updated 10:45 am EST, Mon March 8, 2010
Analysts see no effect on Windows from iPad
Apple's impending launch of the iPad won't have a "rising tide" effect on sales of Windows-based tablet PCs, IDC said in a new estimate today. While the Apple tablet could well be successful, the analysts don't expect that success to spill over to devices like the HP slate or the Lenovo IdeaPad U1. Windows tablets like these will get publicity but no large sales, IDC said.
How well Apple will fare will be harder for the research firm to track. As the iPad doesn't run a desktop operating system, its sales won't count in current metrics as actual computer sales.
Touch also isn't expected to play much of a role in conventional PCs. Desktops and notebooks with touchscreen displays, like HP's TouchSmart line, will gain "little traction" this year as they face a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Customers are hesitant to buy the more expensive systems without a lack of convincing software, but developers haven't been writing apps as touchscreen PCs are still in the minority.
Other aspects of the market are expected to play chiefly in Apple's favor. Sales of all-in-one desktops like the iMac are predicted to double and represent a tenth of the entire desktop computer business this year. Netbook sales, meanwhile, are expected to stall out and slow to the industry average for computer shipment increases. With the artificial limitations imposed by Intel and Microsoft leading to few differences between netbooks, and prices on full-size notebooks narrowing the gap, buyers will have little reason to opt for netbooks.
Other predictions see WiMAX-equipped notebooks overtaking 3G rivals in the year, the continued dominance of DVD in optical drives as a "good enough" option, and a slowdown in the absolute cost declines of computers as healthy demand reduces the incentives to cut prices.