Apple Tops Mobile PC Rankings When iPad is Included: DisplaySearch

Apple, not Hewlett-Packard, took the top spot in DisplaySearch's Mobile PC ranking for the fourth quarter of 2010, thanks to iPad sales.

That the Apple iPad dominated the tablet market during the fourth quarter of 2010 is fairly a given these days, but likely less known is that the company's notebooks also shipped at a rate that well exceeded the industry average, according to a Feb. 16 report from research firm DisplaySearch, an arm of the NPD Group. With the firm deciding-as Canalys recently did-to count tablets in its mobile PC rankings, Apple's one-two punch earned it top billing.

Apple shipped more than 10.2 million notebook and tablet PCs, combined, during the quarter, reported Display Search, putting it more than a million units ahead of Hewlett-Packard-the company more accustomed to the No. 1 seat.

"While we anticipate increased competition in the tablet PC market later this year with the introduction of Android Honeycomb-based tablets, Apple's iPad business is complementing a notebook line whose shipments widely exceed the industry average growth rate," said Richard Shim, a senior analyst at DisplaySearch. "Apple is currently benefiting from significant and comprehensive growth from both sectors of the mobile PC spectrum, notebooks and tablet PCs."

Worldwide mobile PC shipments for the quarter-the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and other tablets included-totaled 59.6 million units, a jump of 8 percent quarter-on-quarter and 17 percent year-on-year. With the tablets figured in, however, the market's quarter and yearly increases fall to 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Following Apple were HP, Acer and Dell, in that order, followed by a fifth-place Toshiba-the only other brand, other than Apple, to post year-on-year shipment growth. Collectively, the top five companies accounted for 65.4 percent of the total mobile PC market.

HP shipped 9.3 million units, for nearly 16 percent market share, and right behind it, Acer shipped 8.4 million units, for 14 percent market share. Dell shipped 5.9 million units, for 9.9 percent market share, and Toshiba grabbed 8.6 of the market, with a shipment of 5.1 million units.

While there has been much talk of whether tablets will or are cannibalizing the notebook and netbook markets, DisplaySearch's Shim noted that, given Apple's success in both markets, "Cannibalization seems limited at this point."

Taking the idea a step further, Apple COO Tim Cook joked during the company's fiscal 2011 first-quarter conference call Jan. 18 that were Apple's Mac team a separate company trying to build a device to compete against the iPad, what it would build is the MacBook Air.

"Cannibalization," Cook added, "is not something that we're spending one minute on here."

During the quarter, Apple sold 4.13 million Macs and 7.33 million iPads.