Is iPad the new PC?

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By Daniel O. Escasa

?One in six PCs shipped in Q4 2012 was an iPad,? says IT industry analyst Canalys.

Wait a minute, I thought the iPad was a post-PC device? Has Canalys then changed the definitions?

First, a digression.

Canalysis refers to the iPad and its wannabe ?killers? collectively as ?pads?.

That looks oddly familiar, doesn’t it? Would only dirty minds conclude that Canalysis included the iPad so Apple gets top billing as PC manufacturer?

Accusations of bias notwithstanding, back to the question: is Canalys engaged in revisionism?

Going by wikipedia, not really:

A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator.

The next paragraph reads:

Software applications for most personal computers include, but are not limited to, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, Web browsers and e-mail clients, digital media playback, games, and myriad personal productivity and special-purpose software applications… A personal computer may be a desktop computer or a laptop, tablet, or a handheld PC. (emphasis added)

[EDIT] OK, that didn’t work, apparently the WordPress can’t handle the “strong” tag within the??Quote style. I wanted to emphasize ‘tablet’.

And farther down:

A tablet PC is a notebook or slate-shaped mobile computer. Its touchscreen or graphics tablet/screen hybrid technology allows the user to operate the computer with a stylus or digital pen, or a fingertip, instead of a keyboard or mouse… Recently, tablet PCs have been given operating systems normally used on phones, like Android or iOS.?(emphasis added)

[EDIT] Same thing, ‘Android’ and ‘iOS’ should’ve been emphasized.

What’s curious is that Wikipedia doesn’t explicitly include smartphones, and their exclusion is at best implicit:

Deloitte consulting firm predicted that in 2011, smartphones and tablet computers as computing devices would surpass the PCs sales.

Note that Deloitte distinguishes between smartphones and tablets on the one hand and PCs on the other. The distinction stayed without comment from Wikipedia.

Still, don’t smartphones also deserve to be called PCs? After all, they satisfy the definitions of Wikipedia and other sites.

If anything, a smartphone is even more personal than a PC.

You can create user accounts on Windows, the free Unix-like OSes, and Mac OS, so other people can use your PC.

For that matter, you can even log in to your Freenix box from another computer and run software applications residing on the former, with the output ? even graphical output ? displayed on the latter.

A ?pad? or a smartphone, on the other hand, is strictly personal in that the only account there is yours, although Android 4.2 features multiple user accounts on tablets. Regardless, I’d still hesitate to lend an Android 4.2 device to even my mother.

UPDATE: Now MakeUseOf has an article on ditching your desktop in favor of a smartphone. So who says a smartphone isn’t a PC?

References:
Canalys: http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/one-six-pcs-shipped-q4-2012-was-ipad
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer#Tablet_PC, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer#Pocket_PC

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