Is whether or not the iPad is a PC a simple issue of semantics? Yes.
Are semantics important? Yes.
We have more access to data than ever before. Companies have this general tendency to release charts and graphs that paint their position in the most positive light, and having clarity and context for any given data is important to understanding the truth. Just ask Horace Dediu.
For the past few decades when you’d see a chart labelled 4th Quarter PC Sales, there wasn’t much ambiguity. It was talking about desktops and laptops, the things with keyboards, mice, monitors, applications, browsers, files, drives, plugs, and ports. They were the de facto tool for getting online, email, productivity, etc., and looking at “PC Sales” usually painted a pretty clear, if not complete, picture of the industry. That isn’t the case anymore.
The iPad threw a wrench into the gears of the computer industry. Whether by cannibalizing traditional PC sales or drawing a wider set of users into the fold of the internet-connected, its impact is being felt far and wide. We need to frame the conversation if we want to have meaningful discussions about our industry, and having meaningful discussions about the PC industry can no longer exclude mention of the iPad.