Based on traditional PC sales along, Apple is nowhere near the top internationally but it is now the number 3 PC maker in the US. And base do this assessment, US PC makers have something to worry about but globally, they can probably go about their business as usual.
That's one perception. This is the one advocated by Microsoft and its partners. This is the perception that is sometimes supported by data that the tablet market, 70-80% of it is the iPad, isn't cannibalizing PC sales.
According to Gartner, PC growth is 2.3% above what it was last year, a big 66% miss.
What's also interesting is Gatner's refusal to acknowledge the impact of the tablet market. Reading their post, they made a very transparent effort to dance around the issue about tablets and the impact the iPad on the market as a whole and used words like "shifting resources", "period of adjustment", and "changes to their product mix".
So it begs the question about what the market will look like when manufacturers start to use Windows 8 with ARM chips in their tablets? Does Gartner and other data companies include Windows tablets but not those based on iOS or Android? Or are they simply trying to level the playing field for Microsoft until it is ready to enter the tablet market?
See, if Gartner had included iPad sales into the PC mix, iPad and Mac sales would catapult Apple into the number position in the US and second place worldwide for 2011 so far. Extrapolate that into 2012, Apple's iPad and Mac sales growth could make Apple the biggest PC maker in the world.
Obviously, Gartner and others simply cannot accept such a disruption in the market. At least not until Microsoft enters the tablet market. IDC, another company that release PC sales figures, does not include tablet sales but they did at the very least acknowledge that the iPad had an impact on the poor PC performance in general.