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Apple to become PC leader, report says -- if iPad counts as a PC

PC and Mac

Apple may want to change its mind on the whole "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" question.

If the company decides to apply the stuffy "PC" label to its own computing devices, it may soon find that it is the world's largest personal computer vendor.

It takes a little semantic contortion, but if you call the iPad tablet -- or any tablet -- a personal computer, Apple is on track to sell more PCs than computing giants like Hewlett Packard Co. and Dell by the middle of next year, research firm Canalys said this week.

"Pads, and particularly the iPad, have radically changed the dynamics of the PC industry over the last year, already propelling Apple into second place in the worldwide PC market" as of the most recent quarter, wrote Canalys analyst Tim Coulling.

Apple now has about 15% of the global PC-plus-tablet market, Coulling said.  That puts it a close second behind PC-leader HP.  HP had an 18% share of the global PC market as of July, according to a report from research firm IDC.  (IDC's report does not include tablets in the PC mix; if it did, HP's share would be lower.)

Apple may not catch HP in the holiday quarter because of competition from newer, low-cost tablets from Amazon and Barnes and Noble that may eat into Apple's tablet sales. The iPad 2 is no longer new -- and some consumers may be shopping for the latest devices for the holidays.

But that will change, Canalys says, when the iPad 3 comes out -- an event they guess will happen before the second half of 2012.

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Apple posts a disappointing $6.6-billion profit

Apple's worldwide share of PC market reaches 15-year high

A future without Steve Jobs: What's next for Apple, the tech industry?

-- David Sarno

Photo: John Hodgman, left, and Justin Long in one of their popular television commercials for Apple in 2006.  Credit: Apple Inc.

 
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