September 2010
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Day September 3, 2010

Estimate: iPad units to overtake netbooks in 2012

According to Gartner, mini notebooks constituted less than 18.0% of the total mobile PC market in the second quarter of 2010, down from 20.0% of the total market at 2009-end. Gartner expects mini notebooks market share to drop to approximately 10.0% by 2014.

However, worldwide PC shipments are projected to total 367.8 million units for the full year 2010,

via Near-Term PC Growth Not Visible – Yahoo! Finance.

Speculation about the iPad production ramp indicates that the iPad will ship about 14 million units this year and 36 million next year. Projecting a forward growth rate of 50% and adding the Gartner forecast above gives us the graph on the left.

The iPad (plus competitors) will likely overtake the sales of mini notebooks as soon as 2012. The collapse in netbook sales is likely to be much more rapid than Gartner suggests.

RIM Torch on pace for 500k units in August

“In our view, investors are missing the way BlackBerries are eating into Nokia’s messaging phone share in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia now that the E-series demand is slowing,” he writes. “We believe the Torch is on pace for 500K units in August,

via Research In Motion: MKM Still Bullish; Cites Growth Outside U.S. – Tech Trader Daily – Barrons.com.

Torch selling 500k units a month may be good news to RIM but it’s hardly a barnburner.

The news about Nokia losing share to RIM is another curious data point. First, because it identifies two competing smartphone classes (E-series and Blackberries) as “messaging phones”. That’s like saying that HP is losing share to Dell in the “email PC” business. Though the classification of general purpose devices by single uses is probably fair here since these devices are not much good for anything else.

Smartphones will outsell PCs next year

If we add Apple’s 230k “activations”, Android’s 200k, Symbian’s 300k and estimating 130k for RIM adds up to 860k per day.

It won’t be long before we’ll see smart mobile devices selling at the rate of 1 million per day (I’d bet by the holidays this year.)

Gartner is estimating the global PC market to total of 367 million units this year (though it may need downward revision based on recent data).

If the 1 million/day benchmark holds, and all indications are that it will, then the total smartphone/iPad/touch market will be greater than the total PC market next year.

Sony wavering on recognizing iPad market

Sony in May:

Sony is “not convinced there is a large enough market to justify bringing out a tablet,”

Sony would say No to Walkman today
Sony in September:

Sony Corp., said yesterday it hasn’t decided yet whether to offer its own tablet computer. It needs to be a “very appealing product that is going to be widely accepted, as opposed to a me-too product,” said Kazuo Hirai, president of Tokyo-based Sony’s Networked Products & Services Group.

Hirai said 23 companies are planning to bring tablet computers to market, making a price war inevitable.

via Samsung, Toshiba `Me-Too’ Tablets Use Price to Fight IPad – Bloomberg

I’d bet that Sony will soon join the stampede to make iPad knockoffs. They probably did not read today’s Appleinsider piece on Apple’s plans to increase iPad production to 3 million units per month.

iPod touch made up 37.7 percent of all iOS devices sold so far

On September 1st, Apple announced that 120 million iOS devices were sold to date.

We know that there were 59.6 million iPhones sold through June (from SEC filings)

We also know that 3.2 million iPads were sold.

If we assume about 8 million iPhones and 4 million iPads were sold during August and July, the total number of iPod touch sold is 45.2 million.

That is 37.7% of total units.

In April I wrote that 41% of all iOS units sold were iPod touch to date.

The expansion of iPhone distribution plus the addition of iPad as reduced the platform footprint for the iPod, but it’s still a sizable chunk. More than one in three iOS units in use are non-cellular devices. As the iPad rolls that number could move toward 50%.

Where are the iPod touch knockoffs?

The latest iOS numbers and the new iPod touch launch demonstrate what a huge hit the iPod touch has become. It’s safe to assume that about half of all iPods, or between 4 and 5 million units in the current quarter, are sold as touch versions.

The iPod touch has been around about as long as the iPhone. It was launched three months after the first iPhone 2G, almost exactly three years ago. While the iPad has been in the market less than six months, a large number of potential competitors have been launched running Android and there seems to be a real rush to market. Six months is about as quickly as any hardware product can be reasonably engineered.

So the question is why is the iPad being cloned while the iPod has remained in the market by itself?

The value of the iPod is arguably as high with a healthy margin and consistent pricing. The volumes are comparable with tens of millions already sold so there is no obvious economic disadvantage to the iPod vs. iPad. Indeed, the iPod touch is a large (1.6) multiplier to the whole iOS platform. The demographics are very sweet too with a clear upsell opportunity.

One explanation might be that the iPod is a music device and that market has been locked up with iTunes, putting up a huge barrier to entry. However during the music launch this month, there was almost no mention of the iPod touch as a music player while it was loudly touted as a game and app platform. Browsing and Facetime are also huge uses for the device.

So in the iPod touch we have a mini iPad–ironically, the dig at the iPad was that it was nothing more than a large iPod touch.

So if cloners are rushing to copy the iPad, why not its smaller incarnation?

LG says WP7 will outperform Android

LG has reportedly told Korean sources that “it expects WP7 to outperform the two rival smartphone operating systems” – one of these platforms is definitely Android (I’m not sure about the other platform LG is referring to; Symbian? iOS? BlackBerry?).

via LG to bank heavily on Windows Phone 7, says WP7 will outperform Android » Unwired View.

While Samsung believes WP7 is doomed, LG believes it will RULE!

This might go some way to explain why LG is in such dire straits when it comes to smartphone share.