Apple's iPad shakes up mobile PC market

A lack of competing products on the mobile PC market means that Apple continues to benefit from the “iPad effect” which is shaking up the sector.

According to preliminary results from DisplaySearch’s Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report, the iPad reigned with a 12.4 percent share of global mobile PC shipments in Q3.  Its device led Apple to take the number three position worldwide, and rank as number one in North America.

DisplaySearch added that the iPad also accounts for an eight percent share of global shipments of all mobile PCs, while 95 percent of iPad shipments were to developed regions, primarily North America. However, it’s not faring too well in Japan which has had a poor take-up of the device according to DisplaySearch.

Chris Connery, vice president of large format displays at the analyst company, said this is because there is a lack of local language content and language-specific apps which have slowed acceptance in the region

“A lack of competitive tablet PC products from other brands continues to drive Apple’s market share in the mobile PC segment,” he added.  

“As other players come to market with tablet PCs it will be interesting to see if they can move beyond the Western-centric nature of Apple’s product and develop an infrastructure to support local needs, especially with the growth of consumer spending in China on personal computing devices.”

DisplaySearch says challenges Apple is facing in developing regions are because localised content in non-English speaking regions are sparse, and iPad owners must have a PC for downloading content from iTunes.  “As a result, penetration in developing regions will be slow,” DisplaySearch added.

Away from Apple, HP maintained its position as the global leader in mobile PC shipments with 9.5 million units shipped in Q3. This accounted for 17.3 percent market share. Acer followed with 9.1 million units shipped and a 16.5 percent market share. Apple’s MacBook shipments have also increased, but have not had the impact of the iPad.

Without the iPad, says DisplaySearch, Apple’s mobile PC share would be 4.8 percent, ranking it globally as number eight.


Overall worldwide mobile PC shipments (which include tablet PCs) reached 55 million, up 9.6 percent quarter-on-quarter and 19 percent year-on-year. DisplaySearch said this was the highest volume since it first began to track this segment back in 1999.

Although yearly growth was strong it should be noted that new personal computing devices such as netbooks and tablet PCs, as well as lower-priced notebooks, are driving most of the demand.

An exception is high-growth regions such as China, where consumers still favour traditional desktop PC and external monitor configurations, typically purchased as a DIY kit, for home use. However, this could soon change as China too embraces the mobile PC market.