Is the iPad a PC?

20 August, 2011
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Market analysis firms 
report sales and market share data each quarter that can illustrate the changing nature of an industry. The PC industry is no different, but some of the latest of numbers from IDC and Gartner group don’t provide a clear view on the major shift taking place in our industry.

The major change I’m referring to is the swing away from PCs to a category that analysts like to define as post-PC. If post-PC doesn’t really mean anything to you, then let me give it a different name: the iPad.

Sales of iPads (and related tablets, although competition really doesn’t exist at the moment) are having a dramatic effect on the growth of Windows PCs, and the growth category that used to be called ‘Netbooks’ (or cheap laptops) has all but vanished.

Horace Dediu, in his Asymco blog, posted a story titled ‘First quarter PC forecast: Windows down 2%, Mac+iPad up 250%’, where he analysed the market share trends for the PC industry.
Including the iPad in the overall sales figures leads to an industry growth rate of around 7.5 percent. But if you break this out into Mac versus PC and Mac plus iPad versus PC, some interesting (and worrying) trends appear for everyone but Apple.

The growth of the Mac franchise is ‘well ahead of the overall market with 2x to 3x the growth’. In the latest quarter, according to the data from Gartner, Mac growth was around 22 percent, compared to growth of Windows-only PCs that contracted around 3 percent.
But when Dediu adds in the market share figures for iPad the graph literally goes off the chart and shows a growth for Mac plus iPad market share of 272 percent.
But is the iPad a PC? My vote would be yes, the iPad should be considered a PC if it is providing a substitute for what we do on PCs.

A recent Admob survey of nearly 1500 tablet users found that ‘nearly half’ (43 percent) of those surveyed spend more time with their tablet than they do with their desktop or notebook computer, and 77 percent spend less time on their notebooks or desktops than they did before getting a tablet’.

If I consider my usage habits the iPad has certainly replaced my need for a PC. Before the iPad I used to lug my laptop to and from work, now my laptop stays on my desk at work and I cart my iPad to and from home.

Sure, there are still some things I can’t do on the iPad but for common tasks like surfing, email, reading and writing, the iPad is the perfect replacement for me

One Comment

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  1. Helen James says:

    Simply because of what they can do the iMac and mac-book will always have a firm place in the market, whereas the iPad and iPhone will become, because of their portability, the choice of travellers. As the man said “When Microsoft makes something that doesn’t suck it will be the day it starts making vacuum cleaners”

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