Apple iPads to overtake netbooks by 2012

With its iPad capturing six per cent of the portable PC segment in the second quarter of 2010 Apple will continue lead the media tablet market through at least 2011 largely because of the lack of innovation in the netbook market.

Canalys yesterday released its quarterly worldwide PC market data, highlighting Apple’s jump into the top five PC vendors. The iPad captured approximately six per cent of the portable PC segment in Q2 2010, with over 3 million units shipped during the device’s first few months on the market.

“Apart from the ‘Apple effect,’ the iPad owes its success to a lack of advancement in other portable computing segments, such as netbooks,” said Canalys vice- president and principal analyst Chris Jones.

“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.”

Many manufacturers have announced the launch of pads for later this year, and Canalys expects pads to overtake netbooks by 2012.

Canalys 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, Canalys anticipates that Apple will continue lead the market through at least 2011. As more vendors enter the market, however, there will be a period of experimentation with a range of various models aimed at both consumer and enterprise customers.

“The key to creating a great user experience on a connected mobile device is ensuring that the hardware and software work together in harmony,’ said Jones.

“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.”

“As the number of consumers with multiple devices increases, it will also be important for pads to seamlessly integrate with existing equipment,” said Canalys senior analyst Natalie Spitz.

Though some overlap will be inevitable, Canalys forecasts 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.

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