A funny thing happened in the fourt quarter of 2011. Analyst firm Canalys announced that Apple shipped more PCs than Hewlett-Packard (HP), but that was only true if you were willing to count iPad devices as PCs. And if you were willing do that, the question, then, is where do you draw the line? Are smartphones and superphones PCs as well? What about hybrid eReaders? Judging by the reader comments, the consensus among Maximum PC readers is that tablets are not PCs and shouldn't be counted as such, but regardless of whether or not you agree that statement, HP is once again the world's leading client PC vendor.
Canalys tallied the figures for the first quarter of 2012 and found that HP was able to retake the PC shipment crown from Apple, iPad sales be damned. Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads in the first quarter of 2011, bringing its total client PC tally to 15.8 million. HP, meanwhile, shipped about 40,000 more units than Apple, and did it without the benefit of tablet sales to boost its bottom line.
Lenovo took third place (second if you discount iPad shipments) with a staggering 50 percent year-on-year growth rate, followed by Acer and Dell rounding out the top five places, though the latter two saw a decline in shipments compared to one year ago.
Not surprisingly, iPad growth was the highest of all 'PCs' (up 200 percent) followed by notebooks (up 11 percent) and desktops (up 8 percent). The odd man out is Mr. Netbook with a 34 percent year-on-year decline in shipments.
"Most of the leading PC vendors have done a reasonable job of offsetting the declines in their netbook shipments over the past year with increased pad business," said Canalys Research Analyst Tom Evans. "Samsung and Lenovo are two that stand out in terms of substantially increasing overall volume, though Asus has performed well too. The challenge is breaking out into the really big volumes to challenge the leaders – Apple and Amazon. So far, only Samsung has shown it can routinely ship more than a million pads a quarter."
Looking ahead, is it time to start counting iPads and other tablets as PCs, or is there too big of a divide to lump them into the same category?