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Is The iPad Biting Into Computer Sales?

by Sean P. Aune | September 10, 2010September 10, 2010 8:00 am PDT

There have been many reports as of late that PC sales have been slowing, to the point that there is actually a surplus of DRAM chips right now.  While many have believed it has been due to the current downturn in the global economy, at least one analyst is now suggesting that is due in part to the arrival of the iPad and other tablets.

ipad portrait Maynard Um, an analyst with UBS Investment Research, released a note this week that saw him raise his target price from Apple stock from $340 to $350 due to the fact that he sees no evidence that the iPad is cannibalizing Mac sales, but it is causing consumers to delay PC purchases.  “Sales of traditional notebooks appear to be feeling pressure from the iPad, causing a scramble by vendors to launch iPad-like tablets,” Mr. Um wrote.  He went on to add, “We believe that a majority of this impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales as the iPad is priced close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to make purchases within this segment.”

Mr. Um projected that Apple could sell 28 million units of the iPad in 2011, and cautioned that the projection may actually be “conservative.”  We would hasten to add that if the rumor of Apple wanting three million units a month produced next year, the company had better hope they sell more than 28 million units.

I would personally add that while I normally find analysts to be full of hot air, they do occasionally make some sense, and this is one of those times, but I would expand it to all tablets, and not just the iPad.  While an iPad will never really be able to replace a laptop for me in every instance, it does make a nice compliment to my bevy other tech tools for my job.  However, when I look at my non-tech friends and what they do with laptops or netbooks, yes, tablets could easily replace those items for them in a lot of cases.

Mind you that I’m talking the types of people who only check e-mail, browse YouTube for funny videos and so on.  For that consumer demographic, a tablet makes perfect sense, and I am talking all of the various models out there, not just the iPad.  While I imagine the Apple-branded device will pick up the lion’s share of the sales, the overall tablet market does look set to explode over the coming years, and while it will hurt PC sales at first, I would imagine you will see price cuts that will be so significant that it will be hard to say “no” to eventually.

What say you?  Are PC sales about to go even deeper in the tank?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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