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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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 Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: It cannot be included
by WereCatf on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:18 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:07 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: It cannot be included
by Drumhellar on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:11 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 Parent Score: 2