updated 06:30 pm EST, Tue January 24, 2012
Apple talks tablets versus PCs in US
Apple during its fall quarter results revealed IDC data that tablets outsold PCs in the fall. While he didn't provide concrete details, he suggested that the iPad, Android, and other tablet platforms had pushed past the combined Mac and Windows PC markets. IDC's own PC figures showed 18.6 million US computers, making it probable that Apple's 15.4 million plus the smaller share of the rest of the market was enough to push past.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated his view from the last quarter that the tablet market will eventually be bigger than the PC market.
The milestone could be alarming for Microsoft. It lost six points of Windows revenue worldwide in the fall and admitted that the decline of netbooks, as well as other form factors, were the cause. Microsoft has insisted there will forever be Windows relevance, but it now faces there being more Android tablets and iPads sold each season than its entire Windows base.
Cook, meanwhile, wasn't fazed by the rise of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, or other sub-$250 tablets. Answering a question from a Goldman Sachs analyst, he argued that people want to do "multiple things" with their tablets and that people who were aiming at an iPad weren't going to settle for a "limited function" device like a Kindle Fire. iPads had over 170,000 optimized apps versus a "few hundred" for alternatives, he said, although it's believed there are technically thousands on Android, hidden by a lack of organization in Android Market.
There had been some instances of buyers going into a store to buy a cheap tablet and coming out with an iPad, Cook added. He considered the Kindle Fire and its kind to be in a separate category, however. The iPad was cannibalizing the Mac, but Apple tends to "love" this since it affected Windows more.
Apple's own tablet was itself part of a daisy-chain halo effect. Enterprise customers usually started on the iPhone, which led to the iPad; some of those iPad buyers in turn opted for Macs. "Nearly all" of the Fortune 500 was supporting or using the iPad at this stage, most likely up from 92 percent in the last quarter.