A new Canalys study published today forecasts that tablets will almost out ship all other PC form factors combined next year, forming almost 50% of the total client PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets). The good news is that Canalys acknowleges that Apple is one of the only companies making any money from this boom.
Tablet domination is set to continue, with Canalys forecasting 285 million units to ship in 2014, growing to 396 million units in 2017. Apple and Samsung are expected keep ahead of their competitors in the medium term, but there could be challenges for both vendors as competition in the tablet market continues to heat up.
According to Canalys, Apple has maintained its top vendor position throughout 2013, and the launch of the iPad Air and new iPad mini will strengthen that position in Q4. Its desktop and notebook business has remained stable while other vendors have seen their shipments deteriorate.
However, Apple's prioritization of protecting gross margins will see its PC market share continue to decline. Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling stated that "Apple's decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model. Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA this quarter and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future."
Yet on the tablet front, Coulling noted that "Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom. Premium products attract high value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics."