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iPad makes Apple the #1 PC maker in the US?

As we wait on Apple's Q4 earnings report later today, it's interesting to look at the graphic above and see just what a profound effect iPad sales have had, and are likely increasingly to have, on the US PC market. Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore:

  • The U.S. PC market grew an anemic 4% year-over-year in calendar Q3 without the iPad, according to IDC. Include the iPad, as Whitmore feels one ought to, and that growth jumps to a robust 24%.
  • Exclude the iPad, and Apple's (AAPL) PC sales grew 24% year-over-year. Include them, and Apple's unit sales soared roughly 250%. By comparison, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) grew 3% year-over-year and Dell (DELL) units fell 5%.
  • When the iPad is part of the mix, Apple's share of the U.S. PC market is about 25%. That makes it the market leader, having gained a remarkable 18 points in the space of two quarters.

Add to that: Apple makes good margins on a $500 iPad, a device with great build quality, materials, and consumer appeal. Other manufacturers typically make razor thin margins on $500 netbooks/laptops, which are also typically poor devices with lousy build quality, cheap materials, and consumer appeal attached only to the price tag.


Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • The only problem with this story/headline is the iPad isn't a computer.
  • iPad can be counted as a computer and Android can be compared to iOS?
  • iPad fails at being a computer because it can't active my iPods/iPhone :(
  • I believe TI is also still making a killing selling their graphing "computers" to students.
  • @oletros, Rene has never said you couldn't compare android to iOS.. Rene says you can't compare android to iPhone, because android is an os,iPhone is a phone, iOS runs on iPad,iPhone,iPod, and appletv, so android still lose
  • Seriously, My iPad is a computer when I use it the majority of the day doing most of the tasks that I would do on my laptop. It is very much a computer. It may not do everything, but it is a form of personal computing (PC). And that's why it's so popular. It's light small and portable compared to a laptop.
  • @Jcal08 And Renee forgot to mention that statistics talk about Android SMARTPHONES, no Android OS.
  • It's interesting to throw it in these stats. But I personally would not consider the iPad a in the same category. The iPad is a computer as much as my iPhone is a computer. Needing to be connected to another computer to get the best benefit though keeps it out of stand alone status for me. If it bricks you can't do anything and you need iTunes. If my laptop bricks I can boot the BIOS and reinstall Windows, I don't connect it to Zune on my desktop. Just my thoughts, but interesting stats.
  • Looking more it's even more interesting that the other trends go down sharper when the iPad lands. Loss of netbook sales or full unit sales? Especially for Acer who is big on netbook models.
  • @Jcal08
    He was going crazy because they were comparing Android SMARTPHONES to the iPhone since the iPhone is the only SMARTPHONE to run iOS. Why would you compare a SMARTPHONE to an iPad, iTouch, or ATV? Just like the iPad is a different market segment from the PC the iPad, iTouch, and ATV are different market segments from the SMARTPHONES.
  • I think this is great news for Apple.. They have nowhere to go but up from here!
  • I just got notified that my company's entire sales team are getting ipads (including me). I'm barely going to turn my crappy Lenovo laptop on anymore. So, I would say it counts as a PC, yes...
  • Gets my vote for most biased market share graph in the world. If iPad is a computer, then every smartphone in the world is too. Or are they determining what a computer is by size?
  • So my iPhone is a pc too right?
  • The iPad is a media consumption device since it doesn't have the creation power/flexibility as a latop/desktop/netbook has; it's not a computer no matter what what flavor koolaid they try to make you drink.
  • I fail to see any place in this post that mentions Android. Give the flame wars a rest.
    This post is a 'what if you count the iPad as a computer?' scenario. Notice it gives numbers both WITH iPad, AND without. It is playing with numbers. This is just theorized numbers, not flame trolling.
    Ron: when the market analysts start counting phones as computers you will see the scenarios shift. This is just playing with market numbers, nothing more.
  • Plus, Fortune uses the headline "What if". They too realize the iPad isn't a computer either and this is basically an academic exercise.
    It's too bad Apple didn't have the balls to put OS X on the iPad... now that would have made it an ground-breaking computer!
  • I think the TiPB headline is a little misleading. Everyone knows that the iPad is not a computer. The little question mark in the headline doesn't excuse the fanboy heading.
  • The anti-Apple people won't consider the iPad a computer until all the Android, WebOS, etc. tablets come out and they want their numbers counted too. They have all these silly definitions of what a computer is (or isn't) that they'll have to revise once their team gets in the game. I suppose you could do a poll, but I'm pretty sure nearly everyone who owns an iPad will say it's a computer and everyone else will say it isn't.
  • @M ... what is your definition of a computer? Name a function that the iPad does not do that a computer does?
  • @Jeo ...look at @Sting7k comment above for the answer to question you asked.
  • The closest thing you could get to to classify the iPad as a real PC would be is you considered it a "Cloud" PC. Basically remoting to a real PC or a server to run complex programs and operations and using your iPad as just a display for the output of the real system.
  • Where do these people get the idea that one computer can't be dependent on another computer? How quaint.
  • iPad is not a computer so long as you need a laptop or desktop to supplement.
  • I realize this is a fanboy site but this article seriously fails for all the reasons listed before my comment.
    You know it's pretty bad when a iPhone fanboy, such as myself, can see bias/spin/bs.
  • Turtles, care to explain why?
  • "Where do these people get the idea that one computer can’t be dependent on another computer? How quaint."
    I don't know. Where did people get the idea that a Server was a different device from a PC?
  • @webvex
    When the iPad can do what an iMac can do, then it can be counted. Until then it is basically a side dish in a much larger meal. Man cannot live on side salad alone.
  • Ha! I remember about 20 years ago when our mainframe programmers didn't think the PC was a real computer either. Gosh, that was sad watching what happened to them.
  • Now now, a calculator is a "real" computer as well. We're saying an iPad isn't a PC, plain and simple. After all even today who would call a PC a Server? Maybe someone that's using an iPad as a PC to interface with their PC as a Server...
  • @Erik, I see. You're right, the iPad is certainly not a (desktop) PC. It will mostly displace notebooks, for now. Are those computers? Servers can be PCs, and PCs can be servers. Sorry, I just don't understand why the rigid, narrow definitions.
  • Would you call an iPod Touch a PC? After all they are practically the same thing, just different screen sizes.
    Also if we're going to call the iPad a PC can you please demonstrate how to setup a Dev environment on an iPad? I'd like to see something similar to what I've seen for Dev environments on desktop PCs, notebook PCs, and even on netbook PCs.
  • Yes, I would call an iPod Touch (and iPhone, and Android, etc.) a personal computer. Development environments are not a requirement for computers. Maybe for you, but not for the vast majority of users. Why not look at what they can do, instead of what they can't (and maybe don't need to) do?
  • Hello,
    One can see that there are as many opinions on what is a computer or what us not a computer, is an iPhone a computer or is a calculator a (very early) computer, is a PC a Mac or is a Mac. PC, well fortunately if you buy it and own it, you can call it what ever you want to call it!
    When I travel cross- country to visit my Grandsons I have always traveled with a notebook until recently when I traveled with just my iPhone as it met my travel needs, including a boarding pass, so I call it my computer (Ron agrees!).
    Well, Rene wrote a great article as look at all of the comments that were generated. Since it is her story then she can call an iPad a computer or whatever she wants to call it, she did the research and posted the Blog so Kudos to Rene!
  • @AppleCore FYI - Rene is a guy.
    I suppose that would be eight since what the majority of people need is just an Internet appliance rather then a real PC. Now if only it could handle Flash, JAVA, and/or .NET interpreters.
  • When I can plug a jump drive into an iPad and transfer files to/from, then I'll consider it a PC. When I can load a new OS on an iPad without using another computer, then I'll consider it a PC. Yes, it can browse the internet. So could my Motorola v600 5 years ago, but that wasn't ever considered a PC.
    It seems as though the media and Apple wants to put the iPad into the same category as other devices so it can show some sort of dominance. No, the only dominance the iPad can show is in its own category. Which if memory serves me right, Apple intended on launch to setup a 'new category' of devices. So stop trying to compare a stripped down tablet to a PC.