Skip to main content

iPad accounted for 1 in 6 PC shipments in Q4 2012

One in six personal computers (PCs) shipped in Q4 of 2012 was an iPad. That's according to Canalys, who also reported that worldwide PC shipments were up 12% over the same quarter in 2011, with 134 million PCs sold. Canalys counts tablets in the PC category, and those devices made up one third of all PC sales in Q4. In total, Apple shipped 27 million units, with HP in second at 15 million PCs shipped. Canalys attributes Apple’s tablet growth to strong demand for the iPad mini:

Apple’s growth in the pad segment was driven by strong demand for the iPad mini. Its overall shipments, however, were hampered by supply issues. Canalys estimates that the mini made up over half of Apple’s total pad shipments, with its attractive price point and compact design leading to significant cannibalization in the iPad range and wider PC market. Despite record shipments, Q4 saw Apple’s pad share dip to 49%, becoming the first quarter it has not controlled over half the market. ‘Apple timed the launch of the iPad mini well,’ said Pin-Chen Tang, Canalys Research Analyst. ‘Its success proves there is a clear demand for pads with smaller screens at a more affordable price. Without the launch, Apple would surely have lost more ground to its competitors.’

There is still debate about whether or not tablets like the iPad should even be counted as PCs. Apple has argued for the past few years that we are in the ‘Post-PC’ era with devices like the iPhone and iPad.

If we stick to a decidedly narrow definition of what a PC is -- a screen with a mouse and keyboard -- then maybe the iPad doesn’t fit in that category. Then again, people once said the same thing about Mac and Windows in an age of Apple II and DOS. When we look at what most people use their computers for, things like reading and replying to email, browsing the web, or listening to music, then the fact that the iPad is a PC becomes obvious. It's an even more personal personal computer than ever before.

Where do you stand? Are we at a transformative stage, where one day tablets will dominate PC sales, or should they be broken apart, with traditional PC "trucks" measured separately than new fangled tablet "cars"?

Source: Canalys

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • Re: 'Are we at a transformative stage, where one day tablets will dominate PC sales, or should they be broken apart, with traditional PC "trucks" measured separately than new fangled tablet "cars"?' It all depends on the spin you want to put on it. If you want to spin Apple as being the world's #1 PC vendor, then you group iPads together with Macs. If you want to spin Apple as having 81% of the iPad-and-iPad-clone market, then you break iPad out from Macs. Or, if you're Gartner, you divide iPad and Mac numbers. You spin it to calm fears among legacy PC makers. You soothe them with the false hope that they aren't missing the whole post-PC boat after all. And even if they do miss it, it's no big deal. So, counting only Macs, Apple becomes just the 3rd largest PC maker in the US. And you minimize the iPad threat to the old-school status quo by lumping iPad into a nebulous "media tablet" category along with all manner of non-computer devices that really are just media players with small screens. Just to water down the impact of iPad on the computing industry. Because "media tablet" sounds safer than "post-PC" device. And because "post-PC" sounds like the PC era is over. And that thought is terrifying to whoever Gartner's paying customers are. No, things are just fine. Nothing to worry about. Microsoft will eventually get Windows right. Stay the course. Pay no attention to this "media tablet" fad. Dell is still in business. They're just private now so Michael Dell won't get fired. No cannibalization effect here, folks. So Gartner quotes "media tablet" sales figures instead of calling out the fact that there are only three major pad computer makers: Apple, Samsung, and "Other." Apple dominating, of course, owning 81% of the actual pad computing market. Take your pick. Spin Apple, spin anti-Apple. "Trucks" vs. "cars." It makes no difference. It's all just spin. Apple re-created the pad computing world in their own image. And now they're reaping the rewards.
  • Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)
  • Hmm,
    Can you type on it?
    Can you store on it?
    Can you interact with the World Wide Web?
    Can you Download / Upload on it?
    Can you send and receive Audio / Video in the form of entertainment?
    If the answer to these questions is *Yes* then WaLa! It's a Computer~!
    The Mouse & Keyboard for all intent and purposes is a dying form of interaction..
    Hardrives and CD / DVD's are also a dying form of storage and entertainment..
    Being teathered to a desktop or carrying a laptop is going the way of the phonebooth..
    Tablets for the next 1/2 decade will be the Computer of choice.
  • 100% Agree with you.
  • I still think it should not be classified as PC. There are plenty of numbers out there that segment these categories much more efficiently. Does this mean we should consider smartphone SALES as PC sales? there are smartphones that have more computing power than some tablets
  • The entire classification system is out-dated. Of course iPads are personal computers. So are smart phones. I can do all the basic stuff on my iPad and phone. I can also make phone calls from my macbook pro. We should be classifying based on operating system (if we MUST classify) not the plastic or aluminum around it. All that said, even if we don't classify iPads as "PCs" I wouldn't say that 1 out of 6 is anywhere near approaching a "post-PC" type situation.
  • Agree. iPad doesn't exactly fit the definition of a PC.
    But it is changing that definition.
  • why do we even need to classify things like this? It's more of a look at me i am winning attitude. A phone is a sort of personal computer now or a phablet like the Note 2. The lines are all blurred these days. It IS a post PC world its now more a or a Personal Computing Device rather than a personal computer. Microsoft has changed it take lines to include the word "device" and Apple removed the word "Computer" from its name. So lets ignore the word computer and replace it with Device. The world has changed and moved on. Eg the Microsoft Surface Pro
  • In what way doesn't it fit? It exactly fits the definition, as all it is used for is personal computing. It doesn't run windows or os x, but that is not how you define a personal computer.