iPad Boosts Apple, Netbook Sales Idle, Study Finds

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

A report from Canalys shows the impact the right kind of tablet can have on the market: The firm's data shows sales of Apple's iPad have bumped the company into the top five PC vendors worldwide.

Worldwide PC market data from Canalys revealed Apple’s release of the iPad tablet helped it jump into the top five PC vendors, capturing approximately 6 percent of the portable PC segment in Q2 2010, with over 3 million units shipped during the device’s first few months on the market. Conversely, the report found growth in the netbook market continued to slow, as vendors struggled to deliver new product innovations.

Canalys reported that it expects the pad PC market to reach 12.5 million units in 2010, growing to 66 million by the end of 2014. Due to its first-to-market advantage, the company also anticipated that Apple will continue to lead the market through at least 2011. However, as more vendors enter the market, the report noted, there will be a period of experimentation with a range of various models aimed at both consumer and enterprise customers.

"Apart from the 'Apple effect,’ the iPad owes its success to a lack of advancement in other portable computing segments, such as netbooks," said Chris Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst. "To capture share moving forward, PC makers will have to take the netbook to the next level or go after new customer segments with their own pads."

Jones said the key to creating a great user experience on a connected mobile device is ensuring that the hardware and software work together in harmony, and predicted platforms such as Android, iOS, WebOS and possibly BlackBerry, as well as Chrome, MeeGo and Windows, are likely to battle it out in the pad market over the next three years.

Canalys forecast that pads and netbooks will continue to coexist in the portable PC market for some time. As the pad represents an additional luxury purchase to a certain extent, customers may eventually choose between the two devices, causing the netbook market to soften as vendors develop their pad offerings, the company noted in the report. Canalys expects pads to eventually overtake netbooks in 2012.

"As the number of consumers with multiple devices increases, it will also be important for pads to seamlessly integrate with existing equipment. In addition to synchronization capabilities, vendors should be prepared to take a strategic look at content—all-important, but often overlooked," said Canalys senior analyst Natalie Spitz. "With the growth of smartphones and mobile devices with all-day battery life, consumers have become accustomed to a world of always-on connectivity. It’s only natural then, that these same consumers would demand similar features across all of their portable computing devices."