Faced with quarter after quarter of sluggish sales, PC manufacturers have been pining for a savior that just hasn't materialized. This year, it's Windows 8's turn to try out the hero role, but a recent Avast survey of 135,329 U.S. Windows users suggests that Microsoft's operating system doesn't hold the allure OEMs hope it does: 42 percent of all Americans in the hunt for a new computer say they'll be picking up an Apple product.

Interestingly, that doesn't mean they'll be switching over to a Mac. Only 12 percent of will-be buyers are considering a move to Apple's desktop solution. The iPad is the big draw, with 30 percent of respondents planning to snag an iOS tablet, perhaps in lieu of a second PC. Still doubt that tablets are chewing into PC sales?

A full 68 percent of imminent buyers still plan to pick up a Windows 8 PC, however, which suggests that at least some of the people in the market for an iPad also plan to purchase a Microsoft-made computer. Nevertheless, those are huge numbers for Apple. The figures drop a bit internationally, with 7 percent of buyers eyeing a Mac and 21 percent eyeing an iPad.

If you count tablets as computers, Apple already stole the number one position from HP earlier this year, and by quite a large margin. The Cupertino company's devices boast impeccable quality as well, with various Apple products sitting atop our lists of the best notebooks and tablets available.

Even if you don't consider slates to be PCs proper, Microsoft should be worried by Avast's survey for numerous reasons. The numbers highlight Apple's dominance in a PC-Plus world, but perhaps more troublingly, only 8 eight percent of global respondents said they were considering picking up a new PC sooner rather than later just to make the leap to Windows 8.

Via Avast and USA Today