Apple’s iPad is often the subject of debate when research firms release PC market share figures. Some research firms say the iPad should not be included in PC market share tallies, since it’s a tablet and not a PC in the purest sense. There are others, however, that say that tablets are PCs, just in highly compact and mobile packages. Thus, Apple’s iPad should be included in research on PC market share figures.
That argument makes the most sense. Although the tablet doesn’t look like a PC or act like a PC in the simplest sense, it is a PC. From its functionality to its design, there is simply no reason people should look at the iPad and think it can’t hold up against desktops, notebooks and netbooks. The iPad is extending the PC market, and as much as HP and Dell don’t like it, the device is making a mark in that space.
Read on to find out whythe iPad is a PC and should be considered one by research firms, consumers and everyone else who might be on the fence.
1. What’s a PC, anyway?
Whenever the PC debate crops up around the iPad, no one can come to a consensus over what a PC really is. Does a PC have to be a laptop or desktop? Does it need to run Mac OS X, Linux or Windows? Should it only come with certain accessories? There is no real way to pinpoint exactly what a PC is. Therefore, why should market watchers exclude iPad from something that has a fluid definition?
2. Touch screens are not a disqualifier
Most often, critics point tothe iPad’s touch screen to prove that it’s not a PC. They say that a real PC requires a mouse and keyboard to function properly. But then how do they explain away touch pads on laptops? Better yet, how do those critics explain away the tablet PC, which uses a stylus to control Windows? Touch screens are by no means a disqualifier. And to say that they are makes no sense.
3. The files and folders concept is nonsense
On a PC, critics say, they will be able to manage files and folders and access utilities that allow them to manage their operating systems. On the flip side, they claim, the iPad doesn’t allow for that. But with the addition of folder support to iOS, that argument isn’t as strong as it once was. Furthermore, utilities and more well-rounded software management don’t mean much. When it comes to PCs, software should be the last thing that should qualify a device as a PC.
4. When did sophistication become a prerequisite?
Apple’s iPad is widely viewed as a simple device, since it lacks the processing power and components to allow it to do everything. But let’s not forget that video editing is possible on the iPad, as well as surfing the Web, checking email and typing out Word documents. The iPad might not be as sophisticated as a top-of-the-line Dell desktop, but neither is a standard netbook, which people readily call PCs.
Lack of a Keyboard Makes No Difference
5. Will Windows 8 tablets be PCs?
Perhaps the biggest issue the naysayers will run into is how they’re going to justify their argument when Microsoft launches Windows 8 next year, quickly followed by tablets that run this new Windows version. Windows is synonymous with PCs. Vendors, hoping to capitalize on the tablet craze, will bundle the operating system with their slates. However, if the iPad isn’t a PC, those vendors will need to say that Windows 8-based tablets aren’t either. They might not like the idea of admitting that.
6. The processing power argument makes no sense
I can’t help but laugh when I hear that the iPad’s lack of processing power is what disqualifies it from becoming a PC. Based on that logic, couldn’t it be argued that PCs sold in the year 2000 are no longer PCs? After all, they didn’t have the processing power of current computers, either. The relative processing power of various PC models means nothing, and it’s about time people realize that.
7. An all-in-one is still a PC
What’s the difference between an all-in-one PC and an iPad? Can’t figure it out? Neither can I. Take the iMac. That device has all the components needed to operate it behind the screen. Even better,let’s look at HP’s TouchSmart line, which provides all-in-one functionality and a touch-enabled display. There isn’t a difference between those products and the iPad. Sure, they require a separate mouse and keyboard. But iPad owners can buy a physical keyboard to go with that device. The mouse on the iPad just isn’t necessary.
8. Consider the customer base
When evaluating products to see if they compete, it’s a good idea to look at the customers they’re targeting. As recent history has shown, the iPad is targeting the same customers that laptops and netbooks are. In fact, the iPad has hurt laptop sales somewhat since its launch last year. Customers are the trump cards in this case.
9. Email, Web surfing and word processing, oh my!
Looking at the iPad 2, the device does everything one would expect from a PC, including providing email support, surfing the Web and allowing users to type out Word documents. As noted earlier, it also can support video-editing tools. Thesimple things are what make a device a PC and in that case, the iPad holds up.
10. Haven’t new devices joined the fray before?
Finally, let’s consider a history lesson. Over the past 30 years since the IBM PC first hit the market, numerous new computer form factors have appeared. There was a time when laptops didn’t exist. There was also a time when netbooks didn’t exist. But over time, they were accepted as PCs. The iPad is no different; it’s simply a new form factor that, for some reason, many people don’t want to call a PC. It’s about time they change their tune.