Report: iPads Push Apple to No. 3 PC Maker



The iPad may live up to Apple’s own “magical” pr. If you define the tablet as a PC, than the Cupertino, Calif. company grew 241 percent year-or-year, making it third in global sales, ahead of Dell and just two places behind HP. Wednesday, one analyst firm released numbers of “strong PC industry growth” amounting to 19 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Canalys views the iPad (or ‘pad,’ as the company refers to the tablet) as the second-coming of netbooks. Remember netbooks? They help breath life into otherwise struggling PC sales. “Pads gave the market momentum in 2010, just as netbooks did the year before,” one senior analyst wrote.

Anyone believing the iPad is not a PC “is simply out of sync,” argues Daryl Chiam. “We are encouraging vendors to plan for the future and not to remain stuck in the past,” he urges.

As consumers migrate from laptops to more mobile devices, such as the iPad or iPhone, Chiam sees the Apple tablet following the same path as other PC makers, who used the new netbook category to support flagging desktop sales.

“Apple is benefiting from pads, just as Acer, Samsung and Asus did with notebooks. The PC industry has alsways evolved this way, starting when Toshiba and Compaq rode high on the original notebook wave,” the analyst notes.

If the majority of PC users engage in relatively low-intensity tasks, such as reading email, surfing the Web and updating their social networking status, the iPad seems a perfect stop gap between laptop and phone. Indeed, an increasing number of consumers see the iPad as a fitting second computer. The Canalys report is only mentioning out-loud what others have felt for some time: the iPad should be counted among PCs.

[Fortune, 9to5Mac]