Last Qtr: Apple iPad Outsells HP’s PCs

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For the 4th calendar quarter in 2011, Apple’s iPad outsold Hewlett Packard’s PCs. This is a trend that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says will continue, and the iPad sales will eventually surpass all PCs.

During Apple’s Earning Call on Tuesday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said, “Over time. And as I’ve said before, I thoroughly believe and many others in the company believe that there will come a day that the tablet market in units is up larger than the PC market.” (For now and for the foreseeable future, the iPad is the tablet market.)

That hasn’t happened yet, but Apple is off to a good start. In the 4th calendar quarter of 2011, the leading PC seller, Hewlett-Packard, sold 14.71 million PCs. Apple, as reported yesterday, sold 15.43 million iPads in the same quarter. So while Apple is far from Mr. Cook’s long term prediction, the company is off to a good start, having passed just one of the PC makers, the biggest maker of PCs in the world, in the holiday quarter.

PC sales data

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster predicts that Apple will sell 48.5 million iPads in FY12 and 62 million in FY13. Even of that turns out to be a mildly conservative estimate, the iPad sales still won’t be enough to surpass the total of all PC sales by 2013, but the trend is now clear and the path is set.



These numbers for iPad sales are dynamite. The iBooks Author announcement and the continued dominance of the iPad tells me that there won’t be smaller form factor for the iPad. Apple doesn’t need to do it because the Kindle Fire hasn’t made much difference. They probably wouldn’t want to fragment the screen size and then have to rework iBooks. The easiest thing to do would be to continue selling last years models at a discount when the new ones come out. If they do this then perhaps the FY12 and FY13 forecasts are too conservative.


iPad sales will eventually surpass all PCs

Tim Cook never said that. He said the tablet market would surpass the PC market. There is a big difference.


There is a big difference.


And Mr. Martellaro clearly stated:

“(For now and for the foreseeable future, the iPad is the tablet market.)” De facto.


skipaq said he expected that

”... there won?t be smaller form factor for the iPad.  Apple ... probably wouldn?t want to fragment the screen size and then have to rework iBooks.”

I wonder if any software reworking actually would be necessary iff Apple has already been designing everything for compatibility with the expected doubled (or quadrupled?) screen resolution of an iPad 3.  So then, wouldn’t a Kindle-sized iPad-Mini, given a much higher screen resolution than what a current iPad 2 has, be able to proportionately display exactly whatever an iPad 2 now can display without any reworking needed?

I have come to agree with John & Ted that an iPad 1/2 is really too heavy & cumbersome for comfortable e-book reading, and significantly inferior in form-factor/ergonomics for that purpose to a Kindle/Nook-sized e-book reader; Apple really DOES need a full-functioned Kindle-sized iPad-Mini.


Skipaq makes a good point about the conservative estimates. Indeed, such is (and should be) the uncertainty surrounding the rate of the iPad’s growth, given the plethora of variables that could affect it, such as iBooks Author, general and iBook-specific e-textbook uptake, emerging markets, enterprise penetration, potential competition from MBA sales, and competing tablets (at this point only the Kindle Fire) that hard estimates are little better than conjecture.

Two things are certain:

1. iPad uptake and marketshare will both increase in 2012

2. Apple’s competition are concerned, as they should be. They face a binary proposition for profit-making in the tablet space. Either they make a compelling alternative to the iPad (and they seem yet to figure out that this requires more than just good hardware, but software and a robust, populated ecosystem - a sterile one devoid of live and active users is still non-compelling); or they provide products and services that support and enhance it.

The alternatives to entering the tablet universe range from unappealing to bleak, depending on the reference frame, including everything from dwindling demand and sales for non-tablet computing products and services to watching a universe of opportunity expand away from one’s business entirely, leaving one in a cold, black void of irrelevance - maybe not by next quarter but the trend is clear.

Skip Paquette

I wonder if any software reworking actually would be necessary iff Apple has already been designing everything for compatibility with the expected doubled (or quadrupled?) screen resolution of an iPad 3.

I am not a programmer and have done little work in writing an app outside of simple things. I based my comment on what Apple announced and what others have said, for example:

“The app exports in three formats: .ibooks, which is a wrapped .epub designed specifically for iPads; PDF; and plain text.” from a review found here:

There may be future iterations of iBooks Author that output to other devices or sizes. Right now only the current iPad is supported. I don’t think it is likely that Apple will introduce a smaller iPad in the near future with the locked down iBooks Author just getting started.

John Martellaro

skipaq: Exactly. It’s been generally assumed that if Apple can make a 9.7-inch iPad display at 2048 x 1536, then a 7-inch display could be made at 1024 x 768 and run all iOS apps without change.

Will Apple make a 7-inch iPad?  Good question.


Because I expect that releasing a full-functioned Kindle-sized iPad-Mini should NOT require any iPad line software reworking & fragmentation (as I suggested in my comment above), I’m therefore expecting Apple will recognize our need for a full-functioned, Kindle/Nook e-book reader-sized iPad-Mini, and so will release such a iPad-Mini soon (in a few months), and will not release the iPad 3 until around the start of the next US school year in the 3rd quarter.

Both iPad formats are needed.


Not sure if “exactly” means you are agreeing with my point of no iPad mini in the near term. As I don’t have an iPad; I am not able to try out these new interactive iBooks. So I am not sure about how these books would look squeezed onto half sized screens. Not sure if typical iOS pinch to shrink/zoom and scroll will work either. If it did work how much would the user experience suffer? I don’t believe there will be a 7-inch iPad if the form factor creates problems like these. After all, this sized screen is best suited for the higher grades in this same market: K-12.

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