Apple may have won the PC war – by losing the Windows battle

“What exactly is a PC? That question is likely to become a hot topic over the next few years,” MG Siegler writes for TechCrunch.

“People are now carrying around computers in their pockets, called smartphones. But those aren’t considered PCs. Instead, they’re considered descendants of the original mobile phones. The truth is that they’re closer in just about every way to a personal computer — in fact, they may be the most personal computers ever,” Siegler writes. “And now this line is being further blurred by the rise of the tablet… Again, if anything, these machines seem more personal than the personal computers of yesteryear.”

Siegler writes, “That’s why I agree with British research firm Canalys’ decision to include tablet sales alongside PC sales in their new report. That’s going to piss some people off because the combination has them projecting that Apple will become the top PC vendor by the middle of next year. If their data is right, Apple will unseat HP to take the crown.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The once and future ling, Apple assumes its rightful throne.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. A PC is either a desktop or laptop computer. A tablet is a portable compact computer. A smartphone is a smartphone (very compact). Even though a laptop is portable, I believe it should be lumped in with the PC crowd. This isn’t rocket science.

    1. The term “Personal Computer” was born when “computer” referred to a massive system installed in a climate-controlled data centre. It meant a programmable computing device that is designed to be used by only one person (rather than shared, via terminals, by many). As such, those initial “Personal Computers” (beginning with Altair, through Apple and Apple II, including ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad, BBC Micro and similar) are significantly less capable than pretty much every single computing device of today, including iPod Nano.

      From the aspect of the original meaning of the “PC”, today’s smartphones, tablets, iPod touch, the (now defunct) Palm pilots are all much, much better PCs than pretty much every machine of the late 70s and early 80s.

      Of course, the meaning has evolved since, and with the appearance of portable “PC”s, notebooks, sub-notebooks, netbooks and tablets, the category has been re-defined to exclusively mean computers running traditional desktop operating system (which today means servers, desktop computers, notebooks, sub-notebooks, netbooks and some tablets). The arguments are extremely powerful to include tablet computer running non-traditional OSes into this category.

  2. “What exactly is a PC? That question is likely to become a hot topic over the next few years,”

    Display Keyboard and Mouse. That’s what the traditional PC looks like. Post-PC devices use non-standard displays and interfaces, and are typically mobile devices (not needing to be used sitting at a desk, etc).

    The bottom line is, alot of Windows guys are freaked out at the Post-PC ‘name’, but not actually opposed to its implications. They just dont’ like the name.

    No one actually thinks that a Windows Mobile phone is a PC. That’s a post-PC device. That’s because it doesn’t rely as much on the PC (like, say, the original iPod did), but instead, has it’s own powerful processor, and interacts wtih cloud servers.

  3. With the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984 Apple clearly showed their direction and it was away from the very notion of the PC. Hence the media created PC v. Mac faux battle. The media at least realized that the Mac was not a PC. Jobs always wanted to commercialize and make computer technology completely ubiquitous and utilitarian. Once booted our of Apple this vision floundered for over 10 years. Thankfully, in the last 14 years it has been realized.
    Apple didn’t lose the PC war, they weren’t fighting that war. Nor are they now winning the PC war. As Jobs said, we are in the post PC world. Not post computer. Not post personal computer. But post PC. This is an important distinction and not merely semantics. The term PC conjures up certain expectations that while quite robust are still quite limiting. It is time to move on. Thank goodness for smart phones and tablets. They are the future of personal computers.

  4. Tablets ARE computers and should be considered PC’s (for Personal or Portable Computers). When you think about what tablets can do now that the old PC’s could NOT do (well anyway) for the first 15 years of their existence maybe we should reclassify early PC’s as PCIT’s (personal computers in training) instead. Even the iPhone is capable of so much more than early PC’s.

    Any way you look at it Apple is set to become again the new King of the Tech Hill. Microsoft will be an also-ran and a niche enterprise player as they lose favor in most consumer space, and a losing proposition to PC manufacturers in the race to non-profits. I always considered MS as anti-consumer since they certainly never think in those terms unless someone like Steve Jobs holds a gun to their heads and makes it obvious the MS Emperor has no clothes.

    1. and how many point of sale systems… and billboard and messaging systems and low end PLC (process line control) systems. The list of what they call a PC is, is what runs (or will run) windows (in any form)
      Hence the number they report is really highly distorted (and not including iPads further distorts those “PC” market-share numbers.)

  5. From the Jobs Bio some time in 1983 when Jobs is asked a question by Maya Lin who was responsible for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial:

    ‘Why do computers look like clunky TV sets? Why don’t you make something thin? Why not a flat laptop?’ Jobs replied that this was indeed his goal, as soon as the technology was ready.

    Not 1990.
    Not 2000.
    Not 2007.
    This was 1983.

    He didn’t see it as the stuff of Sci-Fi. This was something he saw as achievable in certainly his own lifetime and not in some hazy distant future.

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