I’ve argued repeatedly that the iPad should be considered a personal computer — and Goldman Sachs hardware analyst Bill Shope agrees with me. In a note to clients on Monday — as reported by “Tech Trader Daily” (http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2010/12/13/apple-ipad-mac-12-pc-market-share-says-goldman/?mod=yahoobarrons) — the analyst only sees computer sales growing 8% next year, but is more bullish on tablet computers, especially the iPad.

In fact, Shope sees iPad sales surpassing Mac revenue by September 2011. The analyst argues that tablets should be considered part of the personal computer market, in which case Appleā€™s worldwide computer market share would rise to 12% this fiscal year, from 4.4% at present.

Last week DisplaySearch put the Apple tablet in the computer category in its “Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report.” Do so, and that research group says Apple is the number one personal computer maker in the U.S. and number three globally.

What’s more, Shope expects a 10% price cut on all models of the iPad when the second version ships early next year, helping lift units and helping to put pressure on computer average selling prices.

— Dennis Sellers