updated 10:00 am EST, Mon November 29, 2010
Gartner lowers 2010 PC estimates due to iPad
The iPad's influence on the market has led to a direct drop in the estimated sales for this year and next, Gartner said today. It lowered its estimates for PC shipments in 2010 down to 352.4 million as a direct result of tablets; the number was still up 14.3 percent from last year but down from a 17.9 percent jump estimated as recently as September. Analysts also dropped their guesses for 2011 from 18.1 percent growth to 15.9 percent for similar reasons.
Gartner didn't expect tablets to completely replace computers, but it saw as many as 10 percent of PCs being converted to tablets by 2014. Research director George Shiffler directly accused Windows PC makers of not anticipating the tablet market and of focusing too much on cut-rate systems where Apple and a handful of others were focusing on features and quality right as they were becoming necessary.
"PCs are still seen as necessities, but the PC industry's inability to significantly innovate and its overreliance on a business model predicated on driving volume through price declines are finally impacting the industry's ability to induce new replacement cycles," the director said. "As the PC market slows, vendors that differentiate themselves through services and technology innovation rather than unit volume and price will dictate the future. Even then, leading vendors will be challenged to keep PCs from losing the device 'limelight' to more innovative products that offer better dedicated compute capabilities."
Tablets were most likely to bracket computers at both the low and high end. "Mature" markets were more likely to have buyers that could afford to skip computer refreshes more often in favor of a tablet, while those in developing countries might simply jump directly to a tablet for the lower price. Apple is less likely to play a role in these areas since its devices are still dependent on a computer to get setup and to sync.
Android is likely to get significantly more share in 2011 after Acer, HTC, LG and Motorola all enter the tablet arena, but the effect on 2010 can be attributed almost exclusively to Apple, which as of the summer had 95.5 percent of the tablet category, even when including the entire Windows tablet PC industry. The Galaxy Tab has moved 600,000 units but is already estimated by Samsung to be on the decline.