Linked by David Adams on Tue 31st Jan 2012 23:08 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless An article at The Next Web points out that the latest marketshare numbers put Apple at the top of "PC" makers, and that some PC makers that don't have any tablet momentum are calling foul. It's "controversial" to count tablets as PCs, they say. The article points out various justifications for not categorizing tablets as personal computers, and then shoots them down. I must say, I find the argument compelling.
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Any proprietary locked-down hardware, running proprietary locked-down software are CAs (Computing Appliances). That Apple's CAs are further restricted within a totally controlled ecosystem for OS function extensibility just serves to make them even more so.

Apple's iPads, iPods, iPhones and Apple TVs (and in the coming future their Laptops and desktops/servers too) have more in common with the WebTV/AOL platforms from the late 90's and their like than they do with PCs. In fact Apple's original plan for iDevices only having web-apps was even closer to the WebTV/AOL device model. WebTV/Aol's extensibility beyond their own basic internet based offerings was third party web-apps(early cloud computing). Many games and utilities, including office functionality were created on-line specifically for WebTV/AOL users.

Back to non emotional, common sense, conventional computing classifications.

Servers/Mainframes--general purpose computers-PC
Desktops--general purpose computers-PC
Laptops--general purpose computers-PC
Netbooks--general purpose computers-PC
Cloudbooks--primarily computing appliances-CA
Tablets/Slates/iPad--computing appliances-CA
Set-top Boxes--computing appliances-CA
SmartPhones/iPhones--computing appliances-CA
MP3 Players/iPod-iPod touch (PMDs)--computing appliances-CA

Everything else, from including your digital watch to microwave ovens etc.. are Computing Appliances.

The fact that some of these CAs (Computing Appliances) can be Rooted or Jail-broken to re-purpose them more toward general purpose computers (PCs) doesn't negate the fact that they are sold as CAs. So even CAs running Open Source software are effectively proprietary by their locked boot-loaders/signed binaries and other restrictive means.

There's evidence that Microsoft, too is looking to move its base to the Computing Appliance (CA) model. Requiring locked-down boot-loaders for Windows 8's motherboards and their own restrictive Apps/Software store.
So, the real thing to consider is not whether Tablets are PCs, but whether consumer level PCs will even exist in five years.

Articles of this type are yet little more than lawyer-esque pettifogging from this and other Apple/Name your favorite platform cheerleaders to reach pre-desired statistical outcomes regardless of the formerly common sense based classifications of what PCs are, which I've outlined fairly concisely (above).

Edited 2012-02-01 08:25 UTC

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