Ever since the first iPad launched in 2010, analysts have been struggling with the philosophical place of Apple’s gamechanging blockbuster. Is it a tablet? Is it a PC? TUAW’s Kelly Hodgkins explains:

Some analysts believe that the iPad should be a new category of devices and its performance compared to similar offerings running Android. Others notice that PC sales are declining, iPad sales are rising and believe there’s a direct connection. If the iPad affects PC sales, then maybe it should be considered a PC.

But what difference does a mere designation make, anyways?

As it turns out, it makes quite a difference — on paper.

As you can see in the following graph from Deutsch Bank’s Chris Whitmore, lumping the tablet in with the PCs would immediately make Apple the largest such vendor in the world.

In reality, though, it makes no difference how you think of the iPad. It’s a tablet, yes, but it’s replacing people’s needs for traditional computing environments in the home and office, and people are buying it in record numbers.

For the platform — and for Apple — that’s all that really matters.

[Lead image: pinoytutorial.com]