Hate the iPad, Just Not for Weakening the PC Market

Paul Lilly

Diehard Windows PC users, and Maximum PC readers in particular, aren't known for being shy in sharing their disdain for the evil empire known as Apple. Reasons are many: misleading advertisements, overpriced gear (the so-called 'Apple tax'), proprietary architecture, snooty iPhone owners, and the list goes on. Naturally, this contempt extends over to the iPad by those who wish bad things on Apple, which some consider the anti-PC. No keyboard? Oversized iPod touch? iTunes? Whatever your reason(s), it's fine if you choose to hate on the iPad, just don't blame Apple's tablet for weakening the PC market.

According to market research firm NPD , the PC market is anemic, but not because of the iPad. Going by the numbers, only 14 percent of early iPad adopters abandoned a PC purchase for an iPad, and that number dropped to 12 percent of iPad owners who picked one up over the past holiday season. Even cannibalization of netbooks is down 50 percent among recent iPad buyers compared to early adopters.

"The explosion of computer sales when Windows 7 launched, as well as the huge increase in netbook sales at that time, are much more to blame for weak consumer PC sales growth than the iPad," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "Overall it appears that the vast majority of iPad purchases to date have been incremental to the consumer technology industry."

NPD also debunked the myth that Apple's iPad is eating into low-priced notebooks, pointing out that "the over $500 Windows consumer notebooks market is where PC sales have been impacted the most, with a 25 percent decline from October 2010 to March 2011."

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