Canalys recognizes iPads as PCs, boosts Apple to #3

Canalys recognizes iPads as PCs, boosts Apple to #3

While others keep iPad ghettoized as a "media tablet" analyst firm Canalys is boldly classifying it as just another PC form factor and in so doing, shooting Apple up to #3 on the worldwide marketshare chart behind HP and Acer but ahead of Dell and Lenovo.

Canalys urges vendors to accept new market realities, by recognizing pads as an integral new component of the overall PC landscape. Unlike other analyst companies, Canalys incorporates pad shipments, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Apple’s iPad, in its total PC market report.

‘Pads gave the market momentum in 2010, just as netbooks did the year before,’ said Canalys Senior Analyst Daryl Chiam. ‘We are encouraging vendors to plan for the future and not to remain stuck in the past.’

‘Any argument that a pad is not a PC is simply out of sync,’ said Chiam. ‘With screen sizes of seven inches or above, ample processing power, and a growing number of applications, pads offer a computing experience comparable to netbooks. They compete for the same customers and will happily coexist. As with smart phones, some users will require a physical keyboard, while others will do without.’

Just like Acer got the bump for netbooks, Apple is getting the bump for tablets. Fair or unfair?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

iPhones and iPads produce beautiful music for AT&T event [video]

Next up →

TiPb Asks: If you could only have 5 apps on your iPhone what would they be?

Reader comments

Canalys recognizes iPads as PCs, boosts Apple to #3


There are a lot of good reasons not to count iPads as Personal Computers -- in his introduction, even Jobs called them a "third class" of device. As long as they require a computer to activate/sync, iPads may never compete with being the primary computer in the house/business, but they already do with the secondary computers out there. This quote from the article is the one that matters:
They compete for the same customers
In the end, it does not matter if Canalys or Gartner calls an iPad a PC. It matters if Dell/HP consider iPads competitive threat to their PC lines. And that, they surely do.

You're exactly right. Technically they aren't stand alone computers because they require synching via itunes to a pc. If Apple were to ever introduce cloud synching cutting out the middle man it would be a whole new ball game. This is one area where I wish Apple were more like Google. But they are definitly being used by consumers as a replacement device so I think it is fair to classify them as such.

The old standalone/primary computer thing again. How does that, in any way, define what a computer is, and how many truly standalone computers do you think there are today? Every personal computer that downloads OS/software updates, patches, and data on a regular basis is dependent on other computers. Guess what the cloud is: other computers. The only difference is location and who owns them, but nearly all computers are interconnected now. Syncing with iTunes does indeed suck, but that has nothing at all to do with categorizing tablets as computers.

You entirely miss the point. It has nothing to do with the definition of a computer at all -- it just limits the ability of the iPad to completely displace all computers. Joe Sixpack does not have to buy a cloud to get his computer to work. Joe Sixpack does have to buy a computer first to get his iPad to work to its full potential, so the iPad is purchased after the first computer, not instead of the first computer.
The "standalone" argument is not about definitions -- it only means that iPads, as currently designed, cannot 100% replace a computer, because they require a separate computer purchase to function. But even so, it can still displace enough of them to make computer manufacturers nervous, and that is what matters, more than any artificial classification of what a computer "is".

My apologies. I think I've seen that excuse trotted out far too many times in trying to dismiss the iPad. I see your point now. Well, I'm sure Apple, HP, Dell, et al don't really care much about replacements. If fact, I suspect they'd rather you bought more computers instead of replacing what you have. Still, if we're talking about sales, it doesn't matter whether it's a replacement or an addition. Canalys doesn't care how many computers people own, they care about how many are selling. In fact, the whole iTunes dependence we bemoan is actually a positive "halo" factor in Apple's favor, from the market's perspective.

No need to apologize -- I think a lot of people use the "standalone" argument differently than I do. But I'm right and they're wrong :) Judging from your other posts in this thread, we agree much more than we disagree here, too.
It will be fascinating to see what happens when iPads cut the cord completely, making a computer optional rather than required. (Android tablets will, but they have yet to make a splash like the iPad.) I suspect that once we hit that point, quite a few households (not offices, not yet) will go tablet-only, making making PC manufacturers (and Microsoft) sweat that much more.

Ipad has all but replaced my computer. Needs cloud sync, ability to resize text fiels in safari, and ability to scroll throu those text fields faster, and needs file system access, so you can upload any document to anywhere on the web in the browser, even if that means opening another app within the browser to do it, like the photos app for uploading pictures.

It's as much a PC as my smartphone. You can take that which ever way you want but if they're going to classify the iPad as a PC then they'll need to classify all smartphones as PCs as well. After all, "it's just another form factor".
PS - The iPod touch needs to be classified "PC" as well then.

Yikes! That sounds like a slippery slope to me. I think it comes down to actual usage, whether a given device is used as a personal computer by a large number of people, not specs or some definition of what constitutes a computer. In that regard, smartphones are getting pretty close, but I don't think they're quite there yet.

Well that's just it though, the only difference between the iPad and a smartphone or iPod touch is size. As long as you have good eyes and decent dexterity you can use both to do essentially the exact same thing as you can do on the iPad. I personally actually use an iPod touch for RDPing into servers when I don't have a terminal system or laptop available to me.

Sure, I do that too, occasionally, in a pinch, on my iPhone. But I do it daily, usually multiple times, on my iPad. The same is true of document creation and editing. Size is a big difference in usability. Of course, Apple knows that, and that's why they don't make the iPhone/iPod Touch screen larger or the iPad screen smaller. You're supposed to buy both, and a Mac so you can keep everything synced.

You do it "in a pinch" but that doesn't mean others don't do it intentionally. But that's part of the point there in the difference between intended use and actual use. The iPad clearly was not built to be a PC replacement but some users manage to make it one through "extenuating" methods the same way that some make a smartphone or PMP a tablet replacement.

The deliniation should not reside outside of "PC", but within:
Netbooks/[Windows Tablets]
PPCs/Smartphones (by association ipod)
The difference, which also resides within each group, is how much they can do. The gap between "desktops" and laptops is much smaller than that between netbooks and iOS/Android "Tablets".
And whereas the variations within the "desktop" group is more intentional (i.e. High vs mid vs low end), the variation within the "tablet" group is more unintentional since it is a newer/rising group.

Any person or group who calls iPad a "media tablet" has an agenda. They are spinning iPad as a non-computer because they are hoping to minimize its impact on the legacy pee cee market.
The good thing about that spin is that consumers are completely unaware of it. Who really cares if analysts still call iPad a "media tablet?" Few actual consumers give a crap about analysts and their spin.

Any anybody who calls the market for computers a "legacy pee cee" market has a bias so strong that it blots out anything they might otherwise say.

While the iPad and now other tablets are getting more sophisticated and more capable, and stretching further toward full-blown Macs and PCs, they're still distinctly different in their hardware and software (OS and applications/programs), and the related capabilties. And still very much a "mobile" device that in my opinion is still closer to a large-scale smart phone in hardware, software, and capabilties that to full-blown computers such as Macs and PCs. Smartphones are technically portable computers as well, but they wouldn't be in that class...even though the iPad, for example, is still more closely related to the iPhone and iPod Touch than to a Mac. I think the pads should be kept as a separate genre for fair comparison, otherwise the lines get blurry and the stats get confusing. I suppose maybe it's so Steve Jobs can make other claims of grandure about Apple that just don't quite add up when you look at it practically! (-;