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Analyst: iPad on track to outgrow netbooks

updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue June 8, 2010

Morgan Stanley sees iPad already slowing netbooks

The iPad's sales rate is fast enough that it could grow faster in its first year than netbooks, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty estimated today. Having increased the expected iPad shipments in 2010 from 6 million to 10 million, Huberty estimates Apple could move 13 million to 16 million iPads in the tablet's first full year, or well over the 7.6 million netbooks that sold in that category's first 12 months.

The researcher also updated previous netbook estimates and found that the iPad had an even more destructive effect on netbook sales in the US during April than previously thought. Apple's slate was originally thought to have just flattened growth from year to year, but the netbook market ultimately shrank 13 percent compared to April last year.

Such a drop is not only rare but suggests to Huberty that netbooks may have finally reached their maximum sales potential. Tablets could not only continue to gain momentum but could pass netbooks in 2012, she said.

Part of the popularity could come from the usefulness of the iPad as an actual computing device instead of as a media companion. A typical iPad owner views about 38 web pages per day; the number is nearly as high as for a desktop Linux owner and more than twice as many as for an iPhone user, who visits an average of 18. Windows and Mac users are still prolific at a respective 67 and 117 pages per day.

Morgan Stanley's data doesn't touch on foreign sales, although the iPad didn't ship to other countries until late May. The effect of Apple may be less in these areas regardless, as countries with lower median incomes are less likely to buy a strictly secondary tablet and more likely to want a device that can function more independently, like a netbook. Apple's pricing is also about $200 higher than for a typical netbook and may discourage more cost-sensitive buyers.


By Electronista Staff


  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Theoretically speaking, I suppose the iPad

    could outpace netbooks in the course of a year, but I'm not sure Foxconn has the capacity to produce that many iPads to keep pace with demand. It seems hard to imagine that the iPad could outsell a device like the netbook that was built for cheapsters. I thought that low price was about 90% of the selling point of netbooks. Whatever. If the "cost sensitive" consumer wants some plastic device, that's their choice. 100% of all iPad sales revenue is going into Apple's pocket whereas the netbooks sales revenue were spread over a dozen or so companies each fighting for scraps of the netbook market.

  1. jfgilbert

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Must be a mistake

    That cannot be. We have been told repeatedly in these forums, and by people who are clearly experts, that the limited capabilities of the iPad could not possibly compete with the much better and cheaper netbooks. Indispensable things like USB ports, multitasking, flash, and the ability to install malware from any source are sorely missing and must doom the iPad to rapid oblivion. There must be an error somewhere.

  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    OMFG, the iPad is USEFUL?

    How could that be?

    As jfgilbert mentioned, there are so many things the iPad is supposed to NOT do, have or be capable of doing, it's a wonder Apple sold even ONE (mine!). After all, the famous JooJoo tablet had ALL the things spec sheet gazers drool over and just LOOK how well it did!

    Still, I really don't see iPads overtaking netbook sales any time soon.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: OMFG, the iPad is USEFUL?

    How could that be?

    Since when does 'sales' equate to 'useful'.

    For if you make that argument, you'd have to state that netbooks are actually useful, as they did sell 7 million their first year. And yet everyone claims they are utterly useless, underpowered, and a complete waste.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    I thought the iPad wasn't a netbook, it was so much better. Thus, who cares whether it sells better than the first year of netbooks or not?

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    The iPad

    still has to dock to the Mothership (ie, a PC/Mac/Netbook) to remain functional. It is not a stand alone computing device but a throw-away media appliance like a fancy PDA on steroids. If that works for you, all the glory to you.

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