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iPad Drives Apple to Perch Atop List of Top-Selling PC Manufacturers

Late last year, research firm Canalys predicted that Apple might become the world's largest PC manufacturer during the fourth quarter of 2011 if tablets were counted alongside more traditional computers. With the major firms now having reported their sales numbers for the quarter, Canalys has pieced together the numbers to confirm that Apple has indeed taken the lead on the strength of the iPad.
Canalys today announced that Apple, after reporting stellar results, became the leading worldwide client PC vendor in Q4 2011. Apple shipped over 15 million iPads and five million Macs, representing 17% of the total 120 million client PCs shipped globally in Q4. Overall, the total client PC market, including desktops, netbooks, notebooks, and pads grew 16% year-on-year. Excluding pads, the client PC market declined 0.4%.
The report notes that tablets such as the iPad accounted for 22% of PC sales during the quarter, with the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook also contributing to the strong tablet performance.

Based on data from Canalys and other research firms, it appears that the iPad would have been able to top the list even without the help of the Mac, which itself achieved record sales during the quarter. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the quarter, with Canalys, Gartner, and IDC all pegging non-tablet market leader HP's shipments between 14.7 and 15.3 million units.

Whether or not iPads and other tablets should be counted as PCs has become a vigorous debate as observers take differing views on how "personal computers" should be defined. But with Apple making the iPad "PC Free" by eliminating the need to sync to a computer via iTunes and increasing numbers of consumers relying on their iPads for everyday computer functionalities such as browsing, email and music, as well as a broad array of apps, lines between the two types of devices are becoming increasingly blurred.

Related Roundup: iPad Air 2
Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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66 months ago
As someone on Engadget commented....

McDonalds is the largest PC manufacturer if you include Big Macs.

Honestly, Apple do well enough without having to pad their numbers.
Rating: 9 Votes
66 months ago

An iPad is a PC as much as a hammer is a screwdriver!

I have a hammer with a screwdriver in it :)

Also, to see a picture of my hammer/screwdriver, click here:
Image (
Rating: 8 Votes
66 months ago
so the iPod Touch is a PC too then?
Rating: 8 Votes
66 months ago

Personal Computer=PC

And there is no better PC(Personal Computer) than the iPad.

Deal with it.

People need to check their preconceptions about what a "PC" is at the door. We're living in an age of redefinitions and substantial market shifts.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that the iPad even after it became "PC Free" is still far more limited than even the lowest laptop "category" (Netbooks)

I think the definition of a tablet should fall heavily on the OS it runs first and then followed by the hardware it is used on.
Rating: 7 Votes
66 months ago

Tell me specifically what you can get done on an "early 2000's" iBook that can't be done with an iPad ?

And puhleezz. Lets leave the cd-rom out of the equation. Everybody knows that's so yesterday.

Code? Full Photoshop suite? Have 2 simultaneous windows open? Run multiple operating systems? Use Office suite? Share data between all programs? Manage the OS file system? Attach and photo to an email while being in my email program?
Rating: 7 Votes
66 months ago

The industry NEEDS the iPad.

Which industry are you referring to? Because the people who need Mac Pros, certainly won't be able to replace what those systems do with these little tablet toys.
Rating: 6 Votes
66 months ago
ought to make steve smile!
Rating: 5 Votes
66 months ago
Most arguments against the iPad being a PC are silly and based in nothing more than a biased attitude towards a shift in general purpose computing.

This happened when the original Mac was introduced as well. Everyone who used command-line based computers called the Mac a toy because of its graphical UI.

"There's no keyboard"

I'm sure today, if computing went back to the command-line, all the naysayers would refuse to call it a real PC because it lacked a mouse, just as most do today with the iPad's lack of a "real" keyboard.

Input methods do not a PC make. Whether it's a keyboard, mouse, finger, whatever... The PC is not defined by how we interact with it, but has always been defined by how it is used and what it is used for.

Honestly, the Mac mini doesn't come with a keyboard, mouse or display, how on Earth is that considered a computer, if that was your only criteria?

"Well you can only do one thing at a time on an iPad. A real PC would allow me to multitask!"

First of all, for the most part humans do not multitask; I cannot type out an email, read a web page and edit a movie at the same time... my focus has to switch between them. The difference between a windowed based OS and the iPad is that the iPad forces the user focus on one thing at a time, whereas on a windowed OS the screen can be cluttered with other things. So the iPad forces users to switch between tasks to see what's going and Mac OS X lets you glance or move a window out of the way. This doesn't make the iPad any less a computer either. This is simply, different view management.

"The iPad isn't powerful enough to be a real PC"

Well what does that mean? Are not the Apple II, IBM PC, original Mac all PCs? Yes, they were and yes, they are still considered to be so. The iPad is much more powerful than any of these. Power has nothing to do with what defines a PC. If that were the case, netbooks would have to be thrown out of the equation. Most of them were so under-powered when they were first released, they had a hard time playing video at decent rates.

If I had Ubuntu running on my iPad with a keyboard and mouse attached would that make it more of a PC? The hardware is all there to do that.
Rating: 5 Votes
66 months ago

Some of you are making this way more complicated than it needs to be. People seem to have a hard time empathizing with the average user.

Why would iPads be included? The iMac has a much larger screen, more capable apps, and is far more comfy and intimate to use. It's delightful, really, so much so that users are trying to find excuses to use it for more and more activities.

That is all there is to it.

Fixed for you ;)
Rating: 5 Votes
66 months ago

And let's not forget the ardent Apple supporters who don't even own Apple products.

Rating: 4 Votes

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