PostHeaderIcon Apple To Surpass HP As Top PC Vendor In 2012? Depends On How You Look At Things

HP’s behavior in 2011 has been, well, erratic , to say the least. The absolute least. The PR missteps by the world’s top PC supplier has opened a crack just wide enough for other to sneak in and steal HP’s title of king of the PC hill. So which competitor has the gumption to take the top spot? Lenovo recently unseated Dell from the number two position, so it appears to hold the prime position for usurpation. Wrong! says one analyst – who expects Apple to become the global PC leader in in 2012.

What? Sure, Mac sales surged in the US this year, but Gartner’s third quarter numbers don’t even have Apple in the top five global PC vendors (who are HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer and Asus, in that order). Something seems fishy here.

You see, Canalys analyst (try saying that three times fast!) Tim Coulling lumped in iPads with normal PCs when he crunched the data and said that Apple was poised to trump HP in 2012. That seems a bit off to us, especially when Apple’s iPad started the whole trumped-up “Post PC” claims. If iPads are post-PC, how can they be counted as PCs? Additionally, there is no word in Canalys’ press release whether or not laptops are included in their tally, or even how Coulling came by his numbers.

Just for fun, let’s look at some third quarter numbers from non-Canalys sources (Apple calls them fourth fiscal quarter numbers, by the way): according to Gartner, HP shipped 16.2 million PCs, far more than the 4.89 million Macs Apple managed to move. In addition, that 16.2 million PCs shipped number for HP is more than all tablets combined managed to ship — only 13.6 million slates shipped in the third quarter, with 11.12 million being iPads, according to Apple. 11.12 million plus 4.89 million equals 16.01 million — only a couple hundred thousand less than HP’s shipped units. So we can understand Coulling’s logic, if you agree that Mac and iPad sales will continue to increase next year and are fine with lumping in tablet sales as PC sales.

What do you think, Maximum PC readers? Should tablets be included when counting total PC sales, or are they an entirely different beast all together, as some industry insiders claim?

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