Last Friday, Joe Wilcox raised the thorny question of whether the iPad is really a PC. It is thorny not just in terms of philosophical and taxonomic abstractions, but in terms of counting by major PC market researchers, Gartner and IDC.
According to Apple’s fiscal third calendar-quarter earnings announcement, 3.472 million Macs shipped during calendar Q2. Apple also shipped 3.27 million iPads. If iPad counts as a PC and the numbers are combined, then Apple shipped 6.742 million personal computers during second quarter. That’s high enough to raise Apple to No. 5 in global PC shipments.
Complete US information is not available, but Wilcox’s analysis shows that adding iPads to the PC total could well put Apple in 3rd place behind market leaders HP and Dell and perhaps higher in Q2. As for Q3:
But what about third quarter? Could Apple top Dell or HP? The answer would depend on how iPad is classified. Is it a PC? If, yes, then based on analysts projections for PCs, Macs and iPads, Apple almost certainly could sell more units than HP or Dell in the United States. I’ve seen Wall Street analysts’ iPad shipment estimates range from about 4 million to over 5 million units. Macs: Hovering above 3 million units. Assuming even half the combined Macs and iPads were sold here, Apple would be in striking distance of topping either HP or Dell.
All of this is more important than bragging rights, of course. The real question is what the iPad surge is doing to the bottom line of the Windows PC hardware makers and to Microsoft’s cash cows of Windows and Office. There may be plenty of room for all with the iPad style tablets creating a wholly new market, but how many iPads are purchased in lieu of a PC or an additional PC? I add that last caveat because the iPad currently has a strong functional dependence on another PC running iTunes so I find it hard to imagine an iPad-only user. Still, grabbing the second PC market has got to hit the Windows PC food chain. Once again, I have to observe that this market could have been Microsoft’s – now we get to see what penalty they will pay for missing it.
Wolfgang Gruener has the eulogy for Origami at TG Daily in “The UMPC dies. And no one notices“:
Ok, let’s not be so dramatic. It really depends on your view if the UMPC is actually dead or alive. However, the idea of the Ultra Mobile PC as it was pitched to us in 2006, as an ultra cool and always connected companion that is with us anytime and anywhere, is gone for good. Expect the current UMPC generation to leave the general retail market very soon.
During a recent conversation with Intel, which has been one of the first companies to show UMPC concepts and unveil some prototype devices a little over a year a ago, we learned that the initial concept of the UMPC has failed. While the form factor of the UMPC won’t go away, these devices have been less appealing to the mass market than expected and have been redirected to aim at the business market, for example field technicians who use bulky Tablet PCs today. If Intel has its way, then what once was the mass market UMPC will morph into much smaller and less powerful “mobile Internet devices,” short “MID”.
So, if you have been dreaming about that cool little tablet you can bring on vacation instead of dragging that notebook bag along, continue to dream. While MIDs will be more affordable, come in a smaller package and offer more connectivity options than today’s UMPCs, they will be far less capable in terms of processing power and storage capabilities.
Everyone wanted the product that was misleadingly hyped, but it couldn’t be delivered. There’s much more by following the link including speculation as to whether smartphones actually leave any market room for the the MID.
CNET UK’s Crave blog sums up Bill Gate’s keynote at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show quite nicely:
The Gates soft-shoe shuffle at CES kicks off the gadget show each year with the same forlorn regularity as a Windows blue screen of death. It’s comforting to watch Bill climb up to the stage, but prepare yourselves, people: this can’t go on for ever. Gates began his remarks by saying that next year’s keynote may well be his last.
This year’s keynote didn’t hold many too many surprises. There was the usual self-satisfied purring about what a long way we’ve all come, baby, in what Gates is now calling “the digital decade”. There was also some quite staggeringly unhip video showing what were supposed to be hip and cool consumers using Microsoft products to have connected experiences.
I always get a laugh out of the “digital future” concept demos they put poor Mr Gates through. This year even he was laughing at the schtick where he, the world’s richest man, was reading interactive ads at a bus stop and checking out recipes projected on a kitchen counter after setting a forlorn bag of RFID tagged flour on it.
Also, someone please get Robbie Bach a public speaking coach – he seemed like a deer in the headlights. Of course, it is a trifle embarrassing to warmly endorse parental controls for gaming on Vista and then run a montage of games that mostly involved shooting other people.
The main event was news of a new home server as well as some cutesy Media Center PCs in quirky form factors (round and white anyone?). There was also the intriguing news that Microsoft will allow its Xbox 360 games console to act as a link to its Internet Television service, or IPTV.
And that’s about it in a nutshell. Some more details from the general press release and elsewhere:
Update: Paul Thurrott has more details on the Windows Home Server including that it is based on Windows Server 2003 R2 and that the operating system can be purchased without hardware.
Clarification: Ken Fisher at Ars Technica:
One challenge facing Windows Home Server (WHS for short) is that it is an OEM-only product, meaning that you won’t be able to head out and buy WHS at your local retail joint. And much like Media Center in the early days, we don’t expect specialty shops to carry an OEM version of the software anytime soon. This is disappointing news, because the early-adopter segment isn’t particularly interested in paying top dollar for OEM creations when do-it-yourself delivers a better experience. That said, I discussed this briefly with a Microsoft representative who said that Microsoft is aware that there’s a big enthusiast crowd out there, and a retail release of the OS isn’t out of the question.
It looks like the Orgami (AKA UMPC) form factor portable PC sponsored by Microsoft and Intel is getting a second chance – Ina Fried at CNET:
Get ready for Origami take two. While Microsoft’s minitablet effort may not be quite where the software maker had hoped, the project is ready for another cameo.
This spring, Microsoft attracted huge buzz for the Origami prior to its launch, but as details emerged and the products hit the market, they were roundly criticized as overpriced and underpowered.
Next month, at CES, Microsoft will be back with another round of the tiny computers. The latest tablets, code-named Vistagami because of their Windows Vista support, also will come in a wider range of looks, including some models with keyboards. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is expected to mention some of the new devices in his CES keynote as part of a broader discussion of the new types of computers that will be enabled with Vista, including new all-in-one PCs and other esoteric designs.
But it’s unclear whether the new crop of devices will do that much to address the two biggest criticisms of the category: price and battery life.
More details by following the link, but adding Vista or a keyboard isn’t enough in my opinion. The good news is that so far a viral marketing campaign hasn’t been spotted.