Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:00 UTC
In the News An interesting discussion is currently raging through the world of computing, or more accurately, through the world of bloggers and analysts. It basically comes down to this: should the iPad be included in laptop and desktop sales figures? If it is included - Apple becomes the largest PC manufacturer in the United States. But, if the iPad should be included - why not the modern smartphone?
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Because
by Soulbender on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:19 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

A smart phone is a phone and an iPad isn't?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Because
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:32 UTC in reply to "Because"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

A smart phone is a phone and an iPad isn't?

So, you're saying that any computer with a modem is a phone?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Because
by Adurbe on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Because"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

I would argue a device is based on its primary purpose/use.

A laptop/desktop is a 'p.c.'
A server is a 'server'
An xbox is a games console

Now, all of these can in fact have Exactly the same hardware. So on what basis do we distinguish? We distinguish them on how you USE that hardware/software combination.

An iPhone is a phone first. Everything else is extra to this fact.
iPod touch a music player
An iPad is a PC as its sole purpose is to run apps.

All three run the same OS (more or less) but they are not all used for the same thing.

Reply Score: 9

RE[3]: Because
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

An iPhone is a phone first. Everything else is extra to this fact.

Well, how about for example Nokia N900? It's a computer first, and phone functionality is just extra. Does it then qualify as a PC?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Because
by Adurbe on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Because"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

By my own logic, Yes ;)

by their own marketing its aim is to be tiny laptop

"Maemo is available on the Nokia N900 - a high-performance mobile computer with a powerful processor, large internal storage, and sharp touch-screen display."

Indeed the fact it can make calls is a 'small' feature on their site

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Because
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Because"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

I think I would categorize it as a poorly designed phone :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Because
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Its much more difficult to additionally survey people and ask them how they use their devices before coming up with market share reports, rather than just combining shipped product reports from the manufacturers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Because
by No it isnt on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

An iPod Touch is just an iPhone with no phone, and the iPad is a super-sized iPod (sometimes with phone functionality put back in). Apple fans tend to shout "it's an appliance!!!" every time someone points out that the platform is locked down and closed, and they are right. It is, however, marketed as a computer.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Because
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

The phone interface in any smart phone (iPhone included) is just an application. A smart phone's role is to run applications.

Just because it has a cellular radio in it and a voice application to interface with it doesn't mean it's any less a personal computer than an iPad. The android devices are even more general computing devices than the iPhone as it can run just about anything...

I would say the iPad is as much of a pc as any other smart phone.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Because
by cb88 on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

I don't know if you can call the iPad a PC because it isn't really customizable without hacking it. It is an Apple computer not an Apple Personal Computer that would entail a high level of personalizability. The IBM PC for instance you could write your own OS if you wanted and nobody would stop you.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Because
by thavith_osn on Tue 19th Oct 2010 00:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
thavith_osn Member since:
2005-07-11

I primarily use my iPhone for development and games. I rarely make phone calls on it, so for me, the primary use is development.

I am sure there are owners of the XBox that use it for other tasks too. We really have no way of knowing for sure what these devices are being used for. A lot of PS3's where bought just to get the Blu-ray for instance.

Most of my friends use their iPhones primarily to play "Angry Birds" - LOL or SMS'ing. So the iPhone does have phone functionality just as it has hardware to play games, find locations, check recipes and so forth.

A lot of people will struggle to go back to a traditional mobile phone as these extra functions seem mandatory now. Remember when everyone made the fuss that the iPhone didn't have cut & paste, hmmmm, seems to be more than a phone doesn't it.

I used to carry a phone and an iPod around with me, but no more. So is my iPhone an iPod or a phone?

I guess what it comes down to in the end is "who cares".

If people want to get their jollies because Apple is in 1st or last, then all the best too them. I am sure people like Jobs and Balmer just want to make $$$, being 1st or 2nd or whatever in really neither here nor there, just as long as they are selling enough that people will develop for their platform, which seems to be the case right now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Because
by phoenix on Tue 19th Oct 2010 05:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Because"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

An iPad is nothing more than a large iPod Touch with more emphasis on media. It runs the same OS, has the same apps, has pretty much the same hardware.

If you don't consider an iPod Touch to be a computer, then you really can't call an iPad a computer either.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Because
by cb88 on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Because"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

Google. voice and skype say yes they are...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Because
by Soulbender on Tue 19th Oct 2010 03:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Because"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Uh, no? i'm saying that the iPad is not a phone.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Because
by Narishma on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:34 UTC in reply to "Because"
Narishma Member since:
2005-07-06

The iPod isn't a phone, so we should include it then? Besides, you can use an iPad (or a desktop or laptop while we're at it) to make phone calls.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Because
by Noctem on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Because"
Noctem Member since:
2010-06-08

But I can use a headset with a mic and Skype to make calls with my iPod Touch...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Because
by MattPie on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Because"
MattPie Member since:
2006-04-18

And, if a future iPad has voice calling (in the traditional mobile sense, not VOIP) does it suddenly become not a PC?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Because
by kaiwai on Tue 19th Oct 2010 03:11 UTC in reply to "Because"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

A smart phone is a phone and an iPad isn't?


Then what is the difference between an iPad 3G and a Smart Phone? both of them have a connection to a mobile phone network with the only thing missing is the voice functionality.

If one is going to split off the iPad into its own category then you should do like wise when it comes to netbooks as well. Personally I think the whole segmentation attempts by some is stupid - you'd be better off looking at the demographics of the customers as a basis of whether investment into a particular area in the form of software, hardware or accessories will pay off in the long run. If 35million netbooks are sold but half of them are pirating cheap skates who have no interest in actually spending money on stuff other than a netbook then it gives a distorted image of how many potential customers are versus the total sales. Hence these statistics are meaningless when one considers how they're applied when making decisions.

Reply Score: 2

v Not so sure about Nokia
by tuzor on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:43 UTC
RE: Not so sure about Nokia
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:45 UTC in reply to "Not so sure about Nokia"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Therefore no, Nokia isn't the largest computer manufacturer in the world and it will never be cause Meego is a pile of crap.


Nokia is currently the number one smartphone company in sales by a wide margin. As such, including smartphones into the computer category would make them one of the largest computer companies in the world.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Not so sure about Nokia
by tuzor on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Not so sure about Nokia"
tuzor Member since:
2007-08-07

"Therefore no, Nokia isn't the largest computer manufacturer in the world and it will never be cause Meego is a pile of crap.


Nokia is currently the number one smartphone company in sales by a wide margin. As such, including smartphones into the computer category would make them one of the largest computer companies in the world.
"

That's what I was trying to say.
Yes Nokia is the largest smartphone manufacturer (for now at least), but most of those devices have nothing up against the likes of iOS 4 and Android 2.2. Most of these devices are running the Series 60 OS (Symbian 1, call it what you want), which is basically a joke.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Not so sure about Nokia
by Carewolf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not so sure about Nokia"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Try to explain that using rational arguments instead of opion. What is the difference, besides that you don't like one of them?

Trying to separate converging markets is increasingly difficult, but onesided arguments from fanboys are not making it any easier.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not so sure about Nokia
by Quake on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:48 UTC in reply to "Not so sure about Nokia"
Quake Member since:
2005-10-14

it will never be cause Meego is a pile of crap.

Wow... good answer!... but seriously, tell us WHY meego is a piece of crap because according to the industry, it isn't.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not so sure about Nokia
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Not so sure about Nokia"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Meego hasn't been around long enough to have any true history...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not so sure about Nokia
by Darai on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:58 UTC in reply to "Not so sure about Nokia"
Darai Member since:
2009-09-09

To an extent I do agree, however seeing that Nokia does control most of the smartphone marketshare, I wouldn't find it hard to believe. But then, going that route, I'd have to say Microsoft and Sony would be a contender as well, consoles can almost do what PCs can do too.

To me, a smartphone is a smartphone. A PC is a PC. PCs can do anything, without requiring any connection to another PC. Most smartphones sync to your PC for music and other media. I don't really think an iPad is a PC in this regard, as I wouldn't be able to do everything as I want to as I would a traditional computer. Point in case: upgrading firmware requires you to plug into the PC.

Given smartphones are getting more and more like PCs, giving you nearly unlimited possibilities to do what you want with it. However they're just not quite there yet. I don't think I could post a super-lengthy post on a smartphone keyboard, and I'm not brave enough to try. ;)

Reply Score: 1

I have an iPad, and it's not a PC
by jack_perry on Mon 18th Oct 2010 16:46 UTC
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have an iPad, and I like it very much. But I'd say that it isn't a PC as distributed, because Apple has crippled it. If I had the freedom to write computer programs on it, to compile them on it, to port OSS like latex and lyx to the iPad, all without going through the hassle of jailbreaking it, then sure, it would be a PC.

Since I don't, it isn't.

Reply Score: 8

Quake Member since:
2005-10-14

The problem is (my opinion), the average user won't agree with that analogy. If they can use the computer as they see fit (e-mail, word processing, youtube, facebook...) it's a pc to them.

Reply Score: 1

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

A PC that depends on iTunes loaded on another computer for basic functionality? Surely a PC works far better as a standalone system than an iPad.

Reply Score: 2

Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

The average joe doesn't know the difference between an ape and monkey either. This is why we have experts.

Reply Score: 2

thavith_osn Member since:
2005-07-11

Interesting point, but and ape and monkey are different at the moment due to the way "experts" classify them. If they classified them using different metrics, then they both might be apes, monkeys or something else. If I classify based on eyes for instance, then humans and the octopus might be more closely related, based on skin, the humans and pigs and so on...

Smartphones are PCs, they just don't look like what we traditionally think of as a PC. They have a CPU and are capable of so much more than what a lot of PC's of the past could handle. No one would argue that the original IBM PC is a PC, yet most smartphones would be able to emulate one of those.

I don't usually agree with Thorn, but in this case I think he's right.

Apple saw the world moving to mobile devices and moved with it. Other companies haven't been as quick. In 30 years time people will look at our classification of a PC and laugh, just as we laugh at the Apple ]['s and C64's of the past (I can't believe it's 30 years since I first used an Apple ][) - wow.

Here is an interesting point.
Some have suggest the iPad isn't a PC because they don't have the ability to write code for it.
I have the ability to write code and run it on an iPad as I have paid the $99 per year to be part of Apple dev. Actually, the tools are "free", just the keys I need cost the $99. I don't even need to submit the applications I write, I just need to update the provisioning keys once every 2 months or so.

If I need to write some code for the Windows platform, and the only way for me and my team to do this is to "buy" Visual Studio or some such as the "free" alternatives aren't up to the job, does that then exclude the Windows platform as a PC (for me) as I must pay to code for it? Many of the development tools we use aren't free.

Reply Score: 2

woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

Technically, Humans are a subtype of ape, and apes are a subtype of monkeys.

Therefore, apes are apes AND monkeys.

Reply Score: 1

ndeplume10 Member since:
2010-10-18

You don't need to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to write your own code and install it on your own device. You can do that with Xcode and the iOS SDK.

You just can't distribute the code you write to other device owners.

But, to say you can't write your own code for your own device is mistaken.

Reply Score: 1

organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

He said he wanted to write his own code on the iPad itself. I imagine he doesn't want to be bothered with writing code and constantly transferring the binaries just to test it out. Sure, dev kits usually come with emulators, but you need to perform real-world tests on the device itself since emulators don't provide the same experience as using the actual device.

Reply Score: 1

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

He said he wanted to write his own code on the iPad itself. I imagine he doesn't want to be bothered with writing code and constantly transferring the binaries just to test it out. Sure, dev kits usually come with emulators, but you need to perform real-world tests on the device itself since emulators don't provide the same experience as using the actual device.


You switch your build target to the device (plugged in through usb) hit build and run it on the device... It is very, very simple - you don't even need to bother with the emulator if you don't want to (I generally don't). Hell if you jailbreak it you don't even need to have a developer certificate...

Reply Score: 2

It's a fine line...
by macUser on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:17 UTC
macUser
Member since:
2006-12-15

...that's for sure.

For a smart phone, the primary purpose is to be a phone. It's a silly answer because we all know that they're little computers mimicking phones.

Perhaps it's form factor? I think in the long run iPad like devices (including the upcoming andriod/chrome os slates) should be considered "PCs". The iPhone is intended to be a phone. The iPod a intended to be a music player. Sure they have more capability than that, but that is their designed intent. The iPad's designed intent is much broader which in my opinion brings it closer to being a "PC."

Reply Score: 2

Its simple
by Simon S. Law on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:31 UTC
Simon S. Law
Member since:
2006-10-19

When you buy a smartphone your buying it to be a phone thats why you sign a phone plan. All the extra stuff is gravy. If my iphone stopped making calls i would sell it and get something that does.
An Ipad could become a PC but because of how apple has restricted it i would say it isn't. Apple designed it for content viewing period. A PC is for content viewing and "creation". The Ipad just got the builtin ability to print. You telling me something that couldn't even print was a PC. An ipad isn't a phone even if you can make calls on it who the hell would care an ipad around to make calls from it all day. You have to look at the form factor. An ipad has the hardware to be come a PC but not the software not yet anyway.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Its simple
by Sabon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:42 UTC in reply to "Its simple"
Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

I understand what you are trying to say but you obviously don't own an iPad or you would realize that you CAN create things on them. The main limitation right now isn't Apple but companies/programmers that haven't thought outside the box.

Note: I do create documents and spreadsheets on mine. MOST people do NOT created complicated documents or spreadsheets. Most of the ones that are created use maybe 2% of the power of those programs. So ... an iPad can create the same time of documents/spreadsheets as most people create.

You can also create quite a few other things with iPads. Yes you can and I do consume information/videos/etc, but honestly no more than I do on my home computer.

I do use my iPad VERY differently than my iPhone. They are two completely different devices for me. For me my iPad might be a "low end" computer but it is all I need 90% of the time. So for me, it is a computer and not a big iPhone or iPod Touch.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Its simple
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Its simple"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So ... an iPad can create the same time of documents/spreadsheets as most people create.


Argument fail. Yes, most people use only 10% of complicated software's functionality - but it's always a different 10%. On top of that, have fun exchanging documents with an iPad.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Its simple
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Its simple"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

As an aside:

They really need to make a sequel to zoolander with them breaking open an iPad to find the files.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:39 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Yes, a PC that you have to buy another PC to plug it into in order to use it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Jailbreak.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

What, before the iPad has been activated, and without plugging it into another PC? The iPad cannot be used out of the box until plugged into iTunes. You can’t jailbreak it in this mode either without plugging it into a PC. Ergo, the iPad is a PC that requires another PC; jailbreak or not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Any apple store will be more than happy to activate it for you.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by ephracis on Tue 19th Oct 2010 01:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

Will the Apple Store do this without plugging the iPad into a PC?

Reply Score: 1

pc are all
by jayvazz on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:49 UTC
jayvazz
Member since:
2010-10-18

my opinion all electronic devices that can communicate online receive email do spreads sheets blue tooth capable
built in wi-fi processors and memory built on are all someform of pc if its 3.5 inches or 10-12 inches with touchscreens it's a pc ,not as powerul as larger ones
but same.... intergrated cameras phone wi-fi blutooth hdmi connectors usb and so on .....

Reply Score: 1

iPad vs iPhone
by blktiger on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:50 UTC
blktiger
Member since:
2010-10-18

Personally, I'd like to see the wifi-only iPad and iPod touch numbers added in. Increasingly the only difference between a smartphone and a pc is whether they have been subsidized by carriers or not.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by eml.nu
by eml.nu on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:54 UTC
eml.nu
Member since:
2006-07-04

I think what you said about smart phones being used at the go and iPads/tabs being used at the destination is where I'd draw the line. Not that I'm sure if I'd like to compare a 17" laptop to a 7" galaxy tab, just as I don't compare a 11" netbook to a 17" laptop either.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by eml.nu
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:19 UTC in reply to "Comment by eml.nu"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

That's an interesting distinction considering laptops of years past had pretty small screens by todays standards but were less powerful than the netbooks of today. Time certainly can be a perspective killer. :p

As was said earlier, the distinction should not be based off of attributes of any given feature (screen size, keyboard key count, touch screen, hard drive size, etc.). Considering nearly every phone these days has an operating system, I'd say that would be enough to call it a PC (personal computer). Hell, even your average graphing calculator these days should be called a PC.

So in my mind, if it runs an operating system that allows it to execute various programs/functions and is not completely locked down from outside influence, then it is a personal computer.

I realize this definition is broad enough to include things like routers, firewalls, even some switches, and the old 1541 floppy drive from Commodore, but it is the only definition that makes sense in my mind that doesn't include artificial limitations.

Reply Score: 1

Special vs General
by telns on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:54 UTC
telns
Member since:
2009-06-18

I'd break it down as special purpose vs general purpose.

iPads, smartphones, Android tablets, many game consoles, etc. are all special purpose computers.

An iMac or a PC are general purpose computers.

Tablets are less specialized than they were, but I don't think anyone would seriously consider getting an iPad for all of their computing needs, unless they had only very specific needs (ie, not general).

A general purpose computer, in addition to web browsing, ought to be capable of all the other "general" computing tasks like word processing, publishing/layout, spreadsheets, database management, financial management, photo, sound, and video editing, programming, playing games, etc. and it should be able to do them all acceptably well [for its time period].

Obviously, the user doesn't have to do every one of those things, but the hardware and OS should be capable of doing them decently. The short version is to be a PC, it needs to be a jack of all trades, not a specialized tool.

*EDIT*

I thought of a useful metric. Not perfect, but handy. If it comes with a text editor and can print, odds are it is a PC. If there is no text editor--or the closest thing is a "notes app"--and you can't print, it isn't a PC.

Edited 2010-10-18 18:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Special vs General
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:03 UTC in reply to "Special vs General"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

A general purpose computer, in addition to web browsing, ought to be capable of all the other "general" computing tasks like word processing, spreadsheets, database management, financial management, photo, sound, and video editing, programming, playing games, etc. and it should be able to do them all acceptably well [for its time period].

Obviously, the user doesn't have to do every one of those things, but the hardware and OS should be capable of doing them decently.


So, if there is no OS or the OS is not capable of these things/doesn't allow them then it's not a PC? Thus, a desktop computer without an OS installed is in fact not a PC until there is an OS on it? My my, that's a rather arbitrary definition and doesn't quite work well.

The fact is, OS can be removed and/or changed in most cases, including smartphones. By your definition they'd be PCs once the OS can handle it, and a desktop computer wouldn't be a PC if there was no OS yet on it.

Also, the performance of the computer in question either doesn't define what is a PC and what isn't: even an old i386 is still a PC even though it's inadequate by today's standards. Just as is a modern low-end desktop computer; even if it didn't play all the latest games and CAD applications it's still a PC.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Special vs General
by telns on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Special vs General"
telns Member since:
2009-06-18

I very specifically mentioned "for its time period."

The 386 time period was quite a while ago. Can you imagine anyone selling a new i386-based device now for anything other than highly specialized tasks? I didn't say 386s aren't PCs. When they were sold, they fit the bill for all the general computing I mentioned.

The OS is an important part of what makes a computer general purpose or special purpose. I had in mind a Mackie processor a friend uses. It is absolutely standard, commercial off-the-shelf PC hardware on the inside, but the OS it runs is D8B. By your definition it is a PC, by mine it is a special purpose tool.

My argument is that PCs are general purpose tools, and to be that they have to run general purpose OSs. Stick on a highly specific specialized OS (ala D8B), and it may cease to be what I would label a personal computer.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Special vs General
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Special vs General"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

My argument is that PCs are general purpose tools, and to be that they have to run general purpose OSs.

That's what I was saying: by your definition unless it runs an OS capable of all the most common general usage tasks then it's not a PC. And on the other hand, when it does run such an OS it is a PC, by your very argument.

That just places yet another dilemma in front of you: that would mean my Nokia N900 is indeed a PC as it runs Linux, with all the capabilities of any other Linux distro. And for example a PlayStation3 was a PC every time it was running Linux as OtherOS. And there's plenty and plenty of other examples around.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Special vs General
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Special vs General"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

Which is why I'm suggesting a much simpler definition: If it has an operating system, runs programs, and is in some way programmable, it is a "personal computer". There are obviously other varieties of computers that do not fit this description, but then I wouldn't preface their name with "personal".

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Special vs General
by telns on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Special vs General"
telns Member since:
2009-06-18

My Pre runs webOS (ie, Linux), but it is far from a general purpose OS or computer. My friend's N900 is the same. webOS and Maemo have about as little resemblance to RHEL or Ubuntu as WM does to Windows.

Let's compare the Pre to my PC. Hmm, word processing... no, desktop publishing... no, spreadsheets... no, programming... no, database... no, programming... no, photo editing... no, video editing... no, printing... no, games... sort of

I set out a standard that it should be able to do all of those things, "[A]cceptably well for its time period." That wouldn't mean "acceptably well" when compared to other phones. To be a PC that would have to be "acceptably well" versus other PCs. Are you really saying your N900 does all of that as well as a PC?

The Pre, as nice as it is, does nothing at a level that would be considered, "[A]cceptably well for its time period," when compared to other "PCs" as you are pretending I defined them.

It by no means fits the description I gave of a general purpose computer. HP obviously agreed; they didn't buy Palm to get "Linux", broadly writ as you do. They wanted Palm's specially crafted, special purpose Linux.

If a Pre can ever do all those things as well as a normal PC, I'd agree that the line has been blurred so much as to be indistinct, but we are a long way off, not least of which getting me to use a 3.7" screen and a 2.5" keyboard all day long.

I can imagine a day where our phones are our PCs though, with little docking stations. Someday, maybe, but not yet.

On one thing you are right, at least, that I do not think my friend's rackmount Mackie running D8B is a PC, even though it has PC hardware inside.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Special vs General
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Special vs General"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Let's compare the Pre to my PC. Hmm, word processing... no, desktop publishing... no, spreadsheets... no, programming... no, database... no, programming... no, photo editing... no, video editing... no, printing... no, games... sort of

Let's compare Maemo to your PC. Hmm, word processing... yes, desktop publishing... yes, spreadsheets... yes, programming... yes, database... yes, programming... yes, photo editing... yes, video editing... yes, printing... yes, games... yes

To be a PC that would have to be "acceptably well" versus other PCs. Are you really saying your N900 does all of that as well as a PC?

I indeed do. It's about as powerful as any regular low-end laptop except for graphics hardware. It can be plugged into external display and input devices, too, so even that isn't a limiting factor.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Special vs General
by leech on Tue 19th Oct 2010 03:19 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Special vs General"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

My Pre runs webOS (ie, Linux), but it is far from a general purpose OS or computer. My friend's N900 is the same. webOS and Maemo have about as little resemblance to RHEL or Ubuntu as WM does to Windows.


Wow, apparently your friend doesn't know his N900 very well.

I can actually go to packages.debian.org and select almost any armel package and install it on my N900. Granted the screen size makes it annoying to use some applications and some of the larger unoptimized ones may run a bit on the slow side, but it would run any program just as well as a computer that is running with 256MB of ram.

To say that the N900 is a smart phone and not just a mini-PC that can make phone calls is really showing that someone hasn't used one.

By the way, I love my N900. I also love Debian, on which Maemo is based. And yes, even OpenOffice.org runs on it (although slowly).

Reply Score: 2

New Categories Required
by Pro-Competition on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:58 UTC
Pro-Competition
Member since:
2007-08-20

Every once in a while, when technology advances converge to allow new classes of devices to be created, the whole category structure needs to be rethought.

It happened when microprocessors made home/personal computers possible. It happened when low-power components and LCDs made laptops possible. It's happening again.

(It also happened many times in history before computers were even thought of - gunpowder, steel-hulled ships and submarines, to name a few.)

Reply Score: 2

Am I missing something?
by M.Onty on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:05 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

Surely the definition of the PC is that it is an evolution of the original IBM PC in hardware and in purpose, even if that is now only a distant ancestor. Smartphones' ancestors are Palmtops and Nokia 3210s and the smartphones' capacities are an evolution of that original functionality. Also, my reaction is that the iPad is not a PC because it doesn't meet the above criteria.

There seems to be a blurring between the terms 'PC' and 'computer'. I consider that an important distinction---smartphones and iPads are all computers, not PCs. Expanding a perfectly good category (PC) to encompass all computers capable of arranging your e-mail and taking up less space than a shed just renders the category useless.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Am I missing something?
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:24 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Smartphones' ancestors are Palmtops and Nokia 3210s and the smartphones' capacities are an evolution of that original functionality.

Dumb phones' ancestors perhaps, but a smartphone is the convergence point of a dumb phone and a PC; it has ancestors in both.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Am I missing something?
by M.Onty on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Am I missing something?"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

... a smartphone is the convergence point of a dumb phone and a PC; it has ancestors in both.


Smartphones have come to imitate (even surpass) many of the functions of the PC. I would not say that smartphones are the product of a convergence of phone and PC but, instead, phones becoming more similar to PCs. I'm not saying that this is an especially important distinction in general, just that it is the best way of defining the categories.

Reply Score: 1

Development
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:09 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

You can't do iPad development on an iPad. You need a desktop PC for that.

However, you can do desktop PC development on a desktop PC.

This, I think, is the main distinguishing factor.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Development
by M.Onty on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:15 UTC in reply to "Development"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

You can't do iPad development on an iPad. You need a desktop PC for that.

However, you can do desktop PC development on a desktop PC.

This, I think, is the main distinguishing factor.


I could develop Z88 programs on a Sinclair Z88, but I wouldn't say it was a PC.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Development
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Development"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Or a Texas Instruments Graphing Calc.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Development
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:16 UTC in reply to "Development"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

What do you mean by "can"? You need to install additional software to a win 7 or mac to do development for them. You could probably do the same thing on an ipad, if you jail break.

In any case, what about a galaxy tablet? You can install Android Script Environment and python to do development on the device itself. Does that mean Galaxies are pcs, but Ipads are not?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Development
by M.Onty on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Development"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

... You could probably do the same thing on an ipad, if you jail break. ... Does that mean Galaxies are PCs, but iPads are not?


You hit the nail on the head---it cannot be properly defined by functionality when they are all Universal Computers and all capable of much more than what was rightly called a PC in times past. Any definition would have to be based on something less concrete such as intended primary function (as someone suggested above) or lineage (as I suggested above).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Development
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Development"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

While software development is technically possible on an iPad (or an iPod, for that matter), it's not really practical, and certainly can't be done without some non-standard modifications (such as jailbreaking, which requires a desktop to do anyways)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Development
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Development"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Point 1: Jail breaking does not require a PC. There was a website that did it automatically. its just an exploit in the OS, which can be triggered remotely as well as locally under the right circumstances.

Point 2: Android tablets like the Galaxy I referenced. No PC required, programming pretty easy with python. Does that mean Android tablets are PCs and Ipads are not? I think the first replier had it right. You can't define "PC" that way.



Aside: I'm also not entirely comfortable with the "practical" part of your argument. What kind of development is practical and what is not? I know many people that would argue that programming in assembler is not "practical", while others would say that about Java, or Perl, or Visual Basic, Or C#, or C, Or Python, Or PHP, or Brain Fudge, or Haskell, Or Action script, or Ruby. Its too much of a personal taste/ judgement call thing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Development
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Development"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

There was only one jailbreak that didn't require a PC, and it worked on only two minor revisions of iOS 4. All other jailbreaks required a PC to develop and a PC for the actual jailbreaking.

Also, what I meant by practical, is you're not going to sit and develop on a smartphone or iPad for 6 hours straight without causing some serious hand fatigue. Also, you're not going to have simultaneous access to your debugging tools, or other things you might require when building your software. While it is handy for on-the-spot development of smaller solutions, you aren't going to be doing any large tasks on such a limited device.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Development
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Development"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

You can't define things that are variable over time and include them in a classification system, unless you want to update the classifications every couple of months. That would render it pretty much worthless as you'd have to make a note of what the definitions were back when some one cited a statistic that used the definition.

All of your classifications are so dependent on things that could change tomorrow. If you can develop on the device.... If you can perform action A on it without the use of another device... Its like piece wise defining a sine wave... There is probably a better way to do it without having so many conditions to examine. I don't mean to knock down everything you are suggesting, but I think you need to zoom out and take a wider look at the situation as others seem to be on a more sensible track.

Reply Score: 2

My 2 cents
by Shkaba on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:53 UTC
Shkaba
Member since:
2006-06-22

DISCLAIMER:
I absolutely hate touch screens. I consider it a wasteful use of visual real estate.

A PC is a device that allows me to find solution for a particular problem through intensive computation. For this purpose I would typically load/create a program and feed input data. Reducing PC to a simple consumer of content is a degradation that warrants exclusion from the definition of a "Personal computer". Therefore iPad is definitively NOT a PC.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My 2 cents
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:42 UTC in reply to "My 2 cents"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

But SOMEONE programmed it to display/create (camera, etc.) that content. Are you saying the end user has to be the one to be able to program it? I know many people that simply played games on their Commodore 64 and never even tried to program it (complete lack of interest, not intellect). That didn't stop the C64 from being a "personal computer" nor should it stop the iPad or a smartphone from being considered one. They are all programmable.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: My 2 cents
by Shkaba on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:16 UTC in reply to "RE: My 2 cents"
Shkaba Member since:
2006-06-22

... Are you saying the end user has to be the one to be able to program it? ...

You obviously didn't read my post with due attention, otherwise you would have noticed "LOAD/CREATE PROGRAM"! So, to answer your question, I am not (nor did I) say that the end user has to be a programmer. The fact that a lot of ignorant users can/could purchase a PC (be it a Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Amiga 500, or an XT286) doesn't mean that I have to revise the definition of a PC that I find best describes this category of devices!! That would be equivalent to changing a definition of a car, just because a lot of people that have purchased a car do not know how to drive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: My 2 cents
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My 2 cents"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

My point was that you were saying an iPod-like device is somehow "reduced" when only used for consumption... when someone created/loaded a program that allowed to that consumption to occur. The reduction is not with the device but how it is used by any given user, hence my reference to the old C64 days. People make applications for the iPod and other devices that are used primarily for consumption so the device itself is not a one-way street.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: My 2 cents
by Shkaba on Mon 18th Oct 2010 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: My 2 cents"
Shkaba Member since:
2006-06-22

Obviously it is pointless to discuss these matters with you

Reply Score: 2

It cannot be included
by Googol on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:08 UTC
Googol
Member since:
2006-11-24

because it doesn't do ANYTHING I do with my netbook every day (let alone my PC!)

Who gets these bizzar ideas that are a complete waste of time? And then Osnews wastes some more time writing an article on it, and we waste time reading and even commenting on it.

Can I rip DVDs with an iPad?
Can I rip CDs?
Can I play either of them?

Heck, you can't even get media onto it without a REAL PC

Can it run an FTP server?
Can it run flash?
Can it burn disks?
Can I mirror a web server with it?
Can I remote into my PCs and vice versa?
It cannot do 3800 things I do every day and that includes all typical everyday PC tasks.

The iPad is a fetish object for reading stuff in an appauling quality (I must know, I see it on the tube all the time) and doing some browsing for 800USD.

That is the definition of what a PC is NOT.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It cannot be included
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:14 UTC in reply to "It cannot be included"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Can I rip DVDs with an iPad?
Can I rip CDs?
Can I play either of them?
Can it run an FTP server?
Can it run flash?
Can it burn disks?
Can I mirror a web server with it?
Can I remote into my PCs and vice versa?
It cannot do 3800 things I do every day and that includes all typical everyday PC tasks.

That is the definition of what a PC is NOT.


What makes you define a personal computer as having to run an ftp server or any of that? The commodore64 was a personal computer...it didn't do any of that. My netbook doesn't have an optical media drive, yet it is a PC. I can run a ftp server on my Moto Droid...is that a PC? In fact I can do most of those tasks with my Moto Droid which is decidedly a phone...but does that make it a PC?

Or maybe we should look at the Wikpedia definition:
A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end user with no intervening computer operator.

That makes the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, my Moto Droid, my netbook, my commodore64 and several other machines personal computers...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It cannot be included
by M.Onty on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:21 UTC in reply to "RE: It cannot be included"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Or maybe we should look at the Wikpedia definition:
A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end user with no intervening computer operator.

That makes the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, my Moto Droid, my netbook, my commodore64 and several other machines personal computers...


True, except that there is an alternate, far more common usage for 'PC' which refers to IBM Compatibles (after all it sounds a bit daft to call them 'IBM Compatibles' today).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It cannot be included
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It cannot be included"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

True, except that there is an alternate, far more common usage for 'PC' which refers to IBM Compatibles (after all it sounds a bit daft to call them 'IBM Compatibles' today).


I don't believe this is far more common. Apple made people think that this is the true meaning of it during their "I'm a mac, I'm a pc" advertising campaign.

Even then, Macintosh computers are PCs...by the original (and I believe canonical) definition.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It cannot be included
by RIchard James13 on Tue 19th Oct 2010 05:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It cannot be included"
RIchard James13 Member since:
2007-10-26

Historically the Altair was first advertised as a PC. The IBM PC popularised the term further.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: It cannot be included
by Googol on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:36 UTC in reply to "RE: It cannot be included"
Googol Member since:
2006-11-24

"What makes you define a personal computer as having to run an ftp server or any of that?"

Dude, that's you making it up. I said it cannot do 3800 things my netbook can do, or my PC, including but not limited to running an FTP. That is what a PC is about and an iPad is not. Of course I said that already the first time. See, the point is that a PC can do pretty much ANYTHING. Is that a laymen's definition of a PC you would go by? Of course. And an iPad CANNOT do pretty much ANYTHING at all by that measure. And of course you go by that as well.

So, sure, you CAN call an iPad a PC, but that devoids "PC" of any meaning, so let's not.

Reply Score: 2

RE: It cannot be included
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:16 UTC in reply to "It cannot be included"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Can I rip DVDs with an iPad?

You can't do that either with any laptop without an optical drive, and those are quite common nowadays. Yet you still call them PCs, don't you?

Can I rip CDs?

Look at reply #1.

Can I play either of them?

Look at reply #1.

Heck, you can't even get media onto it without a REAL PC

How do you get media onto a "REAL PC" if it doesn't have removable media drives? Well, the same way as onto an iPad: from another PC or from random websites.

Can it run an FTP server?

Yes, if someone bothered to write an FTP server for it.

Can it run flash?

Yes, if Flash was ported to it.

Can it burn disks?

Can any other PC without optical disk drives burn disks?

Can I mirror a web server with it?

If someone wrote such an application for it.

Can I remote into my PCs and vice versa?

Yes, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x58K4fA9wXI

it cannot do 3800 things I do every day and that includes all typical everyday PC tasks.

Oh, those examples of yours that just got crushed to pieces?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It cannot be included
by M.Onty on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:23 UTC in reply to "RE: It cannot be included"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Ah, but he's got another 3,791 examples to come. Stand by!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:26 UTC in reply to "RE: It cannot be included"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

In all fairness, optical drives are standard on desktops/laptops, and to have a system without them is quite uncommon. Any system without an optical drive, I would consider special-purpose, and possibly not a PC.

However, currently, optical drives are not optional on an iPad.

There is also no standard way to operate an FTP server or run Flash on an iPad. It requires jailbreaking, which may void the warranty.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No they're pretty common around these parts. I've had quite a few non technical friends buy them by accident.

In January, Apple may announce an external optical drive for the ipad. Does it automatically retroactively become a PC then?

While some designations are going to be arbitrary ( see the campaign for and against pluto's planet hood), you have to at least use reasonable methods to come to the arbitrary designations.

Edited 2010-10-18 19:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It cannot be included
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It cannot be included"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

My Dell Mini 9 does not have an optical drive, so is it not a PC?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It cannot be included"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

The Mini 9 has enough of the other PC characteristics that it is still a PC.

It runs a desktop operating system, and if you plugged in a USB optical drive, it would work as-is.

An iPad, no.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: It cannot be included
by aesiamun on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: It cannot be included"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Actually my dell mini 9 is running meego...what about now? ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: It cannot be included"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Close enough. It was built as a PC, but you have since repurposed it. It can be a PC if it wants.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It cannot be included
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It cannot be included"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

optical drives are standard on desktops/laptops, and to have a system without them is quite uncommon.

Atleast in Finland laptop systems without optical drives are becoming more and more common. Are they not PCs then?

There is also no standard way to operate an FTP server or run Flash on an iPad. It requires jailbreaking, which may void the warranty.

Neither of those things were standard from the get-go. Trying to argue that because one or another specific application is common nowadays and that only those systems which can run it are PCs is a really long stretch. Voiding or not voiding warranty has nothing to do with a device being PC or not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It cannot be included"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Atleast in Finland laptop systems without optical drives are becoming more and more common. Are they not PCs then?


Do they meet a significant number of other PC characteristics, such as upgradability, expansion, and choice of software to run?

Everybody in this forum arguing in favor of the iPad being considered a PC seems to be arguing:

There are hard-and-fast rules on what makes a PC a PC, and violation of a single rule makes a system not a PC (Thus making a whole range of PCs suddenly not-PCs, which isn't correct), or, following only a single rule makes it a PC (despite only obeying a rule slightly).

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: It cannot be included
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: It cannot be included"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Do they meet a significant number of other PC characteristics, such as upgradability, expansion, and choice of software to run?

Obviously, a laptop is as upgradeable as a laptop is: you may upgrade memory and internal drives, and connect peripherals, but that's it. And yes, there are Windows, Linux and Mac laptops around, all without an optical drive.

There are hard-and-fast rules on what makes a PC a PC, and violation of a single rule makes a system not a PC (Thus making a whole range of PCs suddenly not-PCs, which isn't correct), or, following only a single rule makes it a PC (despite only obeying a rule slightly).

So, what are the rules and how many of them one must fulfill in order to be a PC, then?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: It cannot be included"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Rules? I would say...

1: Upgradability. Can you put in a faster processor? More ram? Bigger Disks? Better monitor?

Desktop PCs satisfy this extensively. Laptops not so much, due to physical restrictions. Even with Laptops and Netbooks, replacing RAM and the hard disks is usually painless, and with some laptops it is possible to upgrade the processor or graphics.

This is impossible on an iPad, and with Smartphones, one can only add storage.

2: Expandability. Can I add capabilities? Cameras? Alternate methods of Input? Clickier keyboards? TV Tuners? Extra ethernet ports?

A PC satisfies this aspect. With PCIe, USB, and Firewire, I can add TV tuners, a 3D mouse, external storage, extra networking (either ethernet, firewire, or USB), printers, modems, scanners, card readers.

The iPad supports a physical keyboard currently, and SD cards (Not compact flash, or other formats). Other stuff may come, or maybe not. It depends on what Apple feels like doing. I would consider the iPad only satisfying this at the absolute minimum.

3: Software flexibility. Can I run whatever OS I like? Can I choose my own software? May I choose where I get my software? Can I develop software?

A PC satisfies this fully. I can run Windows, MacOS X, Linux, FreeBSD, etc etc. I can choose what software I wish to run without a third party deciding ahead of time whether or not it's okay. I can also freely develop my own software without limitation.

The iPad famously falls flat on its face in this regard. Software is only available through the Apple Store, and only if Apple deems it acceptable. Development for the platform must be completed on another system, and only to those who pay a fee. I can't load just any 'ol program on my system. This is a severe artificial limitation.

All these are standard trademarks of PCs, and even in early PCs in the 80's, this has been the case. Even in the most limited, restrictive fashions, these attributes existed to a much, much larger extent than they do on the iPad.

I did not choose these three criteria with the goal of excluding the iPad; these are what I expect from a PC, and people who know far less about computers than I do expect these things, even when they have no idea how they'd use them.

Alternatively, there is a more mundane definition: A PC is a type of computer meant for the desk (but not exclusively used on it, in the case of portables) that features a keyboard, mouse, screen, internal storage, and connections for external peripherals. An iPad has only the screen (though it is a touchscreen). No, the on-screen keyboard is not a real keyboard; it is only a simulation, and it doesn't count.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: It cannot be included
by WereCatf on Tue 19th Oct 2010 00:09 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: It cannot be included"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

1: Upgradability. Can you put in a faster processor? More ram? Bigger Disks? Better monitor?

Desktop PCs satisfy this extensively. Laptops not so much, due to physical restrictions. Even with Laptops and Netbooks, replacing RAM and the hard disks is usually painless, and with some laptops it is possible to upgrade the processor or graphics.


Okay, without focusing on any specific component that could be upgraded and instead of just the device itself generally being upgradable: many laptops are not really very upgradable yet are still considered PCs, by general populace and by experts. I have once had to repair a laptop which had everything in it really locked in tight and glued so as to try and force you to buy a new one even when you just wished to change the hard disk.

This is impossible on an iPad, and with Smartphones, one can only add storage.

Not really. Most smartphones can be plugged to external displays too and thus they are mostly just as upgradable as any laptop.

2: Expandability. Can I add capabilities? Cameras? Alternate methods of Input? Clickier keyboards? TV Tuners? Extra ethernet ports?

Okay, this is a trickier one. Most smartphones can be expanded with alternate input methods, but that's mostly it. Though, my N900 atleast is a different beast here: it can be connected to webcameras, various kinds of input devices, network devices and what-not, either through bluetooth or USB. I don't know if there's any other smartphones out there though that can do the same.

But in a few years? It's actually quite likely a common smartphone will start satisfying this requirement too.

3: Software flexibility. Can I run whatever OS I like? Can I choose my own software? May I choose where I get my software? Can I develop software?

There are a few smartphones out there that do satisfy this requirement, including mine. Granted, iPad clearly doesn't.

Atleast you provided a rather clear set of rules by which you define a PC, and iPad doesn't satisfy those rules. My N900 however does, and I wonder how many other smartphones and/or tablets do.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

FYI, I'm not arguing for iPad as PC. I'm arguing for a sensible classification system that isn't going to change with a software update or accessory released by Apple.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: It cannot be included"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I think my above post is probably the most sensible definition, but what is a PC or isn't is a mostly arbitrary decision, and an actual classification system isn't likely to ever be defined.

It may very well be that in 10 years, iPad-type devices will be considered standard PCs, but what most people think of as a PC is nothing like an iPad. It is a new device, and deserves it's own classification.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No offence, but I think its terrible. Its not that an ipad is borderline on one of those. I think it meets all three as well as some laptops and desktops do. And I don't think an ipad is a pc. Therefore, I do not think it is a good system of classification.

Maybe you should define tablets and smart phones first, then the classification of PC might jump out at you as being something that meets these criteria but not the smart phone /tablet definition.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It cannot be included
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It cannot be included"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

My netbook did not come with an optical drive, but I bought one that plugs into a USB port. Was it not a PC before I made that additional purchase?

Reply Score: 1

What is a PC?
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:21 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

I think this whole question is similar to the debate regarding what makes a planet a planet, which eventually led to Pluto being demoted from planethood.

To me, Pluto is not a planet. I know this intuitively. It is actually the first of a new class of objects, much like the asteroid Ceres, once considered a planet, was really the first of a class of objects (Asteroid belt objects). However, the officially accepted definition of planet is messy, as it was crafted with the intent of excluding Pluto. (Pluto fails 1 of 3 planetary tests, which is whether or not it has mostly cleared out it's orbit. Earth has cleared out it's orbit, so it is a planet. However, if it was orbiting at the distance of Pluto, it wouldn't have, and thus it would not be a planet)

Any strict definition of a PC will include systems that aren't PCs, and may exclude systems that are PCs.

To me, an iPad is not a PC, because it doesn't resemble what a standard PC is. It offers no expansion, limited software choices, and limited capability. While it is technically capable of doing anything a standard PC does, it is not designed for those goals.

Being designed with an eye towards flexibility is really what makes a PC a PC. The limitations of the iPad are not inherit in the design, but are conscious design choices by Apple.

Reply Score: 2

CFAA and computers
by cjcoats on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:28 UTC
cjcoats
Member since:
2006-04-16

If notepad-format and smartphone-format machines
are computers (and they are!), then service providers
that delete user-installed apps ought to be prosecuted
for felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse
Act (US Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47, Paragraph
1030 http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1030.html ),
which calls for 5 years in the slammer...

Reply Score: 1

The lines are blurred
by r.j.l on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:28 UTC
r.j.l
Member since:
2009-08-15

What is a personal computer when it comes to sales figures. Do we include smartphones, tablet pc's or what about the microprocessor controlled devices like TV's, media players, cars and just about every other consumer electronic device. Given that some of these devices are far more powerful than the old desktops I grew up with it makes defining a computer more questionable.

Why not just call them what they are.. smarthphones, tablet pc's etc

Reply Score: 1

Nicholas Blachford
Member since:
2005-07-06

Sounds like a lot of this discussion is just semantics.

Well, they are all personal, and they're all computers in one way or another.

But they are not desktop computers or derived from them, which I think most people mean by "PC"s.

However, what about the Toshiba AC-100? It's smartbook (and yes, it's shipping).

Technologically it's closer to a smartphone than a desktop PC - it has an Nvidia ARM based SoC running Androidand there's a 3G option. But it's in a netbook form factor and netbooks definitely *are* PCs.

Given the same chip with the same OS will appear in phones will not be a PC then? What's the difference?

So is the distinction of what is or isn't a PC entirely down to form factor, or does the distinction doesn't matter anymore?



I think the only thing we can conclude from all this is we are now clearly in the post PC era. The traditional desktop or laptop machines are being supplanted by different devices with different technologies, different OSs and different form factors.

Reply Score: 2

Remove PC
by ephracis on Tue 19th Oct 2010 01:07 UTC
ephracis
Member since:
2007-09-23

Maybe we should remove the term "PC" altogether.

There are: desktops, laptops, netbooks, game consoles, smartphones, regular/dummy phones, tablets, kiosks, toasters, GPS navigation systems, portable music players, SmartTVs (or whatever they will be called), servers and coffee machines. Analyze sales using this classification. PC is old!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Remove PC
by M.Onty on Tue 19th Oct 2010 09:25 UTC in reply to "Remove PC"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

This makes sense to me. If people won't use the x86/Windows definition anymore (and, frankly, it wasn't an historically accurate one to start with) then scrap the name.

Reply Score: 1

Simple definition
by Neolander on Tue 19th Oct 2010 06:15 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

In order to avoid definitions based on vague or overly precise concepts that are specially designed to keep the iPad in or out of the "personal computer" concept, let me propose a hardware-based definition.

If it has a processor, RAM, and some mean of inputting and outputting information, it's a computer.
If an individual with average income can reasonably buy it, it's a personal computer, as opposed to computers which are always bought by groups of individuals (large servers, mainframes).

Now, the obvious problem of that definition is you have to consider everything including a Motorola or TI chip as a computer. Yeah, including my alarm clock and most watches. But we already know that those are computers. We just dismiss them as "appliances" or "devices" because we don't have access to the programmable part of the device. Their purpose is determined by the manufacturer, and only the manufacturer can do something about it.

That concept sounds important, so let's name it : I call "reprogrammable computer" a computer which gives the user full access to all its internal ability, with no artificial limitation to what the user can do.

To simplify : if I can code an OS for it and access all hardware without some sort of hacking, it's a RC.
-Servers are RC
-Desktops are RC
-Laptops and netbooks are RC
-The PS3 with OtherOS was *not* a RC because one couldn't access the graphic chip
-The GBA is a RC
-Apple iDevices are not RC. You have to bypass some lock-in before you can install another OS on them
-Android devices with ROM checks are not RC. Some Android devices are RC.
-Nokia N900 is a RC, I think.
-And so on...

If we want to introduce a more complex classification, we can also introduce the Independent Reprogrammable Computer concept. The principle is that if tomorrow a nuclear war strikes your country, leaving you as the sole miraculous survivor with the computer and some data storage media as your sole possession, you might still be able to reprogram it in a reasonable amount of time (e.g. In order to spend your last few days playing Pacman in your bunker. It's tiresome to be alone with all the world around you being a gigantic mass of radioactive wastes).
-Laptops, desktops, and netbooks are all IRC if you have installed development tools on them before the cataclysm.
-The GBA is not an IRC. Even when installing dev tools on it, programming using a 4-directional pad just takes too much time.
-I don't think a phone/tablet is. Can you boot a phone on a microSD card without some external assistance ? Can you code simple applications in a reasonable amount of time ?

I think this is neutral enough : if the iPad is a personal computer, so is almost every single electronic device on the market. As Apple fan say themselves, the good side of Apple devices is that they are in no way different from a car or a blender.

Edited 2010-10-19 06:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

The answer is easy, and it's "no".
by axilmar on Tue 19th Oct 2010 11:56 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

Not every device that contains a cpu, memory, and storage is a PC. They are computing devices built for special purposes. The iPad is one of those devices.

Reply Score: 2

Apple Doesn't Market It As a PC
by organgtool on Tue 19th Oct 2010 16:08 UTC
organgtool
Member since:
2010-02-25

The iPad is a companion to a computer and not an independent device. Think about it - you need a computer to update iOS, transfer pictures or video from your camera, transfer music, etc. It also doesn't support true multitasking like all PC's in the last several decades. It was built with a focus on allowing users to consume content rather than create it (I know there are apps to create content on the iPad and most of them are watered down versions of their Mac counterparts).

Apple does not market the iPad as a PC because it is not and this makes sense from their point of view. If they made it an independent device, then you wouldn't need to buy an actual computer and that would start to diminish sales of their other products, especially MacBooks.

Finally, if you still insist on defining the iPad as a PC, then you should also include all smartphones since they are very similar to the iPad. Then we would get to have fun resurrecting the debate over the definition of a smartphone. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Yes and no
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 19th Oct 2010 17:20 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

The iPad is a personal computing device, so it is a PC in the literal sense. But it is clearly something different from the devices that the term "PC" typically refers to, so it's not a PC in the "if it walks like a duck..." sense.

Reply Score: 2

Dekonega
Member since:
2009-07-28

This is something I've always tried to explain common people for years now... PC means same thing as microcomputer these days. Every smartphone is a pc (with a phone feature), integrated gaming devices (playstation 3, xbox 360, etc.) are pcs, and so on...

There are only four kinds of computers in this world (super computers, mainframe computers, mini computers and personal computers).

Apple Macintoshes are not "Macs". Those devices are PCs built on top of Intel-architecture (IBM-PC) and their brand is Macintosh and they run different operating system from mainstream clone Intel-architecture PCs.

Spectum is a PC, Amiga is a PC, C=64 is a PC. Why people talk about these devices using separate "Home computer" entity? 100% compatible clone IBM-PCs (that Intel-architecture) are as "home computers" classic architectures are/where.

And the most annoying thing I've ever heard directly from Microsoft executive's mouth was the claim that "Windows equals to PC"... And that was like ten years ago. But because of it most software boxes which read: "For IBM-PC or 100% Compatibles" disappeared and where replaced by "For PC". So we are in deep shit now. We have category "PC" and inside that category is architecture/platform called "PC".

Windows ≠ PC, Mac = PC, Linux ≠ OS (Gnu/linux = OS), and PC ≠ PC...

So yeah, iPad is a PC. And we really need to reverse these BS changes made by company PR departments over time span of 10 to 15 years. Apple for example makes direct use of the situation by claiming to be something else than PC when in fact they are as PC as they claim Microsoft to be. Differences do not come from different HW but from different OS. And it's time to think differently about that too...

For the clean and understandable computer terminology!

Reply Score: 1

Dekonega Member since:
2009-07-28

I totally would love to see everybody to talk about OSes when refering to different platforms instead of the usual BS: "For PS3, X360 and PC". Why it cannot be "For PS3, X360 and Windows"? If it says PC I have right to demand Gnu/linux and/or Mac OS X version of the software in question. Even more laughable is that when box reads "For PC, Mac and Gnu/linux"... I think that it makes things really confusing for buyers of that software...

Edited 2010-10-20 05:31 UTC

Reply Score: 1

I have to disagree...to an extent
by HunterA3 on Wed 20th Oct 2010 13:35 UTC
HunterA3
Member since:
2005-10-19

While our smartphones and tablets are capable of being replacements for most of what we do on our computers, the fact that wireless spectrum is limited and the more we use it, the more congested it becomes. Look to the problems that AT&T is having with the iphone in the US.

Now, particularly in the US, you are seeing a move to tiered data plans to curb the amount of bandwidth being used by customers. They offer you a whopping 150 MB with Verizon and 200 MB with both T-Mobile and AT&T. All three have higher use plans, but the cost per MB has risen dramatically as a result. This leave users with the option of going over routinely, paying increasingly expensive data plans, or using their traditional computers and wifi networks to make up for the lost capacity.

Because of the lack of available spectrum/bandwidth, and the carriers move to tiered plans as a result, it clearly places smartphones and tablets in the realm of supplementary devices to our PCs and not as true fully independent standalone internet devices. They are being relegated to being over-glorified peripherals thanks to the lack of innovation on the carriers part.

Edited 2010-10-20 13:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1