Can we blame the iPad yet for slowing PC sales?

Doom-and-gloom PC prophecies tend to blame the iPad for laptop declines, but IDC and Gartner aren't sounding the alarms

Doom-and-gloom PC prophecies tend to blame the iPad for laptop declines, but IDC and Gartner aren't sounding the alarms just yet.

Both firms placed only partial blame on Apple's tablet for lower-than-expected PC shipments, which in the United States fell by 6.6 per cent over the last three months according to Gartner and 4.8 per cent according to IDC. Among the contributing factors besides the iPad, according to the two firms: tight recession spending, a waning netbook market and decisions to spend discretionary income on other things besides a PC upgrade.

(Belt-tightening, by the way, didn't seem to affect Apple's Mac sales, which grew at a higher rate over the last three months than the same period last year.)

As Apple Insider notes, both firms seemed careful to avoid calling out the iPad specifically for the PC market's woes, using the term "media tablet" instead and labeling it as one product people might decide to buy instead of a laptop. Speaking to Computerworld, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa resisted the term "cannibalization" to describe the iPad's impact, saying that people were putting off PC purchases after buying the tablet, but not replacing the PC outright.

I agree with Apple Insider that avoiding mentions of the iPad when discussing tablets seems silly, given that most other vendors are just now finalizing their tablet plans. But the research firms aren't ignoring the tablets either. IDC research director David Daoud said in a statement to Computerworld that "a wave of media tablets could put a dent in the traditional PC market."

That's the right call. New categories of computer products are always going to have an affect on existing products -- back when netbooks were the hot trend, talk of laptop cannibalization abounded -- and the only way the iPad would be an exception is if people were not interested at all. Clearly, that's not the case.

But with global PC shipments at around 350 million in 2010 according to Gartner, compared to roughly 10 million iPads sold, the sky isn't falling on laptops just yet.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GartnerAppleIDChardware systemstablet PCslaptopsapple ipadtablet PC

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?