iPad 3 could make Apple the world’s top PC vendor next year
Currently the world’s second leading PC vendor, Apple has seen its share of the market jump to 15 percent from 9 percent over just the past year. That growth is largely due to heavy demand for the iPad, which Canalys considers a personal computer.
But fourth-quarter iPad shipments in the U.S. may take a hit from Amazon’s new Kindle Fire and Nook devices, which are launching at user-friendly prices. As a result, Canalys belives HP and Apple will duke it out for the top spot this quarter but that Apple should ultimately grab the lead after the iPad 3 debuts next year.
Rival tablet makers are still fighting to compete with Apple, with many starting to get the hint by selling devices at cheaper prices. The debut of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich should help Android vendors as developers will finally be able to push their existing smartphone apps to run on tablets. But the timing of ICS is less than ideal, says Canalys.
Most tablets being sold during the holiday season will still sport some version of Android 3.x. And Android hasn’t been known for a speedy upgrade cycle. Savvy consumers waiting for devices equipped with the new flavor of Ice Cream Sandwich may actually put off purchases until next year when the new OS becomes more prevalent.
For 2011, global PC shipments are expected to reach 415 million, a 15 percent gain from last year, thanks mostly to higher tablet sales. Total tablet shipments should hit 59 million for the entire year, with 22 million just in the fourth quarter, says Canalys.
Notebook sales have also provided a boost to the PC market this year, with total shipments projected to reach 211 million, a 10 percent gain from last year. Ultrabooks, which are thin and light but high-powered laptops, could spur notebooks sales over the next five years. But Canalys believes prices would have to creep down sharply.
“The least expensive models are currently around $800, a real barrier to mass consumer uptake,” Canalys analyst Michael Kauh said in a statement. “As more vendors embrace the Ultrabook design, component costs should drop and mainstream consumer prices will be achieved.”