In advance of Black Friday, the technical news was abuzz with one story that was interpreted a different way with every article that was written. Right before Thanksgiving, industry analysts released the sales figures of personal computers in 2011.The news left many in the computer support world scratching their heads in confusion. The sales reports acknowledge that HP continues to be the leader in PC sales . . . unless you consider tablet computers a PC.
Since then, pundits have written hundreds of articles on the sales projections and the nature of the PC. In one corner, there is the perception that the tablet computer is a PC. That perception greatly benefits Apple because with iPad tablet computer sales factored in, Apple would be the number one computer company by sales in the world. Apple, naturally, wants to cash in on the prestige that comes from overtaking HP and becoming the world leader in the PC market.
HP, who had a disastrous tablet computer release in 2011, remained strong in sales of traditional personal computers. HP has the element of public perception on its side in the argument. Consumers bought tablet computers in 2011 largely as a companion for their PC, not a replacement. Sales numbers have shown a slight decline in traditional PC computer sales over 2011, but many industry analysts attribute that to a PC sell-off in 2010 with the release of the Windows 7. In other words, many consumers purchased their new PC last year; so many computer users do not need to buy a new computer this year. Computer support and computer repair businesses seem to support this idea; they remain as busy as ever, solving computer problems on PCs purchased during last year’s sales spike.
The public perception for tablet computers remains that they are primarily for entertainment and personal use, not serious computing. Tablet computers may have valuable business applications, like inventory control and presenting customers with product information, but they remain more expensive than most businesses want to invest for the technology. As well, the tablet computer has not reached its full business potential because manufacturers have not developed the apps that meet the needs of many businesses. As a result, consumers continue to use their PCs for serious work – business, education, and research – and their tablet computers for entertainment, like watching movies or reading digital books.
The argument over whether to include tablet computers or not is a moot point in many ways. To many computer users, the debate just seems like big business trying to cook the books in their company’s favor.
Ironically, Apple needs the status of being the #1 computer manufacturer less than HP does. For over a decade, Apple has built its advertising campaign around being original, buying Apple products in defiance of the Big Companies. After years as the outsider, could Apple effectively rebrand with “Conformity is cool?” Even Apple could not sell that.
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