Apple’s Mac desktops and laptops may still count for a fraction of the global market for PCs, but when you tally up all the computers (iPhones, iPads, etc.) on which people actually get things done, the number of computers sold by Apple exceeds the number of Windows-based PCs shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Or as Andreessen Horowitz mobile analyst Benedict Evans put it:
This is a pretty good illustration of the scale of mobile: Apple limits itself only to the high end of the mobile market but still sells more units than the whole PC industry.
There are two ways of looking at this: One is to say, well, so what? What does it mean to compare these two very large numbers (mostly, how many iPhones Apple is selling) to the number of Windows PCs sold worldwide, when these are somewhat arbitrary device categories?
But the counter-argument is that the tasks we used to conduct on PCs are now being carried out on an ever-expanding variety of other devices, pretty much all of them mobile. And this trend will only accelerate: What share of the world’s “computers” will Apple ship when it unveils its (still rumored) iWatch?