MacBook Air (teaser 001)

When is a tablet a PC? When it’s running Windows 8. Conversely, when is a tablet not a PC? When it bears the Apple logo. In a second quarter littered with negative sales figures, it took some fancy footwork to lump Apple Mac shipments in with an industry decline that’s lasted five quarters.

In its estimates of PCs shipped during the last quarter, Gartner earlier this week announced PC shipments on average fell 10.9 percent. Even Apple – which has consistently beaten PC numbers – fell 4.3 percent. However, in a curious note, the firm explained the figures included desktops, mobile PCs and mini-notebooks – but not iPads. What gives?…

Because the desktop and mini-notebook markets are being obliterated by tablets, that’s why – and according to Gartner’s own June 2013 tablet shipment estimates.

Gartner’s July 2013 PC shipment estimates, released earlier in the week, help complete the picture. According to data, falling demand for PCs in the United States was led by a 15.7 percent drop by Toshiba, with Hewlett-Packard not even able to tread water.


Here, this is how Gartner explained the situation:

We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs, as inexpensive tablets displace the low-end machines used primarily for consumption in mature and developed markets.

As for mini notebooks, that market is collapsing, the firm added.

Quick, which company sells the No. 1 and No. 2 best-selling tablets (hint: not Microsoft)

Because Apple uses the iOS software to power its iPads and OS X for its Macs, discounting iPad shipments has removed a large portion of Apple’s units shipped.

Mac sales vs shipments (20130712, Fortune 001)
Chart via Fortune.

And as Gartner considers Windows 8 a desktop operating system, it has added the tiny sales of Windows 8 slates to all Windows 8 desktop and notebook PCs.

While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance.

In other words, the drop in demand for PCs isn’t Microsoft’s fault.

Never mind that tablets are eating the PC industry’s lunch – and we’re not even mentioning sales of the top-selling tablet.

iTunes 11 (three up, MacBook, iPhone, iPad)

It never ends amazing me how numbers can be twisted to support a premise.

Want PC numbers inflated?

Count tablets.

Is the decline of PCs obviously due to tablets – but there must be another cause?

Don’t count the most popular tablets.

We are in the death throes of a PC era upon which many have become dependent – and some adherents just don’t know how to go gently into the night.

  • TesticularFortitude


    That’s insane.

  • Boss

    If Apple made a iMac / MacBook worth about $600 I could see them passing Windows cause Windows 8 is garbage

    • Saeed Ghattas

      You won’t find any quality product made of quality materials, runs smoothly and keep it that way for a long time, designed, and stable with a 600$ price. You would buy 3-4 windows running pc’s in 6 years so you can be satisfied with “smoothing”. Why not buy an apple product to last from the firsplace?

      • GuyBey0ndC00L

        I bought my first MacBook Pro last year around Christmas time. It’s was a gift to myself. Before that I did go through 5 PC’s in 6 years. Two were desktops and all I did was Media things nothing crazy. Never had a virus the computers just stop working all hardware issues. Except one but it got old, so naturally you upgrade. Last Window 8 work best once you delete all the stupid apps. And only run desktop mode. It’s was time for a change. Apple prices scared the hell out of me at first. I bought and everything works like magic. So smooth and easy, if you a master around PCs. Macs will be child’s play in your hands. If your don’t know much or anything about computers Macs will make in easy for you to learn. Buy one its that simple.

    • Liam Mulcahy


      • Saeed Ghattas

        Just go mac and see the difference. You won’t regret it.

      • Already did, and it’s such a restrictive environment in comparison to Windows Se7en. However, you and 7% of the computer market clearly don’t care about that, as it suits your needs.

        Unfortunately, Windows 8 is going the same restrictive root and it’s just making me miss Windows Se7en on my old laptop. However, I’m stuck using it cause I haven’t managed to find reliable Windows Se7en drivers for my Surface Pro.

    • maverickmax

      yup..definitely garbage..

    • pi3g

      I agree about the Windows 8 bit.

  • Dan

    I love my tablet, but it will never replace a PC/Mac (gaming/productivity) imo.

    • TesticularFortitude

      It’s not meant to.

      • Guest

        But that’s what is implied by what fanboy writer Ed typed:

        “Because the desktop and mini-notebook markets are being obliterated by tablets”

  • Yunsar

    I wouldn’t want a tablet as my primary computer, whatever you do, you can’t get the great performance and battery that I want. I’ve got an Alienware m17x so I know what I am talking about.

    • No Alienware battery-powered product beat the iPad’s battery.

      • Yunsar

        True that! But the iPad is more of a giant iPhone than a mini laptop. Apple should start making a new line of iPads. I think there was a rumour that Apple is making an iPad Maxi. If they do make this, they should install OSX on it, not iOS

      • CC-Dog

        Have you tried remote controlling a Mac on an iPad? Yes, that’s the kind of experience we can only see on Windows Mobile. iOS and OS X only differ on Cocoa level which is the interface. Why bother use something designed for mouse and keyboard on touch screen? It’s not like that Win8 is a hit.

      • Windows 8 isn’t a big hit, but it could have been if Microsoft stuck with the wise team that developed Windows 7; the team that listens to customers. If Windows 8 were more like in it’s 1st dev preview (where all the tablet stuff and fugly crayon/metro/lego pile UI was optional and the Start Menu still existed), I and several other WIndows users would gladly accept it like we did with Windows 7, and I won’t be complaining about it on my Surface Pro.

        The Surface Pro (a PC+ device) is the Post PC device Steve Jobs thought the iPad (a sub-part-of-a-PC device) would be. The OS just needs a bit more tweaking here and there, and from the looks of the Windows 8.1 preview, it doesn’t look like the Windows 8.X generation is going to be the sufficient-tweaking required to make it a big hit…

      • JT

        No. But it beats the ipad in everything else

      • CC-Dog

        It doesn’t beat iPad on many things. Would you rather fire up a giant power sucker only to read iDB? Would you configure so many complicated settings to get your email? Besides, you won’t take Alienware on your bed to watch a movie.

      • JT

        I dont watch movies on my ipad at all. I use media streamers for that and look on my tv

      • Nope, but I’ll do all of that and a lot more on my Surface Pro…