A week ago Apple announced record-breaking results for its latest quarter, selling more iPhones and iPads in the three month period than ever before. In fact, its iPhone sales made Apple the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world (by volume).

And apparently, the company’s tablet sales had a similar effect on its position in the computer industry. According to a report by The New York Times, the company that proclaimed the “post-PC” era — Apple — is now the biggest maker of PCs in the world…

Citing a report from Canalys research firm, The NYT reports:

“The 15 million iPads and five million Macintoshes that Apple sold during the period accounted for 17 percent of the approximately 120 million PCs shipped during the fourth quarter, Canalys said. The firm said tablets — Canalys calls them “pads” — accounted for 22 percent of total PC shipments during the fourth quarter, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook included.”

Of course, all of this is based on the belief that tablets belong in the PC category, which has certainly been up for debate. Many think that only full-blown desktop computers and laptops can be described as personal computers, but the term transcends hardware.

As TechCrunch’s MG Siegler puts it, “”PC” is about how people use and interact with computers, not what it looks like. Who cares what it looks like?” He also points out that the transition from laptops to tablets is very similar to the move from desktops to laptops we saw way back when, which is a fair comparison.

So to recap: if you believe that iPads are indeed a form of PC, then Apple is now the largest manufacturer of both smartphones and computers in the world. And if you don’t, well then you must not be paying attention.

  • Anonymous

    “Apple is now the largest manufacturer of both smartphones”

    Samsung shipped more smartphones for the YEAR than Apple did despite the record Q4.

    “and computers in the world.”

    We are only dealing with Q4 numbers, what are the total shipments for PCs for the YEAR?

    “And if you don’t, well then you must not be paying attention.”

    Or not making wild assumptions like yourself?

    • Stormy08

      Big different between the quantity Samsung shipped and sold.

  • So an iPad is a PC?

    • An iPad is a PC if you consider PCs to be ChromeBooks. iPads are tablets because its main function is to surf the web. PCs on the otherhand has more function and although there are possibilities for PCs features to appear on a IPad, it’s not likely I will happen because it’s processing power is not as fast than PCs.

  • Anonymous

    A rather pointless excuse for a story tbh and is nothing more than guestimated figures and opinions .. I don’t see any hard facts in anything you wrote, I see what you and Siegler etc class as a PC and I see a brash statement about being the biggest manufacturer in the world and all this based on what, Q4 figures?

    If you are going to class iPads as “PC’s” then why not throw in smartphones aswell, they are essentially the same but smaller and after all, you say it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s about how we interact, then surely you could deem almost anything a “PC”

    • Anonymous

      Interesting argument about smartphones actually. Hadn’t thought of it like that.

  • Dan

    I’m a proud iPad 2 owner, but I definitely would not compare the device to a PC. I doubt anyone could get the same level of productivity on a tablet than they could out of a desktop computer.

    • Anonymous

      Do a Wikipedia search for the term:

      “personal computer software includes, but is not limited to, word processing, spreadsheets, Databases, Email, Web browsing, Digital Media playback, and games.”

      The iPad does all of that.

      I can get more done on my desktop than I can on my small-screened laptop, but that doesn’t mean my laptop isn’t a personal computer.

      • Dan

        Well I guess it’s a matter of opinion and it’s not really worth debating over semantics. In my opinion though, iPad is not a computer, it’s a ‘tablet’ computer. The day offices start to replace their computers networks with iPad’s, I’ll rethink my standing 🙂

  • Anonymous

    iPad != PC