iPad 'cannibalised' Q2 netbook sales
But will the surge last?
Market watcher Gartner this week presented further evidence that early adopter enthusiasm for netbooks has peaked.
"Mini-notebook shipment growth slowed significantly in Q2 2010," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.
Growth, she said, "slowed" to the low 20 per cent range, down from more than 70 per cent in Q1 2010 and Q4 2009. This, she added, indicates that the netbook market has begun to mature.
Kitagawa laid the blame for the slowdown in netbook shipments - not to mention some notebook shipments too - on Apple's iPad, which went on sale in Q2,
"Surging popularity of Apple's iPad temporarily cannibalised mini-notebooks, as well as consumer notebook sales to some degree," she said, but cautiously questioned whether this will continue given how much more expensive such media-centric tablets are in comparison to netbooks.
Gartner said it saw "no signs" that the iPad is eating into Apple's US Mac sales, and the fact that the tablet is taking sales away from rival manufacturers' products is clearly a big win for the company.
And crucially, we'd add, a sign that the iPad isn't solely selling to fanboys.
Of course, because Gartner doesn't consider the iPad a personal computer, it doesn't include iPad sales in its PC market numbers. We'd argue that the iPad - and comparable tablets from other vendors when they come - are personal computers, and if Gartner is going to include netbook shipments it has to include tablets too.
The picture it presents of the world personal computer market will not be complete until it does.
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa - bizarrely combined given the very different nature of the market in these regions - netbook continued to account for around 20 per cent of the mobile computer market, with Asus, Samsung and Sony scoring the top three netbook vendor slots. ®
Wouldn't ULV laptops fall into either Gartner's 'mini-notebook' or 'notebook' category? Gartner claims growth in both categories has slowed, so the only way new products in those categories could explain that is if people didn't like the new products.
If I were looking for a non-iPad explanation for why growth is slowing in notebooks and netbooks, I'd probably just go with good 'ol market saturation.
Can you still buy netbooks?
You know the less than 1.2 kg, 9" - 10" screens things with SSD instead of HDD.
Take that back!
"And crucially, we'd add, a sign that the iPad isn't solely selling to fanboys."
How dare you come in here and spread such malicious rumours! Take it back, this instant!
It's not possible for any rational being to buy an iPad, or any other piece of crApple kit because they're all overpriced for the specifications, therefore anyone who buys any crApple kit *must* be a fanboi.
Gartner correct, for once
"We'd argue that the iPad - and comparable tablets from other vendors when they come - are personal computers, and if Gartner is going to include netbook shipments it has to include tablets too."
Nope, it's a device/appliance - take your pick. I have no way of legitimately changing the OS or, more importantly, installing what I like on it therefore it is not a PC but a device/appliance (much like the iTouch) with an embedded OS. Other vendors' tablets will likely be regardable as PCs as they won't be hamstrung in this way.
iPad not a PC?
Hm. As an iPad owner, Gartner has a point there. The iPad requires a "mothership" computer to even set up, let alone function, and the mothership has to be running iTunes. The primary counter-argument would be that it doesn't need to dock with the mothership very often.
Then again, you can use the silly thing all day long and get actual work done on it (for certain values of "work") and perform useful non-work tasks. I've taken it on an extended weekend trip and didn't miss the laptop. It may not be your cup of tea (or coffee on this side of the pond), but sales figures suggest a lot of other people are happy with it.