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Is the iPad really killing netbook sales?

Apple iPad

By Barry Collins

Posted on 7 May 2010 at 07:39

A new piece of research by Morgan Stanley claims that the Apple iPad has cannibalised sales of netbooks.

The research shows that the growth of netbook sales has stalled sharply since the announcement of the iPad in January. While the low-budget laptops enjoyed growth as high as 179% in December 2009, that figure was reduced to only 5% last month.

However, the figures - published in Fortune magazine - show the decline in netbook growth actually started last summer, long before the iPad was even heard of.

In July 2009, netbooks recorded spectacular growth of 641%, declining reasonably steadily to 337% by November and slipping below triple digits by January this year. The figures also fail to take into account the seasonal trend of sales slowing after the busy Christmas period.

This suggests that the decline may simply reflect the maturity of the netbook market, rather than the adverse impact of the Apple tablet.

Nevertheless, Morgan Stanley backs up its claims about the iPad's impact with survey results suggesting that 44% of iPad owners bought the device instead of a laptop. The iPod touch (41%), eBook readers (28%), desktop PCs (27%) and videogame consoles (17%) were also sacrificed for the iPad.

Apple claimed earlier this week that iPad sales had surpassed a million units, reaching that milestone at more than double the pace of the iPhone.

The iPad has yet to go on sale in the UK, with Apple pushing back the international launch date in order to meet demand for the device in the US. The company is due to start taking orders in the UK on Monday.

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User comments

Again, something we can't buy is outselling something we already have.

I wouldn't trade my netbook for an iPad, since it can't backup photos to my USB toughdrive and having been burned by Apple's "camera connector" for the iPod - I won't make that mistake again.

And swap my eBook reader for a heavier LCD screen I couldn't read in direct sunlight? No. I read my eBook in the bath, and since the "immersion sensor" in the iPhone apparently invalidates warranty from being in a steamy room, I imagine the iPad is the same. Plus, I have not heard anything about eBooks from other sources (than iTunes) being available.
The reason I am okay with the iPod/iPhone is that you can load your own CD's and MP3's into iTunes, so I can download music from Play, Amazon, 7Digital etc. being caught in an overpriced monopoly doesn't appeal.

If the iPad had a camera, buttons on the rear and a much lower price tag, it would be a serious contender for best mobile gaming platform, but currently it's a jack-of-all, master-of-none device.

By cheysuli on 7 May 2010

Maybe

Well I have an iPad and I'm selling my netbook, so maybe it's true!

@cheysuli - if you are using an eBook reader in the bath you are nuts! Also, the iPad has loads of apps for eBooks, including Amazon Kindle and generic readers. The UK bookstore is sure to follow soon.

By Stiggy on 7 May 2010

Lol what?

ipad instead of "desktop PCs (27%)"?

By Lomskij on 7 May 2010

Impulse buy?

There is little doubt that the iPad would have a certain amount of sex appeal if you came across it in a store. It's limitations only become apparant after purchase.
Given that a lot of computer replacements occur without "need", it is entirely feasible that a consumer may go out plannning to buy a replacement desktop and choose to purchase either a netbook or iPad on the basis if the increased flexibility or convenience.
My wife recently purchased a 17" Laptop purely because it had a seperate numeric keypad.
Whatever floats your boat is my son's expression for this (though I thought all boats float on water!).

By milliganp on 7 May 2010

Camera?

Why does anyone want an iPad with a camera? I can imagine no circumstances where I would carry an A4 size unit for taking snaps or video. The only possible use for a camera on an iPad is a front facing one for video calls, but beyond that, Apple made the right decision not to include one. Missing USB is a big problem though.

By Mat1971 on 7 May 2010

Back from US

Came back from the US, willing to buy the ipad if it was an interesting toy! Apple can do design, thats for sure! It's attractive. It's good size and wifi works well... BUT lack of flash was really annoying... and BBC website is my homepage. Acceptable with phones but not with what should be competing with laptops (netbooks).

It's heavy. Even cradling in your arms, it's heavy. If it ran osx I could deal with the weight, but as a glorified browser... unacceptable.

So I declined. On my flight back I sat next to someone who bought one. He was watching a film and trying to lean the thing on the tray table against the seat. The lady in front moved and bam! On a plane, it's not good. You could carry the cradle but travelling light is high on the agenda for many.

I could see this being attractive to people who use computers EXTREMELY lightly... literally light emails and not storing anything.

One thing though, the keyboard was actually quite good... as it's a decent size and mistyping was minimal.

I appreciate the design and long term it might well be the future but as it is now, it's only fit for Dom Jolly to make his comeback with!

By mcmpro1 on 7 May 2010

Back from US

Came back from the US, willing to buy the ipad if it was an interesting toy! Apple can do design, thats for sure! It's attractive. It's good size and wifi works well... BUT lack of flash was really annoying... and BBC website is my homepage. Acceptable with phones but not with what should be competing with laptops (netbooks).

It's heavy. Even cradling in your arms, it's heavy. If it ran osx I could deal with the weight, but as a glorified browser... unacceptable.

So I declined. On my flight back I sat next to someone who bought one. He was watching a film and trying to lean the thing on the tray table against the seat. The lady in front moved and bam! On a plane, it's not good. You could carry the cradle but travelling light is high on the agenda for many.

I could see this being attractive to people who use computers EXTREMELY lightly... literally light emails and not storing anything.

One thing though, the keyboard was actually quite good... as it's a decent size and mistyping was minimal.

I appreciate the design and long term it might well be the future but as it is now, it's only fit for Dom Jolly to make his comeback with!

By mcmpro1 on 7 May 2010

Surely some mistake

The last sentance in the last paragraph:-

"The company is SUE to start taking orders in the UK on Monday."

Not a hard mistake I suppose since most articles these days contain the words 'Apple' and 'sue'

By DagMiller on 7 May 2010

Typo corrected

Apologies. Error now corrected. Sue had nothing to do with it:)

Barry Collins
Online Editor

By Barry_Collins on 7 May 2010

Jobs must feel himself...a god!

No wonder he no doubt regards Adobe as the 'Gordon Brown' of corporations and Flash developers as the monkeys banging a plugin on a rock to the left of him standing upright on the wallchart.

By Alperian on 7 May 2010

They've just announced pricing and...

Surprise! They're starting price is £90-£134 higher than the US!

Apple's suggested retail prices are as follows:

£429 (inc. VAT) for 16GB Wi-Fi iPad [$499 = £340 (+£90)]

£499 (inc. VAT) for 32GB Wi-Fi iPad [$599 = £408 (+£91)]

£599 (inc. VAT) for 64GB Wi-Fi iPad [$699 = £476 (+£123)]

£529 (inc. VAT) for 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad [$629 = £428 (+£101)]

£599 (inc. VAT) for 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad [$729 = £497 (+£102)]

£699 (inc. VAT) for 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad [$829 = £565 (+£134)]

@stiggy - I'm not nuts I read in the bath, not under water!

@Mat1971 - the camera and buttons on the rear would make it a gaming platform contender. Currently it doesn't do anything well. It's a bulky expensive iPod that REALLY shows finger marks.

By cheysuli on 7 May 2010

The 32Gb WiFi is only 4% more

after you take the VAT off the UK sales price. Anyhow, I need one as I want a bigger iPhone for the apps I use for work. It won't be used as a replacement for anything.

By SwissMac on 8 May 2010

I read this article about how a netbook still beats an iPad at the following link:-

http://www.laptopreviews.org.uk/laptop-news-uk/ipa
d-kill-netbook/

And I quite agree with what's mentioned. May be when the initial excitement about the tablet dies down, users might go back to relying on netbooks.

By trinitynick on 11 May 2010

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