Apple beats HP in PC and tablet race

Apple has overtaken HP as the largest supplier of PCs in the global market, according to new figures from analyst firm Canalys.

Apple shipped over 15 million iPads and five million Macs in the fourth quarter of 2011, representing 17% of the total 120 million PCs shipped globally in this period. Apple also grew its market share by 6% year-on-year.

Counting desktops, notebooks, netbooks and tablets, the PC market grew 16% year-on-year, Canalys said, though if tablets are excluded, it declined by 0.4%.

Tablets accounted for 22% of total PC shipments during Q4 2011, said Canalys. Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet by Barnes and Noblesold strongly in the US market, though Apple’s impressive sales figures for the quarter provided the main impetus.

Lenovo was the only other top five vendor other than Apple to increase its market share, with HP, Dell and Acer all seeing their share of the market decline.

“Currently, HP is pursuing a Windows strategy for its pad portfolio, producing enterprise-focused products, such as the recently launched Slate 2, until the launch of Windows 8,” said Canalys analyst Tim Coulling.

“However, questions remain over Microsoft’s entry into the consumer pad space. While early demonstrations of the Window 8 operating system seem promising, Microsoft must focus its efforts on creating an intuitive user experience that is far less resource intensive.”

Acer may be able to boost its flagging figures with its new Ultrabook, the S5, Canalys believes, though adoption could be slow initially.

“We expect Ultrabook volumes to see limited adoption through the first half of 2012, before finally gaining momentum later in the year as price points decline and Intel launches a new line of processors and embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign,” said Canalys Research Analyst Michael Kauh.

“In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple’s annual iPad refresh approaching.”

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