Apple's iPad 2 reignites post-PC discussion

Gartner has lowered its worldwide PC shipment forecast for the year, while a financial analyst believe iPads will hurt Macs

Gartner on Thursday lowered its growth forecast for worldwide PC shipments in 2011, joining a growing number of analysts who believe Apple's iPad 2 will bridge the remaining gap between laptops and tablets this year.

The research firm said that worldwide PC shipments will grow at a slower-than-expected rate as users opt for a wider variety of "PC alternatives" such as the iPad to meet their computing needs. Gartner is forecasting PC shipments to total 387.8 million units this year, growing by 10.5 percent compared to 2010. Gartner previously projected 15.9 percent growth for this year.

"We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, in a statement.

The forecast update comes just a day after Apple launched iPad 2, the successor to the wildly successful iPad, which started shipping about a year ago. By the end of 2010, iPad shipments totaled around 15 million units, with the popularity of the tablet sparking discussion that the market is entering a post-PC era where tablets will increasingly be the focus.

The iPad 2 contains a dual-core A5 processor running at 1GHz, and provides twice the processing power and nine times better graphics than its predecessor. The new tablet is able to play back 1080p high-definition video, a task many netbooks and entry-level laptops and PCs still struggle with. Netbook shipments are already getting clobbered by tablets, with both devices competing for consumer dollars.

The iPad 2 could also bite into Apple's Macintosh and iPhone shipments, and both product lines are potentially at risk, wrote financial analyst Brian Marshall of Gleacher and Company, in a research note on Thursday.

"The iPad has successfully integrated the functionality of a slimmed down notebook into a media player form factor and has effectively rendered a ... portion of the Mac (and potentially the iPhone) product family obsolete," Marshall wrote.

IPhones and Macs generated 64 percent of Apple's total revenue in calendar year 2010, Marshall wrote.

The post-PC theme was evoked by Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, who in a Wednesday blog entry, said that iPad 2 would help Apple get 80 percent share of the U.S. tablet market in 2011. Epps projected 24 million tablet sales in the U.S. this year.

"In a post-PC world, consumers have a more intimate relationship with their devices. They use them on the couch and in bed and not just at their desk," Epps wrote. "Fostering that desire is a smart way to differentiate your piece of glass from other pieces of glass that perform essentially the same functions."

Stifel financial analyst Doug Reid is projecting worldwide tablet shipments to reach 58 million units this year. Apple will achieve 53 percent market share in 2011, compared to the 94 percent share it had last year.

"We expect demand for Flash, 4G, and Android-based tablets and aggressive price competition from ... competitors (Samsung, LG, HTC) to drive [Apple] market share lower," Reid wrote in a research note.

Apple's iPad 2 comes with a 9.7-inch screen, and runs on an internally developed dual-core A5 chip, which is based on the ARM architecture. The tablet faces competition from tablets due out this year running Google's Android 3.0. Motorola last month started shipping the Xoom, the first tablet available with Android 3.0. Hewlett-Packard, Research In Motion and Dell are among the companies that will ship tablets later this year.

Besides tablets, smartphones such as Motorola's Atrix 4G are also being pitched as alternatives to PCs. The Atrix , which runs on a dual-core ARM processor, could be plugged into a dock with an 11.6-inch screen and keyboard to give laptop-like functionality to the smartphone.

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 GartnerApplehardware systemstablet PCslaptopsdesktop pcs

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

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?