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Apple to become PC leader, report says — if iPad counts as a PC

November 23, 2011|By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times

Apple Inc. may want to change its mind on the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" question.

If the company decides to apply the "PC" label to its own computing devices, it may soon find that it is the world's largest personal computer vendor.

It takes a little semantic contortion, but if the iPad tablet — or any tablet — counts as a personal computer, Apple is on track to sell more PCs than computing giants such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. by the middle of next year, research firm Canalys said.

"Pads, and particularly the iPad, have radically changed the dynamics of the PC industry over the last year, already propelling Apple into second place in the worldwide PC market" as of the most recent quarter, wrote Canalys analyst Tim Coulling.

Apple now has about 15% of the global PC-plus-tablet market, Coulling said. That puts it a close second behind PC leader Hewlett-Packard. HP had an 18% share of the global PC market as of July, according to a report from research firm IDC. (IDC's report does not include tablets in the PC mix; if it did, HP's share would be lower.)

Apple may not catch HP in the holiday quarter because of competition from newer, lower-cost tablets from Amazon.com Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc. that may eat into Apple's iPad sales. The iPad 2 is no longer new, and some consumers may be shopping for the latest devices for the holidays.

But that will change, Canalys said, when the iPad 3 debuts — an event they guess will happen before the second half of 2012.

david.sarno@latimes.com

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