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Apple Hardware

Apple Now the Top PC Vendor, For Some Values of PC 577

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-personal-does-it-compute dept.
tsamsoniw writes "While research companies including IDC and Gartner deemed HP the PC leader for Q4 2012, Canalys has a different perspective. The analyst firm has declared Apple the top PC vendor for the past quarter, thanks in part to the booming success of the iPad and the iPad mini. By Canalys's reckoning, Amazon, too, now beats out the likes of Acer and Asus as leading PC vendors, having shipped 4.6 million Kindles in Q4."
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Apple Now the Top PC Vendor, For Some Values of PC

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  • Sad day indeed.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jkrise (535370) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:11PM (#42821417) Journal

    the worst influence and bully in the tech industry hits the already much abused PC form factor.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:16PM (#42821471) Journal

    Do tablets really count as a "PC"?

    No, of course not. I draw the line at having an actual keyboard (which makes my daughter's HTC Desire Z phone more of a PC than a typical tablet is). TFA is just self-serving bullshit. And shame on TFS for publicizing the rubbish.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:25PM (#42821575) Homepage

    No, of course not. I draw the line at having an actual keyboard

    Well, that's both arbitrary and wrong. The older mainframes that used paper tape and punch cards didn't have keyboards.

    You don't get to define what makes a computer, and by any meaningful definition, a tablet is undeniably a computer.

    ENIAC didn't have a keyboard, that doesn't mean it wasn't a computer.

    Sorry, but you're wrong.

  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:27PM (#42821607) Homepage
    PC = "personal" computer. A mainframe or a mini is not a PC. ENIAC totally isn't.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:38PM (#42821749) Homepage

    No, but you can't claim that a smart phone or tablet isn't a computer on that basis ... ENIAC wasn't personal, but by the GPs definition it didn't have a keyboard, so it wasn't a computer either. Which is blatantly false.

    By the definition I learned when I got my degree in CS, if it is capable of solving Turing complete problems, it is a computer -- and why we should be having this argument on Slashdot of all places is mind boggling.

    If I used a bluetooth keyboard with an iPad, do you think that keyboard magically turns it from "not a computer" to "is a computer"?? But a virtual keyboard keeps it from being one??

    The architecture itself would be capable of running any programming language ported to it -- that is what makes it a computer. It has a general purpose CPU with an instruction set, and the ability to write new logic on it that isn't defined statically in hardware, ergo, computer.

  • by BLToday (1777712) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:39PM (#42821757)

    The "tablet is not a PC" crowd will attack. And then the "tablet is a PC" crowd will counter-attack. Out of nowhere "some tablet are PC" crowd will join, but haven't shown their alliance. The "Apple is evil" along with the "Android/Chrome OS FTW" groups will join forces to fight everybody. Unfortunately, the hills may not protect us from the "Win8 will kill everyone".

  • by jonadab (583620) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:39PM (#42821765) Homepage Journal
    > So, tell us, what aspects of a phone or tablet make
    > it not a computer in your mind? They'll both run rings
    > around an old 486.

    Traditionally, a PC is a _general purpose_ computer. So you could use it for a wide variety of tasks, anything from basic end-user tasks like typing up a research paper right on through to technical stuff like CAD. Indeed, people used 486s for both of those things, back in the day. So why don't you set your camera up on a tripod and make a YouTube video of yourself attempting to perform those tasks on your touchscreen-only phone? I'd like to see that. It would be highly amusing to watch.
  • by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgwNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:48PM (#42821869) Journal

    damn straight smartphones are PCs. They just happen to be small-format computers with a cellular link chipset added in.

    Now, just to make both you and me look like the idiots we are, can anyone come up with an accepted, standardized definition of what constitutes a "personal computer" ? I know I can't.

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:53PM (#42821935)

    My desktop doesn't have a built in keyboard. It requires an external keyboard to be plugged in or synced to have keyboard functionality.

    My iPad has a built in (virtual) keyboard. It does not require an external keyboard to be synced to have keyboard functionality but, if I so choose, I can utilize one to have a physical keyboard.

    So, by your keyboard criteria, my desktop is not a computer and my iPad is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:01PM (#42822027)

    Just to follow up on "PC Problems", here's the stuff you see people struggling with all the time:

    - Overly complex UIs that expose too many power-user options
    - Information density can be far too high
    - Complex file-systems which make it hard to find stuff
    - Poor search and meta-data organization
    - Updaters and random crap demanding your attention constantly
    - Anti-virus
    - Untrustworthy software installation

    Most people don't want or need these kinds of issues while checking their email/facebook.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:07PM (#42822127)

    Don't forget calculators and abacuses (yes, they're still in use in some parts of the world)

  • by XiaoMing (1574363) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:21PM (#42822315)

    The Mac existed as a "Personal Computer" for several years before it was capable of compiling its own programs but nobody had any trouble calling it a "PC".

    We counted Apple IIs and Commodore 64s as PCs. These new systems are far more powerful and capable, why not call them PCs too?

    Taking the Apple click-bait out of the equation, this sounds about right from a broad view: Tablets and "smartphones" as PCs from a decade ago or-so in terms of computing power with funny form-factors and interfaces.

    To all the apparent fanboys who think that dedicated media consumption devices should be PCs just because they perform better than something from two decades ago, there is one very obvious distinction that you are all blatantly but unintentionally pointing out:

    All of these devices were still the cutting edge technology of their time, especially as far as personal productivity and capability was concerned!
    Sure the very original mac couldn't compile its own code. But it also beat the hell out of a typewriter.
    And the iPad's A# processors destroy the original Cyrix, 3/486, Pentiums what have you! I'm surprised we even bothered with those processors at all, pfft!

    Now crawl out of the reality-distortion fanboy bubble and look at today and what do you see? These devices are far from forefront of doing anything productive, have just good-enough specs for media consumption, and are a pain to use even if you look at the most modest metrics of productivity such as responding (no, not just reading) an email, or working with a spreadsheet.

    Yes, personal computers did used mean something. And I believe they still should.

  • by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgwNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:23PM (#42822329) Journal

    Maybe in the long run it'll be simpler to define a PC on the outcome of "Will it Blend."

  • by Omestes (471991) <{omestes} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:25PM (#42822361) Homepage Journal

    So anything with a CPU and some flavor of user interface is now a PC? Don't forget most DVD or Bluray players, and most televisions too (our televisions all have a nice GPL notice in the back, viva Linux).

    This TFA is pretty stupid. I love my Nexus 7 (10" Transformer less so), but I wouldn't consider it a PC. I see PCs as general computing devices, with their primary attribute being the term "general". Right now there is a very large amount of things that I just can't do on my tablet, or phone that I can do on my PC. Further, PCs are expandable, and extensible (both of these being somewhat prerequisites to "general"). Sure, some computers have limited, and mostly unacceptable, hardware (Macs), but even then there is a very large pool of peripherals, and they still have a very large ability to modify the software for almost any task. Tablets don't really do this, there are abilities that they are not going to really support, either by design or intrinsic factors.

    My Nexus is a toy computer. I love it, but it isn't an actual PC.

    Yes, being literal, it would be a PC, since it computes, as in crunches numbers, and it is personal, as in I own one. I think the term has evolved beyond this though.

    Even dumber, considering a Kindle a PC is just... I don't even have words. A Kindle, a normal Kindle, is a dumb device that is only good for a single purpose. A Fire, or the various Nook flavored bargain tablets, might be PCs, if we accept full tablets as PCs.

  • by Omestes (471991) <{omestes} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:37PM (#42822499) Homepage Journal

    A Mac is a PC. Especially now that there is NO difference, whatsoever, in hardware. Back in the PPC days, you might have a case, but I doubt it, since they were personal computers just like Windows and Linux boxes. Unless what GUI something uses defines whether something is a PC or not, and then, is anything not running whatever UI existed when the term was coined actually a PC either? The only difference between a Mac and a Linux or Windows box is what OS they have.

    The consumer can be wrong, and various companies have abused the term to help them along. This doesn't actually change the meaning of the word, since there really isn't a way of defining that doesn't include Macs. Unless, of course your only definition of "PC" is "not a Mac", which is kind of stupid.

    That said, I don't buy tablets being PCs, because they aren't "general" or generally extendable, which I would consider being important to being classified as a personal computer. If I did accept them, then I have to include phones, consoles, most modern televisions and bluray players, most routers, or basically anything having a CPU and an operating system.

    Calling tablets PCs runs into the "Pluto problem", if we let them be a PC, then pretty much everything has to be a PC, and the term loses what (very little) use it once had.

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:42PM (#42822567) Homepage

    ... why we should be having this argument on Slashdot of all places is mind boggling.

    Why? Because some folks around here hate Apple so much that they believe that any report showing them as #1 at anything must obviously be because of incorrect definition or incorrect methodology or something. Plus, there are many in the Slashdot community who cannot accept the notion that definitions of categories might actually change over time. Unless it has a detachable, full-size keyboard, a monitor that sits on a desk, and an ugly box, it's not a PC, regardless of functionality.

  • Funny I can ssh and code on my iPad just fine without even jailbreaking.... also my iPhone. So sorry that "consumption" category is bullshit.
  • by dywolf (2673597) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:06PM (#42822849)

    I have a hiking pack for my dog.
    Doesn't make her a good pack mule.
    She can barely carry enough water and food for herself.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:36PM (#42823275) Homepage

    And Apple is a toy vendor. Not a PC vendor.

  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:55PM (#42823541) Homepage Journal

    I think John Gruber's take [daringfireball.net] on David Pogue's Surface review [nytimes.com] nails it:

    DP: "Everybody knows what a tablet is, right? It's a black touch-screen slab, like an iPad or an Android tablet. It doesn't run real Windows or Mac software -- it runs much simpler apps. It's not a real computer."

    JG: "That's the same shortsighted opinion that command-line DOS advocates had of the Mac in the '80s. Anyone who thinks OS X and Windows PCs are "real" computers and that the iPad (and Android tablets) are anything less just isn't getting it."

    My dad was one of those people. Back then (mid/late 80s) "computer" meant "I can write programs on it." Every computer today looks like the Macintosh did back then: windows, icons, WYSIWYG documents, etc. "Computer" came to mean "something you can use to create documents on and play games."

    Remember, once upon a time, what we call "personal computers" themselves weren't considered "real" computers at all by those who were using "computers" (i.e, big iron in schools and businesses) at the time.

    Q: Who's the #1 mainframe vendor today?

    A: Who cares?

    So just as "computer" once meant one thing and now refers to what we call PCs, the definition of "PC" will change over time too. It's a continuum, not black and white. Does a "PC" become not a PC when you take its keyboard off? Does a "tablet" become a "PC" when you add a keyboard? Is an iPad you can hold in one hand less personal, or less of a computer, than an old Kaypro luggable? [wikipedia.org]

    I think I'll write a children's book: The Velveteen iPad (or How Tablets Become Real).

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:15PM (#42823761)
    I would go the opposite direction. From the title, I expected that the definition was going to be that they had one model of computer that was a better seller than the 20 models offered by any other vendor. Defining smartphones and tablets as PCs is perfectly valid. Most computers have been sold primarily as consumption devices, and that trend only accelerated over the last decade. There is nothing that could be done on an original IBM PC that cannot be done on tablets and smartphones today. If you presented a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard to a person in 1982 they most certainly would have identified it as a PC. A freaking awesome PC, but a PC none the less. It is those that claim tablets are not personal computers that are twisting the definition to meet their needs

    Just look at some of the comments here. "A PC is a device you can do 'real work' on." "Real work mean photo retouching, complex Excel spreadsheets, multiple windows". Pretty much a large portion of the people arguing that a tablet isn't a PC are also arguing that the IBM PC is not a PC.
  • by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:45PM (#42824153) Homepage

    It's a really fuzzy distinction. Taking the iPad as an example, what aspect of it makes it not a PC? Not the hardware, it can be connected to a physical monitor, keyboard, etc. Not the general tasks you can accomplish with it, most of those overlap, and for many people, all of them do (my father uses one to replace a computer, doing his surfing, e-mail, word processing, etc. on a tablet).

    I don't think your criteria of expandability works. The majority of computers sold today have little no no expandability; try swapping out the processor in your laptop. There are external peripherals, but so are there too for tablets.

    I think what is a PC and what isn't depends largely on how the owner uses it. My father uses his iPad as a computer, because it does everything he did on the computer it replaced. I don't, using mine for occasional media consumption and casual games.

    As a parting comment, I'd point out that the Chromebook is considered to be a personal computer, but that it is far less flexible and capable on a software level than an iPad; both the iPad and the Chromebook can use web apps, but the Chromebook has no ability to run native software beyond what it ships with (like the first-gen iPhone).

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