Category: Hardware

Apple's Tablets will not work

In a couple of weeks Apple will finally get around to letting the world + dog have a look at its much  anticipated Tablet PC.

Rumours have been abounding so much in the US press you have to hit them with a frying pan to keep them quiet.

But the reality is really dull. We are talking about a Cortex-A9 chip in the body of a giant iPhone with a 10-inch screen, and a webcam inside which will cost  about $1000.  Nothing to see here, move on please.

Not even Jobs’ Mob can do much with the sad, tired, tablet format other than hype it beyond its capability and hope that enough people and telco partners are daft enough to part with well earned cash to own it.

Apple already had a dismal failure with its Newton product and so has every other company that has tried to make one of the beasts.  Tablets are too big to fit in your pockets and too small do do anything reasonable with.

Hype is what Apple does best.  It has a huge resource in the US media where most hacks use Apple products and believe the spin that somehow they “think different”.  The tame media will write shedloads of copy saying how wonderful and innovative a product is, when clearly it isn’t.  Take for example the Apple TV, or the incredible cracked screened iMacs.

Apple’s tame media machine helped it launch several of its key products, such as the iPod and iPhone, where there was better competition. It is always been on hand to help the outfit as claims of cracked screens, shoddy workmanship, over inflated prices and other criticisms have been levelled at Apple.

However, we are hoping that this tablet thing might be a stunt too far.  At CES we saw wall-to-wall tablets and none of them really impressed anyone. It is the same as it always has been.

Media excitement  however continues as Apple attempts to release an identical product at a price nearly a third higher.

The belief is that Jobs can come down from the mountain with his tablet and the faithful will follow him to the promised land.

True, based on what has happened so far to Apple, this faith might be well-placed.    But we are hoping that at some point someone is going to shout out from the crowd that Jobs is pushing a Tablet, not a cure for cancer, and everyone will stay away in droves.

Then the rather arrogant Apple might be forced to think about its product strategy a bit better and come up with products that someone wants.

Dell continues to bleed market share

Figures from the Gartner Group for PC shipments during the fourth quarter of last year underline continuing weakness for Dell.

While HP showed 19.8 percent market growth in the fourth quarter, and Taiwanese PC company Acer grew by 13.5 percent, Dell only grew by 11.5 percent, compared to a figure of 13.3 percent in the same quarter in 2008.

This is in the face of the strongest growth rate in seven years in the PC market – although Gartner cautions that the fourth quarter of 2008 was very weak because of the economic crunch.

The growth in the PC market was down to low priced consumer mobile PCs – notebooks and netbooks. Dell’s strength is in the commercial and corporate sector and it declined to join a price war in the market, in a bid to preserve its profits.

The launch of Windows 7 did not create additional PC demand, but, said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, “was a good market tool during holiday sales”.

As far as territories go, the USA and Asia Pacific did best during the fourth quarter – Europe has been slower to recover. Nevertheless all regions showed positive shipment growth.

Ms Kitagawa said: “Aggressive promotion by PC vendors and channels stimulated consumer PC demand. However some vendors made damaging price cuts to increase market share.”

This table is courtesy of the Gartner Group.

Prelim worldwide PC vendor unit ships for Q4 2009 (thousands of units)
Company
Q4 09
Mkt Share
Q4 08
Mkt Share
Growth
HP
17,792.2
19.8%
14,239.9
19.3%
24.9%
Acer
12,188.2
13.5%
8,612.7
11.7%
41.5%
Dell
10,397.1
11.5%
9,839.3
13.3%
5.7%
Lenovo
7,836.5
8.7%
5,509.3
7.5%
42.2%
Toshiba
4,811.9
5.3%
3,668.1
5%
31.2%
Others
37,008.5
41.1%
31,855.4
43.2%
16.2%
Total
90,034.5
100%
73,724.7
100%
22.1%

HP became number one vendor in the US, beating Dell. Dell “struggled to retain its share in the consumer market. Dell had trouble keeping its share in that market and, said Ms Kitigawa, “could not win the severe price battle in the retail space”.

In the US, the top five companies were HP, Dell, Acer, Toshiba and Apple. Apple had a 7.5 percent share in the marketplace for the fourth quarter of 2009.