Apple is the No. 1 mobile PC manufacturer in the world, beating rival HP for the top spot in the latest quarterly rankings, according to display industry research firm DisplaySearch. Apple shipped a total of 13.5 million units for year-over-year growth of 136 percent, 80 percent of which were tablets, which DisplaySearch includes in its results.
Some might consider it contentious to include tablets in mobile PC rankings, but there are a few reasons it makes sense. First, consider that the PC industry is experiencing negative growth, at least in some markets, and slowing growth in others: DisplaySearch found that notebooks were up only 2 percent year over year this past quarter and were down 2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. At the same time, the tablet market is up. Tablet PC shipments rose 70 percent in the second quarter of 2011 versus the first and 400 percent year over year. Even without the iPad, tablet shipments were up 25 percent year over year, with more than 5.6 million shipped during the latest quarter, according to DisplaySearch.
The numbers suggest that some, at least, are replacing traditional mobile PCs with tablets, and especially with iPads. And that’s backed up by various observations. I see more iPads at events and conferences than I ever have before; in many cases notebooks are carried but remain in the bag while the tablet stays out. Also, friends who don’t use a computer very often outside work have been very happy to replace their notebooks and desktops with a tablet full-time. Surveys seem to be showing that these examples aren’t isolated statistical oddities.
Of course, Apple stands to gain the most from the inclusion of tablets, since the iPad remains the clear category leader. But the iPad 2 is apparently really helping things along. Late in 2010, we noted that Apple had reached the No. 3 spot in the mobile PC market, with iPads included. According to DisplaySearch, it now has 21.1 percent of the mobile PC market by shipments, while HP is the next closest, with 15 percent. Dell, Acer and Lenovo make up the rest of the top 5, with 11.6, 10.9 and 7.5 percent, respectively.