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Apple’s iPad is eating notebooks for lunch

The influence of Apple’s iPad (s aapl) on mobile computing is made fairly obvious by the huge numbers of competitor products that we’ve seen from just about every mobile and computer company under the sun, but a new report from Deutsche Bank (s db) makes it even more apparent. Analyst Chris Whitmore reviewed notebook sales in recent years, up to the second quarter of 2011, and found that, when included, the iPad has boosted Apple beyond all laptop makers.

Without iPad sales included, Apple ranks last out of the top six global notebook manufacturers in terms of sales. But once you include the tablet, Apple jumps to the number one overall spot. Including tablets in global PC sales makes sense, because since the iPad’s introduction, sales share of traditional notebook devices among top companies like HP,(s hpq) Acer and Dell (s dell) have either been in steady decline or more or less stagnant.

Even last December, it was apparent that the iPad was propelling Apple’s stake in the mobile PC market higher, and that doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing. Competitors are still having trouble finding a foothold for their own tablets, although some predict that they’ll manage to do so in the next few years. But even if Apple doesn’t have as commanding a lead by then, it will still have secured its spot atop the mobile-computing heap, if trends continue along the path outlined by Whitmore.

A recent report from Jeffries analyst Peter Misek suggests that Apple might be moving toward a unified OS for its desktop/notebook and portable devices as early as next year. I’m still skeptical of this, since it involves a complete overhaul of the Mac line using ARM-based (s armh) processor architecture, which would also necessitate huge shifts on the software side. But the iPad’s continued strong performance is a sign that Apple’s time and money may be better invested in efforts that benefit that platform most. After all, Apple has realized an additional $6 billion in revenue from the iPad alone, according to the company’s most recent earnings call. Predicting what comes next for such a game-changing product isn’t easy, but it definitely makes waiting and watching that much more exciting.

17 Responses to “Apple’s iPad is eating notebooks for lunch”

  1. completely lazy analysis that is only good for folks who want headline grabbing internet traffic…for which i supposed it worked since i clicked (but i’m a subscriber anyways…)

    you see this kind of comparison a lot but it is always a false comparison. a fair comparison is just traditional laptops as this is a true comparison. as some have mentioned and i have agreed, none of you here if you were honest would give up your macbook pro or windows based laptop for a tablet (any brand tablet). at least 99% of you wouldn’t. you would obviously give up your current laptop for a new one. this is the fair mark to be judged. tablets are complimentary devices to laptops, desktops, smart phones, and home entertainment devices. it has its place in the consumer electronics ecosystem but to be completely lazy and put it there just to make apple look good is poor analysis at best and biased at worst. there is very little cannibalization of the notebook market from tablets. everyone i know that owns a tablet (yes, i know this methodology isn’t scientific but you use the same one and see if its any different) owns a laptop too. as with any popular product, its impossible to grow 20%+ y/y in perpetuity. you mature at some point and accept that 50-60M in the US and 200-250M WW per year is a huge number of notebooks. this is true in cars, TVs, refrigerators, toasters, whatever. tablets will reach their market saturation as well…my guess is that their market saturation won’t be similar to laptops, cars, TVs, refrigerators or toasters…all of which have 90%+ household penetration. my guess is that tablets will be like ipods. those that want it and find it useful will definitely get it but it will be far from ubiquitous. ipods were the same. those that wanted and needed one got at least one…likely more than one over the years that it was a hot product. but everyone i knew (again, not scientific) didn’t own one or even felt the need to own one. same thing will happen in tablets. the market will saturate and the sales will be repeat buyers of those that really like the platform…and there’s nothing wrong with that but don’t schedule the laptop funeral just yet.

  2. The comparison is a little disingenuous. It’s a bit like comparing iPods to phones in 2005, because both could play music.

    This analysis only works if you truly believe iPads will replace all notebooks. So far I’m not sure if that’s the case. Tablets by themselves might remain separate, perhaps even niche devices that you use on certain occassions. But overall they might still not become your “main computer” even a few years from now.

    I believe the real transition will be from notebooks to devices similar to Transformer – kind of like detachable notebooks that you can use as a tablet when you want to, but also as a real notebook for work. The tablet alone is mostly useful just if you sit on the couch or in bed. But I still think people will continue to use their “computers” at the office, and there you need the form factor of a notebook.

    But with a device like the Transformer you get the flexibility of also using it in bed as a tablet-only. I hope Samsung and other manufacturers besides Asus will realize this, because I have no use for “just a tablet”. I want something that can actually be my main computer, and as they are, most tablets, including the iPad, can’t live up to that.

  3. Lindsworth Horatio Deer

    Rather simple analysis, but its clear. The Apple iPad has dramatically improved Apple marketshare in terms of devices in the Notebook category.

    Whether or not this translates to a higher revenues remains to be seen in the long term, as more devices in the wild (percentage marketshare) means good business for Apple Apps Store and Apple iTunes and their other services, the major source of revenue as opposed to one-off sales of tablets!!

    Oddly enough, while they are beating Notebooks (laptops, Netbooks,et al) Android is giving them a spanking, deflating the marketshare from 94% in 1Q2010 to 61% in 1Q2011 while Android rises from 2% to 31%, a 27% jump!!!

  4. Laughing_Boy48

    What really needs to be shown on that graph is revenue from each of those companies’ notebook divisions compared to iPad revenue. That’s what will make investors stand up and take notice. To hell with market share or unit sales numbers. Who’s mobile device is making the most money for the company?

    • DonW1234

      The iPad is not that cheap compared to current laptop prices. So it looks like the iPad revenues are in the range of 15% of laptop sales. Not too bad!

  5. Sofia Fenichell

    I think this article is very relevant. Apple has developed a product in the iPad that combined with the wireless keyboard is a next generation laptop. The use case in many respects is similar and in other respects broader. Over time, we may see enterprises adopt iPads with wireless keyboards as the primary mobile computing device that also satisfies the mobile communications use case (Facetime and Skype)

    • not likely. tablets and laptops are two completely different products that have some usage overlap but still have their distinct pluses and minuses. enterprises will never adopt the tablet in its current form as most companies worth its salt don’t care about making their employees less productive with tablets (but at least they can play angry birds!!!) while spending the same amount of money on the hardware. and save your responses about vertical applications. vertical applications are not the mainstream enterprise usage of the computing paradigm. enterprises are what keeps the DESKTOP PC market alive as most companies don’t see a need to give their workers laptops let alone tablets.

  6. Reece Tarbert

    And boo to another “great piece” from Mr. Etherington, who never fails to do do his worst to bring the quality of this site down to “amateur”.

    I mean, “without iPad sales included, Apple ranks last out of the top six global notebook manufacturers in terms of sales”? Hey, no problem, just “include the [iPad] tablet” and “Apple jumps to the number one overall spot”!

    Okay, he’s not the one making the comparison, but why pay attention to some rambling analyst? And more to the point: why stop here? Why not beat the the other sites and make a piece about Apple selling more Apple branded devices than any of its competitors? ;-)


      • because netbooks are just small notebooks. there is no fundamental difference between the two in form factor, usage, and even operating system. tablets are a completely different product category. if you are talking about any device that can surf the web, IM, do email, and read things then smart phones and TVs should be included…but that would be silly

  7. ahow628

    Instead of % of marketshare, these graphs need to show units shipped or sales or something. Marketshare is relative so even if notebook sales were flat or increasing, if iPad sales are more, it looks like a marketshare decrease.

    Boo to confounding statistics.

    • Zach Epiner

      I just paiid $ for $23.87 an iPad 2 32-GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $ 38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $ 657 which only cost me $ 62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from,