Apple Rules Mobile PC Market With iPad Sales

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Apple (s aapl) is the number three worldwide mobile PC manufacturer, and the number one in North America, according to a new report from DisplaySearch, a company that tracks and analyses the display supply chain. The reason it’s doing so well? The iPad.

The iPad alone accounted for a grand total of 8 percent of worldwide shipments of mobile PCs in the third quarter of 2010, the period covered by DisplaySearch’s latest report. That category also includes other tablets, and notebook and netbook devices. Mobile PC shipments in general were at an all time high this past quarter, with 55 million devices shipped worldwide, up 19 percent from the same time last year.

The number one worldwide mobile PC producer remained HP (s hpq) for the quarter, who sold 9.5 million devices and took 17.3 percent of the overall market share. Acer came in second with 9.1 million units moved and 16.5 percent of the global share. Apple came in a fairly distant third, with 6.3 million shipped and 12.4 percent of the market. Dell (s dell) and Toshiba rounded out the top five.

Without the benefit of the iPad, Apple would be in quite a different position. It would drop to number eight overall in worldwide sales, in fact, though MacBook shipments have increased overall both from the previous quarter and when viewed year over year.

The iPad is doing best in developed countries: 95 percent of all shipments of the device were to developed regions, and most of that was to North America. Japan’s iPad adoption is very slow, something DisplaySearch VP Chris Connery suggests is due primarily to language issues:

Questions of local language content and language-specific apps have slowed acceptance in this tech savvy region. As other players come to market with tablet PCs it will be interesting to see if they can move beyond the Western-centric nature of Apple’s product and develop an infrastructure to support local needs, especially with the growth of consumer spending in China on personal computing devices.

If the iPad doesn’t appeal to Asian buyers, Apple may be missing a huge opportunity. According to DisplaySearch’s numbers, the markets with the biggest growth in mobile PC shipments are China and Asia-Pacific. Europe, the Middle East and Africa is also on the rise. Making an effort to introduce more content that appeals to non-English speakers would go a long way toward ensuring the future success of iPad in the worldwide market.

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iPads will never be a primary computer as long as they have that crippling dependency on iTunes.

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