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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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  • by erotic_pie (796522) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:11PM (#42821413) Homepage
    Do tablets really count as a "PC"? If that's the case we might as well start considering smart phones PCs, since a modern tablet is basically just a scaled up smart phone.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:21PM (#42821533) Homepage

      Do tablets really count as a "PC"?

      Well, let's see .. it has a CPU, memory, can do input, processing, and output (the Von Neumann definition). It's capable of doing Turing complete things, and writing code written for it.

      It's personal, and it meets all of the definitions of computer.

      we might as well start considering smart phones PCs, since a modern tablet is basically just a scaled up smart phone.

      By any meaningful definition, a modern smart phone is more of a computer than what we had 20 years ago -- by a huge factor.

      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.

      We're no longer talking about things which are hardware specific to a task, and you could easily port any programming language to that platform. The absence of a physical keyboard or mouse don't make you not a computer (because they used to have neither).

      • by Joehonkie (665142)
        So we should include phones and game consoles as well. Got it.
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          So we should include phones and game consoles as well. Got it.

          If they're capable of solving Turing complete problems [wikipedia.org], they absolutely they are. By definition.

          An XBox is a PC which has been wrapped in a box and sold in retail stores, but it's an example of a computer for sure. It's essentially an Intel processor and a desktop PC.

          And modern phones, which can be arbitrarily programmed and aren't just hard wired to be phones? Guess what, a smart phone is essentially a computer in a little tiny case.

          Walk into

          • Then "by definition" almost anything with a microprocessor is a PC. Having a turing complete instruction set isn't exactly a high bar. My friend's arduino-controlled art installation is a turing complete computer. Does that make it a PC?
        • The personal in PC means the device was designed primarily to be used by one user at a time. Phones fit this criteria but there could be an argument that most game consoles do not, since they are designed to be used by at least two players simultaneously (usually 4 now-a-days). Handheled video games would fit though.

          • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:42PM (#42821797) Homepage

            The personal in PC means the device was designed primarily to be used by one user at a time.

            No, it means the device was intended to be owned by people, which was a change from when computers were big giant things in dedicated rooms nobody ever went near and no individual could ever hope to own.

            My 486 Linux box could run more than one user back in 1993 -- was it not a "Personal Computer"? It was mine, it was a computer. Or did it magically become a server instead of a PC?

            The number of intended users is not now, and never has been, part of the definition of "personal" in PC.

            • by Sique (173459)

              The number of intended users is not now, and never has been, part of the definition of "personal" in PC.

              Which is blatantly wrong, because the number of intended users has ever been the defining part of "personal" in PC, starting out with the first computer ever labelling itself a "personal computer", the Apple II. IBM's late entry to the game, the IBM PC, was exactly that: a computer as a personal tool for someone, different to all the terminal session based mainframes and minis, IBM was selling.

      • It's personal, and it meets all of the definitions of computer.

        ...yeah, but we're talking PCs, not computers. You know, I could have understood you making this argument if the parent had spelt out PC as "Personal Computer", because then you could have said "Oh, I missed the "personal" bit" or made a confused argument that would have ignored the fact "PC" has a specific meaning, "Personal Computer" has a specific meaning, and that neither mean quite the same thing as "any computer with any personal aspect

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonadab (583620)
        > 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 att
      • by vux984 (928602)

        Well, let's see .. it has a CPU, memory, can do input, processing, and output (the Von Neumann definition). It's capable of doing Turing complete things, and writing code written for it.

        And my OLD cellphone... not my new fancy galaxy s3... I'm tallking my old Motorola StarTAC.

        Apparently that was a PC too. It even had some sort of Java and a hideous WAP browser as i recall... still miles better than what you could do with an Apple II though am i right?

        So why didn't we see any articles in the 90s about how Mo

      • by msauve (701917)
        "it has a CPU, memory, can do input, processing, and output (the Von Neumann definition). It's capable of doing Turing complete things, and writing code written for it. It's personal, and it meets all of the definitions of computer."

        You just described my clock radio.

        Fact is, "PC" has traditionally meant IBM PC compatibles, not the literal "personal computer." Mac vs. PC, etc. It seems you're the one who's trying to redefine what a PC is.
    • by alen (225700)

      my iphone 5 is more powerful than some of the older servers in our data center

    • by micheas (231635)

      I would argue that a smart phone is actually more of a Personal Computer than the workstation on my desk, which I use mostly for work.

      I would guess that over 80% of my personal stuff is done on my phone.

      My ipad is mostly for reading at night because the kindle does not have "paper white" display that you can read after the lights are out.

    • Do tablets really count as a "PC"? If that's the case we might as well start considering smart phones PCs, since a modern tablet is basically just a scaled up smart phone.

      Does the Windows 8 tablet count as a PC? If it does, then why not other tablets.

    • by guttentag (313541)

      Do tablets really count as a "PC"?

      No, not all. Some tablets are only personal on the Surface. Under that veneer they're rather impersonal. Isn't that right, Siri?

      Let me think. Here's what I found: Input Interpretation: "Last[{}] Microsoft"

      Apparently she has a sense of humor. I think she just invented an emoticon depicting the Surface as a two-faced (multi-faceted) schizo in a box.

      It is funny because the Surface gets dead.

      OK, no more Pixar movies for you.

    • Steve Jobs said in 2010 that we were entering the "post-PC" era. To him and Apple, tablets are a different device than PCs and that many consumers are starting to supplement their computing with tablets. Tablets do not replace PCs in all situations but are better suited in certain ones like couch surfing.

      Ballmer in D8 said the opposite and that tablets were a "different form factor of PC." So Ballmer himself agrees with Gartner. Of course Ballmer is known for putting his foot in his mouth.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      It's all semantic nonsense, really, as TFTitle alluded to. If you take PC to mean "IBM-compatible computer", as it meant at one time in the past, then obviously iPads would be out, as would old PPC Macs, whereas Surface Pros would be in (but not Surface RTs). If you take PC to be synonymous with the old term "microcomputer", then arguably tablets ARE PCs- nobody ever said a microcomputer had to have a keyboard.

      It would be tempting to say stop using the term "PC" at all- we should instead talk about top lapt

    • If that's the case we might as well start considering smart phones PCs

      Most of us always did. They're PCs.

  • 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.

  • Hmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by msauve (701917) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:15PM (#42821459)
    Apple is now the top politically correct vendor. That must be because they censor apps.
  • Wrong (Score:5, Funny)

    by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:19PM (#42821501) Homepage

    McDonalds is the top PC vendor, if you include Big Macs.

    • Also serves to make the point that being top doesn't make you the best, or even mediocre.

    • McDonalds is the top PC vendor, if you include Big Macs.

      Tablets can run applications, games, crunch numbers, communicate on a network. It may not be PC to call a tablet a PC, but equating the computational abilities of tablets and Big Macs is just stupid.

    • by guttentag (313541)

      McDonalds is the top PC vendor, if you include Big Macs.

      I thought McDonald's was a server vendor, not a PC vendor. Billions and Billions Served. [brandi.org]

  • Stupid (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:25PM (#42821577)

    Everyone knows Apple only sells Macs, not PCs.

  • by eepok (545733) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:30PM (#42821639) Homepage

    I'll start. Here's how I use the words:

    Personal Devices (Very limited, proprietary software)
    -- Feature Phone
    -- GPS Device

    Personal Computing Devices (Limited, Consumption-based OSes, optional other-source software)
    -- Tablets
    -- Smartphones

    Personal Computers (Traditional OSes like Windows, Linux, etc.; uses applications not truncated "apps")
    -- Laptops/Notebooks
    -- Netbooks
    -- Desktop Computers

  • This definition died with the laptop. We've been on a downward spiral to the smartphone since. If you want to define PC's as Desktop computers and Laptops, computing devices with a keyboard and or mouse like device, it's still a bit shaky.
  • 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".

    • 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".

      I suspect that whether people belong to the "tablet is a PC" or "tablet is not a PC" crowd coincides strongly with whether they want or don't want Apple to be the largest PC vendor.

      In the end, PC vendors don't care how many PCs they sell, they care about how much stuff they sell. There's no price for being the leader, especially no price for setting or bending the rules so that you are the leader; but there's a price (hard cash) for selling stuff at a profit. Apple sells x Macs and y iPads, and whether s

  • First of all in iPads you can not install your own software and you can only have crippled programming environments on it (some Basics e.g.)
    So everything that defines a PC is impossible on an iPad.
    Android might be looking better ... at least it is a "computing platform" on wich you indeed can compute and instal your own stuff and have an accessible file system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spacepimp (664856)
      Calling a tablet something other than a PC, was a move to lock out/down the platform. You can;'t install your own software on an iPad because Apple makes more money this way. If they let you you would have the ability to install apps. Not being able to do this wouldn't fly on a PC. sSo the post PC thing was grandstanding to let Apple control the user. If it was a PC you'd have rights, same goes for a smartphone. Yet here we are on Slashdot being led by the nose and missing the bigger issue. I thought you gu
  • A Kindle is a PC? Fuck this article. Astroturfing bullshit.

  • 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.

  • Imagine this... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tekrat (242117) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:04PM (#42822827) Homepage Journal

    Take your smartphone, tablet, kindle, whatever... that device you don't consider to a be a "PC". Now stick it in a Time Machine and send it back to 1985. Show it to the editors of BYTE Magazine and ask them if it's a personal computer or not. They will tell you that it is.

    Furthermore, your "device" in 1985 would be the most powerful PC there is, and actually qualify as a supercomputer, and be restricted from export from the USA because it would qualify as a threat to national security. Think about that.

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:42PM (#42823361)

    When the computer that you carry around in your pocket is not a "Personal Computer", but the computer whose permanent home is on the floor, it's called a "Personal Computer"???

    Very odd!

  • 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).

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