With the Mac and iPad sales combined, Apple is poised to become the largest PC vendor on the planet by the second half of the next year. On Monday, research company Canalys claimed that Apple is about to overtake HP and get on top in the global PC market, based on projected sales of the company’s Mac lineup as well as the iPad, should the tablet be categorized as a personal computer. As of the third quarter of 2011, Apple already occupies the second place among global PC makers, with the iPad sales included.
The company’s PC market share has grown from 9 to 15% in just a year. However, iPad shipments in its core U.S. market are likely to come under pressure in the fourth quarter, as the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet were launched at highly competitive price points, analyst Tim Coulling suggests. Though he sees Apple and HP fighting for the leading position in the fourth quarter, Apple may have to wait till the rumoured iPad 3 is launched before it slips past HP.
By Canalys’ estimate, global PC shipments in 2011 will reach 415 million, which is 15% up since the previous year, mainly thanks to the wide popularity of tablets, such as Apple’s iPad. By the end of this year, tablet shipments will expectedly total 59 million, with 22 million alone arriving in the fourth quarter.
Back in July, industry insiders suggested that iPad sales would help Apple surpass HP to become the world’s largest mobile PC sellers in 2012. For those projections to come true, the company was supposed to ship 15 million MacBooks and 60 million iPads in the next year.
As Canalys predicts, tablet sales will be once again dominated by the iPad in the fourth quarter, though the recently launched Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet will also reportedly boost sales, which is consistent with a research issued earlier Monday that claims the Kindle Fire release to increase tablet demand to 130% from 2010.
Sales of tablets competing with the iPad may be pushed up by the release of Android 4.0, the firm notes. However, the timing of the ICS launch could also hurt vendors seeking to make profit on increasing demand for tablets in the holiday buying season. While most Android tablets available run version 3.1 at the moment, many tablet producers aren’t forthcoming on when the devices will be updated to run Android 4.0, if ever.
The firm also sees Intel’s ultrathin Ultrabook as the device that is about to drive notebook sales over the next five years, while its differentiated appearance should prompt some users to upgrade. However, prices for the Ultrabook have to drop considerably to make it popular. Being currently around $800, the least expensive models are a real barrier to mass consumer uptake. Once component costs drop, Intel will achieve consumer prices, as more vendors adopt the Ultrabook design.