iPad release set to boost tablet PC demand

According to research firm Gartner, the imminent release of the Apple iPad is set to significantly increase demand for tablet PCs.

Gartner’s initial thinking is that vendors could ship up to 10.5 million traditional tablets and next-generation tablet devices worldwide in 2010.

“Apple’s iPad is just one of many new devices coming to market that will change the entire PC ecosystem and overlap it with the mobile phone industry. This will create significantly more opportunities for PC vendors as well as significantly more threats,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

In other news, worldwide PC shipments are expected to total 366.1 million units in 2010, an almost 20 per cent increase from 2009. PC Spending is also set to rise throughout the year to $245 billion, a 12.2 per cent growth.

These results have been upgraded significantly more than originally thought in December. Previously it was anticipated that a 13.3 per cent and 1.9 per cent growth would occur for shipments and spending respectively.

Shiffler believes the market will be more robust over the next few years as home PC demand accelerates and professional replacement demand recovers.

“The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets,” he said.

“Mini-notebooks are again forecast to boost mobile PC growth in 2010, but their contribution is expected to decline noticeably afterward, as they face growing competition from new ultra-low-voltage (ULV) ultraportables and next-generation tablets. Desk-based PC shipment growth will be minimal and limited to emerging markets.”

Shiffler said that mobile PCs are expected to drive 90 per cent of PC growth over the next three years.

“In 2009, mobile PCs accounted for 55 per cent of all PC shipments; by 2010, we expect mobile PCs to account for nearly 70 per cent of shipments,” he said.

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