iPad will not hurt netbook sales in 2010, Gartner says


Tablets such as the Apple iPad will not impact netbook sales this year and will not make a significant mark on the segment until 2013, according to Gartner.

By this point, the devices will have functionality more similar to netbooks - or what the analyst firm calls mini-notebooks - and prices will be more affordable, said Raphael Vasquez, research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

The most likely outcome will see around 10 million such "media tablets" shipped in 2010 with greater uptake afterwards, the organisation suggested.

In Gartner speak, media tablets like the iPad differ from tablet PCs in that the latter run on a "full-function operating system (OS)" such as Windows 7, while the former uses a "restricted-function OS" like iPhone or Chrome.

Earlier this month, IDC predicted that tablets will not sell as well as laptops, even by 2014 when 398 million portable PCs are expected to be shipped.

Vasquez said that the netbook segment will be affected by "increasingly competitive ultralow-voltage products, the decreasing prices of all mobile PCs and the maturing preferences of consumers".

Gartner has projected that netbooks will account for almost a fifth of mobile PC shipments in 2010 but their share will steadily decrease after this year, falling to 13.9 per cent in 2014.

Despite this decline, another report from Gartner earlier this week showed that netbooks were a big boost to the mobile PC market, as shipments grew by 71 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 over the same period in 2009.

Meanwhile, the analyst firm has predicted a 22 per cent increase in worldwide PC shipments in 2010 over last year. The market will be boosted by consumer purchases as the home PC segment outpaces the professional sphere.

"In the downturn, PCs remained the electronic device of choice on which to spend household income in mature markets, and we do not expect this to change either in 2010 or beyond," said Ranjit Atwal, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

"In the professional PC market, the aging life of PCs will drive replacements. Organisations will find it tougher to further extend PC life cycles without incurring more costs," he added.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.