Worldwide devices (the combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are projected to reach a whopping 2.35 billion units in 2013, a 5.9 percent increase from 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. The market is being driven by sales in tablets, smartphones, and to a lesser extent, ultramobiles, as PC shipments are on the decline at the moment. Our report covers more of Gartner's industry stats while questioning their position on the coming wave of hybrid notebook-tablets.
Worldwide traditional PC (desk-based and notebook) shipments are forecast to total 305 million units in 2013, a 10.6 percent decline from 2012 , while the PC market including ultramobiles is forecast to decline 7.3 percent in 2013. Yet if you look out to 2014, PC's are still forecasted to be ahead of ultramobiles and tablets, even while the market is experiencing a violent sea change of technologies and devices.
Gartner's study goes on to state that tablet shipments are expected to grow 67.9 percent, with shipments reaching 202 million units, while the mobile phone market will grow 4.3 percent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units.
Tablet & Smartphones Will Face New Market Pressures
Yet according to Gartner's report, the tablet and smartphone markets are beginning to face some challenges as these devices gain longer life cycles. There has also been a shift as many consumers go from premium tablets to basic tablets. The share of basic tablets is expected to increase faster than anticipated, as sales of the iPad Mini already represented 60 percent of overall iOS sales in the first quarter of 2013.
In May we reported that Samsung's strategy to win the tablet war with Apple was going to be based on flooding the market with super cheap tablets over the next two years. We learn this morning that Samsung's invasion lands in the US starting in July at $199.
Apple may be able to drop the price of their standard iPad mini once they introduce their premium iPad mini with a Retina display later this year. That will provide Apple with a full range of price points for the holiday season.
And lastly, it was interesting to note that Gartner's latest study forecasts Apple's combined iOS and Mac OS sales to basically remain at a steady 25% market share until the end of 2014. Considering that many new players will be pushing into the smartphone and tablet space over the next few years along with new operating systems such as Firefox OS, Tizen and others, being able to retain about a 25% hold on the market is rather good for Apple if the stats hold to be true.
Side Note: Traditional PC's and Hybrids
As a side note, Gartner's statistics continue to forecast lower PC sales over the next two years. Although they brush over the coming hybrid notebook-tablet sector as being irrelevant or at best negligible, I think this new segment is being underrated by most.
Secondly, I think that most of us that have been around long enough know that many PC owners of yesteryear purchased PC's for single functionality to handle such tasks as email or to just play video games. .
For most, having the power of a PC in the home was really overkill. So the shift to more specialized devices for simple apps and games was bound to shift sales away from the traditional desktop or notebook.
That's a far cry from actually dooming the PC as being completely irrelevant. The fact that the PC hasn't' fallen off a cliff thus far is a testament to its relevancy in the workplace and for those individuals everywhere who create art, do heavy statistical analysis or simply enjoy a larger display and specialized apps.
The new hybrid segment will be embraced by those in the workplace along with those who want smart value in having a 2 for 1 computer experience. The traditional PC as we know it will definitely morph into a new beast over the next several years – but it won't be dying anytime soon.
At the moment it's completely understandable that Apple has shown little to no interest in a hybrid-MacBook because their iPad is one of their top product and profit leaders. In stark contrast, all of the PC players are just sitting on the sidelines at the moment unable to mount any kind of meaningful counterattack.
Yet with consumers getting a 2 for 1 computer deal with a hybrid notebook-tablet
this Christmas at almost the price of an iPad, if not cheaper, the traditional PC players may be able to push back and gain back their respective customer
bases over time.
Unfortunately, until such a scenario actually occurs in the market, Apple will see very little value in endorsing such a product or giving it any credence whatsoever. Though Apple isn't stupid either: they have a backup plan if it's ever needed.
Yet at the end of the day, that's Apple thinking about Apple and their shareholder's interests, which is legitimate of course. However, as a consumer, I know what'll work best for my needs and a hybrid is high on that list. If Apple obliges and delivers a hybrid notebook-tablet I may very well be first in line to buy one. But until such time, one of those new PC hybrids will fit in rather nicely with my many Apple products just fine.
While the stats are clearly indicating that the PC may be in store for a rocky ride over the years ahead, I think that that the hybrid will help this sector finally stabilize and find its place in the market that's exploding in so many new directions.
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