Apple iPad Success Could Boost Samsung, Other Manufacturers

Apple's iPad sold more than 1 million units in its first month of release, the sort of success that one analytics company sees as translating into a sales boost for Samsung, whose part went into the device. A robust tablet market could translate into similar success for other manufacturers, with companies such as Dell likely examining iPad component-makers as potential suppliers.

The success of Apple's iPad could translate into a market-share boost for those manufacturers responsible for various parts of the device, according to a new research note from analytics company iSuppli, with Samsung being one of the largest beneficiaries. The iPad sold more than 1 million units in the month following its April 3 general release.

According to analysts, Samsung could be a manufacturer directly benefitting from its iPad association. According to iSuppli, which conducted a teardown of the iPad, Samsung "contributed a power management Integrated Circuit (IC), the S6T2MLCX01 processor voltage regulator" to the device.

"Apple is the kind of product innovation-and very selective in every aspect of its hardware design," Marijana Vukicevic, an analyst with iSuppli, wrote in a May 19 research note. "The company's use of a Samsung part is likely to attract the interest of other electronics brands and manufacturers. This could pave the way for Samsung to become a serious competitor in the power management semiconductor industry and start taking market share from the existing players."

According to iSuppli, power management semiconductors constitute a growing market, with global revenue from the segment expected to rise from $22.4 billion in 2009 to $40.8 billion in 2014. If hardware manufacturers take note of Samsung's component presence in the iPad, it could lead to additional contracts for voltage regulators in PCs, televisions and communications devices.

"Samsung's design win in the iPad by itself is expected to bring almost $9 million worth of power management revenue for the company this year-a total that is expected to double in 2011," Vukicevic added in the research note. "However, this is only the beginning, as Samsung leverages its internal expertise in analog semiconductors, along with its dominant manufacturing resources and prodigious capital spending, to muscle its way back into the power semiconductor market."

Apple claims that sales of the iPad were so robust that it had to delay the iPad's international launch until late May. That demand could be a forward indicator of success for the tablet market; a May research note from Boston Consulting Group suggested that, based on an international survey of potential customers, some 50 percent to 75 percent of customers will purchase a tablet device over the next three years.

Those devices would conceivably come not only from Apple, but manufacturers such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sony. A recent report suggested that HP would release a tablet PC running the recently acquired Palm's webOS operating system as soon as the third quarter of 2010.

If Vukicevic's prediction holds true, then those future tablet manufacturers could leverage components built by Samsung and the other fabricators who contributed to the iPad. That assumes, of course, that tablet PCs develop into a robust and enduring product category-because if not, then those same companies will need to look toward more traditional lines, such as PCs and televisions, to place their power management hardware and other parts.