updated 12:35 pm EST, Tue December 7, 2010
DisplaySearch says Apple no 3 in portables w iPad
Merging the iPad with Apple's notebook shipment numbers would make it the third-largest portable computer maker in the world, DisplaySearch said in a new study. Adding the 4.2 million tablets would give Apple 6.3 million shipments, it said, pushing it above Dell (6.1 million) and Toshiba (4.3 million). The result was actually low as it was based on preliminary figures; Apple's official results saw it ship over 2.6 million MacBooks and nearly 4.2 million iPads, or 6.8 million portables in total.
Either figure wouldn't be enough to upset HP or Acer, which at first and second place were expected to move 9.5 million and 9.1 million notebooks each.
The figure in this view would have given the iPad eight percent of the portable market by itself, and more after factoring the Mac into the lineup. Its share was helped by a lack of any comparable tablets from significant rivals, particularly among the top five. Its share was likely to change with the introduction of competitors like the Galaxy Tab, but the summer left it virtually unchallenged.
The situation might change with regional releases. Language support and local content beyond English isn't as strong as for other countries, especially in China and Japan. Apple could lose ground in countries where rivals can better tailor their own tablets to nearby users.
Decisions to include the iPad with notebook statistics have regularly been controversial, both due to the nature of the form factor but also the operating system. Rival analyst groups to DisplaySearch, such as Gartner, often refuse to include iPads or other "media tablets" as they don't use desktop operating systems. DisplaySearch and others have contended that they should be included as they cannibalize netbook sales and often fulfill the same role.