ANALYST OUTFIT Canalys has named Apple as the largest PC vendor by counting Ipad shipments as PCs.
Apple's recent runaway success with the Ipad has overshadowed steady growth for the firm's desktop and laptop business. However Canalys thought now is the time to include tablets when comparing PC vendors, which puts Apple in the pole position ahead of HP.
Canalys estimated that 120 million PCs were shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 16 per cent increase from the same period in 2010. Apple's share of total PC shipments was 17 per cent, with Canalys breaking that down to 15 million Ipads and five million Macs.
Such was the popularity of tablets last year that Canalys claimed that without accounting for their sales the global PC market declined 0.4 per cent. The firm also referred to the devastating floods in Thailand as a reason for lower than expected PC shipments.
Tim Coulling, an analyst at Canalys also cast doubt on whether Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 will be a consumer hit, saying, "Questions remain over Microsoft's entry into the consumer pad space. While early demonstrations of the Window 8 operating system seem promising, Microsoft must focus its efforts on creating an intuitive user experience that is far less resource intensive."
Coulling specifically referred to HP as following a "Windows strategy for its pad portfolio", suggesting that the firm should not bank on enjoying the same success it has had in the traditional desktop and laptop markets. Canalys put Lenovo in third place and catching up to HP, with Dell and Acer in fourth and fifth spots respectively.
Intel's ultrabook specification won't see much favour in the first half of 2012, as Canalys claimed lower prices are needed in order to shift the thin and light laptops. With tablets already making up 22 per cent of Canalys' PC shipment estimates that doesn't leave much room for other devices to grow market share, and according to the firm Amazon's Kindle Fire pulled its weight to bump up those shipment figures.
Canalys' decision to include tablets in its PC shipment estimates will surely raise a few eyebrows. However given that ultrabooks are in close competition with tablets such as Asus' Transformer and real world budgetary considerations meaning that consumers will often choose either a tablet or a laptop but not both, it is perhaps a sign that tablets are no longer a niche product for show-offs. µ