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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

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.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?