Will the iPad more than double Apple’s computer market share?

The iPad has been selling like hot cakes for over a month now, and is about to become available in nine countries, besides the US.  Some analysts are predicting strong international sales, as the device becomes available in these new markets, and I can’t say that I blame them for doing so.  The iPad has become an elusive item to find in store in the US, with many Apple Stores being out of stock, specially of the 3G models.

Recently analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets revised his estimates for iPad sales in 2010 from 5 to 8 million unites sold.  Selling 8 million iPads in 2010 would mean that Apple would have essentially doubled the number of  computers sold from 2009 to 2010, and that is considering that Mac sales aren’t significantly up this year.     If we remember how many new customers Apple added to the Mac family of computers from the ranks of iPod users, it would not be unexpected to see Mac sales increasing this year as well.

Now, some will not consider the iPad a general purpose computer as it requires that the user have a access to a desktop or notebook computer to activate, backup and update it through iTunes.  While this does diminish the iPad’s capability of being a person’s only computer it certainly doesn’t change its ability to be a person’s smaller, more portable companion, a position previously occupied by netbooks.  I’ll recognize that netbooks, specially the more capable 10 to 11.6 inch models, have a chance of being a light user’s only computer, but the iPad offers other advantages to users that already have notebooks such as lighter weight and the form factor that lends itself very well to reading.

Others might argue that since it runs a mobile operating system it isn’t a real computer and should not be counted as such, after all we don’t count iPhone sales towards the number of computers that Apple has sold.  That is a valid point, though I believe the iPad’s size goes well as a counter-point to this argument.

All in all, I don’t think that Apple will give a damn how people choose to see iPad sales.  However anyone chooses to categorize them, they will be huge.  Despite how you wish to look at it, there will be a lot of people that will choose not to buy another computer because they have purchased an iPad.  Either because they don’t need that computer anymore as the iPad is fulfilling whatever needs they had or because they already spent the budget they had.  As Apple dominates sales of high-end (over $1000) computers in the US, they seem less likely to loose sales of desktops and notebooks then most other personal computer manufacturers.

However you look at it, Apple seems to be in just the right position to claim a much larger share of the overall personal computer market in 2010 and quite probably in 2011 then it did in 2009.  It will certainly be a much larger piece of the pie than anyone outside Apple could have been expecting.

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2 Responses to “ “Will the iPad more than double Apple’s computer market share?”

  1. Thomas says:

    Categorizing the iPad a computer because of its size is non-sense and the size argument is a weak counterclaim at best.

    iPad sales may be through the roof, but it is an appliance, not a general purpose computer.

  2. Mauricio Longo says:

    Well, as it has no specialized function then is should be described as a general purpose computing appliance. That seems a bit contradictory, according to the Merriam-Webster definition for the term “appliance”. Hummm… I wonder how else we could describe a computing device that isn’t specialized on any specific task…

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