being said, why not count the iPhone (or any smartphone) as a PC as well?  They are all computing devices.  Count them, include all Nokia and Samsungs devices etc.  After all, the iPhone / iPad are disrupting computers not just phones…

    • Anonymous

      Merriam-Webster online definition of a computer:

      : one that computes; specifically : a programmable usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data

      Merriam-Webster online definition of a personal computer:

      : a general-purpose computer equipped with a microprocessor and designed to run especially commercial software (as a word processor or Internet browser) for an individual user

      I think the key phrase is “general purpose”. An Apple TV isn’t “general purpose”, and hence isn’t a PC. But it’s hard to see a smart phone or an iPod Touch as anything but a “general purpose” device.

      Of course, this begs the question of equality. All smart phones aren’t created equal, nor all tablets, nor all portables, etcetera. To say that Samsung makes as many smart phones as Apple is a true statement. To say that Samsung makes as many top-end smart phones as Apple is not.

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  • KB

    I fail to understand, how does it really matter whether tablets are classified as PCs? Apple seems to be doing just fine without any such classification.

    • kibbles

      does anyone really know what time it is?

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  • Anonymous

    I’ve had a very funny feeling for a long time now, that whether Apple is crowned as the largest PC maker in the world or not boils down to whether analysts who produce these statistics advise investors who are long or short APPL

  • http://twitter.com/jdsweet J Sweet

    You weren’t kidding.  ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Wait on aren’t we supposed to be in a post PC era as trumpted by this blog? But now when we add tablets sorry I mean PC to laptop sales we are still in the PC era.

    I await when we combine tablet, smartphone and laptop sales and then trumpet this as the new PC era. It seems the desire to write articles every week has lowered their quality – sometimes less is more.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      The frequency is daily not weekly. See the calendar of posts here: http://www.asymco.com/archive/

    • Kizedek

      It’s really not that confusing. It’s like someone saying, “we are in the post-book era.”

      Some people will be like: “Yeah, man, I see what you mean; more and more people are getting digital books or audio books; paper is on its way out.”

      The analysts would tell the publishers not to worry, because these newfangled “things” are not really “books”, they are a whole other category of thing.

      Horace would be like, “well, you buy both of them because you want to understand what the author has to say, and spending two hours with a digital book is at the expense of two hours with a paper book; so you should *treat* them similarly, and at least acknowledge the digital book in any conversation about the future of books; why, it may even prove to disrupt paper at some point.”

      So, far so, good. Then you are like: “well, there are all these ‘notebooks’ and ‘Macbooks’ and ‘netbooks’ and ‘ultrabooks’ out there; I guess we aren’t really in the so-called *post-book* era afterall, are we? I guess we better trumpet this as the ‘new book era’? 

      It’s about context. Anyway, in order to have a hope of recognizing any disruption while it is happening, you kind of have to place the new things (for which there may be no ready category) side by side with the old, and look at them together. Whether that is done on charts that are called “PC Sales” or “PC and Tablet sales” is really not a problem at the end of the day — but ignoring the reality certainly is a problem…

      For example:
      • separating them allows some people to continue to live in denial or to look for answers everywhere but at the facts staring them in the face.
      • separating them allows some people to devalue or dismiss Apple and the nature of its business, as though iPads are a niche or fad

    • kibbles

      “post” means “after”, not “replacement”. in the post-PC era, we have new (computing) devices that came after the traditional PC.

      there is no problem w/ this definition.

      • Anonymous

        So why add Post PC “tablets” to Pre “PC” tradional sales in one proverbial mess up.

        But isn’t what Horace is arguing the tablet replacing the PC and the fall of PC sales.

        Either it seems he will pick whatever description suits his argument rather than being consistent.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5BHLNE6HC75ETNMNDKEEKLMF3M Steve Pederson

    Thank you for researching and quantifying the falsity of the conventional wisdom that Apple once lead the PC industry and then blew it. (As well as pointing out that the Apple II was its most successful unit share platform.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5BHLNE6HC75ETNMNDKEEKLMF3M Steve Pederson

    (apologies for the double post)

  • Ajay Shyanbhog

    iPad and iPhone are way more powerful than PCs. The categorization of them being sub par to PC is completely off. Here’s a list of “features” in a iPad 3G that is not available on a PC or laptop

    1. Location awareness: PCs and Laptops cannot do GPS, location reminders, Navigation, geo-tagging etc.

    2. 24×7 Communication gateway: PCs and Laptops do not fit pockets. While a laptop can be bundled into a backpack, it cannot receive emails, notifications, reminders or VoIP calls in this mode. Communicating using a laptop while on the move, such as walking or standing in a train is cumbersome and haphazardly. 

    3. Instant availability: iPADs are available to access or create data within a second’s notice. I keep my iPhone close by when sleeping to quickly jot down ideas without having to move from the bed. When I had to check the distance between two stops while on a commuter train out of curiosity, this was done in a few seconds using Safari and 3G

    4. Record moments and landscapes: PC and Laptops cannot be used to take snaps or record movies. The fact that these snaps and movies can be shared immediately makes it even more useful

    5. Focused multitasking: Music is automatically paused when making a call. Data is autosaved when switching between apps. Work or content creation can be suspended and resumed at a moments notice without worrying about losing data or wasting electricity when I’m doing something else etc. When running, iPhone can record trail using GPS in background while music is playing etc. 

    The possibilities with complex tools like iPad and iPhone are immense and only limited by imagination. PC devices are much dumber, rigid and very limited in what they can do in comparison. 

    As more and more tools are adopted to fit iPad use, PCs will look more and more dumb.

    • Anonymous

      It seems like all of your reasons are variations on “iPads/iPhones are portable”, combined with a few outdated ideas on what computers can do.  Portability is a really, really big issue, I agree, but it’s not 5 separate issues, and it only makes them “more powerful” in cases where you wouldn’t have or use a laptop.

      “PCs and Laptops cannot do GPS, location reminders, Navigation, geo-tagging etc.”
      iOS devices also use sources like wifi hotspots for location services, and desktops/laptops can and do do this already.  (Have you not upgraded Firefox in a while?)

      Besides, if we thought there was a big benefit to putting GPS receivers in computers, we could do it even more cheaply than putting them in phones (since there’s fewer size/power/impact/antenna restrictions).

      “PC and Laptops cannot be used to take snaps or record movies.”

      I’m not sure what you mean by this: most laptops these days have pretty good cameras built-in.  Not as convenient in some settings, perhaps, but I do it all the time.

      “The fact that these snaps and movies can be shared immediately makes it even more useful”

      Unless you have an iPad without a cell receiver, or a laptop with a cell receiver, or happen to be in range of a wifi signal.  None of these is an uncommon situation any more.

      “Focused multitasking: Music is automatically paused when making a call. Data is autosaved when switching between apps.”

      Desktop operating systems are starting to do this already (especially Mac OS X 10.7).  If you use web apps, as people increasingly are, then you already have this.

      “The possibilities with complex tools like iPad and iPhone are immense and only limited by imagination. PC devices are much dumber, rigid and very limited in what they can do in comparison. ”

      It’d be more accurate to say they’re limited only by the intersection of your imagination and Apple’s policies.

  • privatdetektiv

    I know that if apple wants then it can beat HP but I think that Apple can’t beat HP at-least in 2012. Because of recession many of the people would like to buy cheaper PCs.  

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  • http://total-locker-service.co.uk/Wire-Mesh-Lockers,-Total-Locker-Service.php wire mesh lockers

    The company’s most well-known products are the Apple Macintosh line of personal computers, the iPod transportable music player, and the iTunes media player.

  • ORRELLPOST

    I recently heard on The Nightly Business Report (PBS), that apple dominates the over 1000 dollar computer market. It has 90 percent penetration – not to mention that they sell them in their own stores, oh! – let’s not forget that they own their own operating system (others don’t), and are leaders in music, video and still photography software. How would a histogram chart around those statistics look. That’s why investors love this stock. 

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    Some computers are designed to distribute their work across several CPUs
    in a multiprocessing configuration, a technique once employed only in
    large and powerful machines such as supercomputers, mainframe computers and servers. Multiprocessor and multi-core
    (multiple CPUs on a single integrated circuit) personal and laptop
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