The iPad Has Killed The Netbook

The iPad Has Killed The Netbook

Netbooks are still shipping, but the market has spoken

While we can debate how much the iPad cannibalizes Apple’s MacBook sales, there’s no doubt that the device is continuing to kill of the entire netbook industry. While iPad sales are literally selling as fast as Apple can make them, netbook sales continue to plummet – with the first quarter of this year representing a sixth consecutive quarter in which shipments of the small, inexpensive, and often low quality PC notebooks have declined sharply.

That news comes from research firm Canalys, which noted that the shrinking netbook market led to shipments down 34% from the first quarter of 2011. Shipments of the iPad and other tablets is up 200% year over year for the same quarter Canalys noted last week.

It’s worth noting the Apple announced that iPad sales (as opposed to shipments to retailers) represented 151% year over year growth according to Apple’s last quarterly financial results.

The numbers aren’t particularly surprising according to Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones, who told InfoWorld that tablets represent an increasing percentage of the computing market.

If you look at the U.S., pads are approaching 40 % of all client PC shipments. The pad proposition for U.S. consumers is very strong, thanks to the wider choice in content and apps.

Canalys also indicated that Intel’s push to create a market of ultrabooks, which are essentially PC notebooks designed around the specs and price points of Apple’s MacBook Air, may also be part of the reason that the netbook market contracted as much as it did during the quarter. From a business use perspective the iPad, MacBook Air, and ultrabooks all offer much better capabilities than anything in the netbook market (not to mention that they’re a bit more impressive looking when meeting clients).

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  • mr_bee

    ” … iPad sales are … selling as fast as Apple can make them …”  

    Funny :)
  • nefan65

    I think the Netbook dies a while ago…I never really thought they were worth it. Underpowered for anything useful; especially if you already own(ed) a Laptop/Notebook.

  • Tallest_Skil

    The netbook killed the netbook. They were dead in 2008. No one actually wanted a computer that small.

  • Tallest_Skil

    The netbook killed the netbook. They were dead in 2008. No one actually wanted a computer that small.

  • Chris Stropki

    Correlation =\= causation. I’m sure there are more factors leading to the decline in sales of the netbook, including the MacBook air and other ultra books, as well as the increasing realization of the lack of value in a net book. People are realizing they just suck.

  • manuelmorgado94

    i think that the netbook inspired the ultrabooks because people wanted a small computer but the netbooks were too slow and the people wanted more in terms of performance and Apple was the frist to listen frist with the ipad and later with the great Macbook Air

  • Steffen Jobbs

    I clearly recall the Microtards claiming that a netbook was a far more useful device than the iPad and could be bought for much less money.  There was no way that the iPad could outsell the netbook and would be a major failure.  The netbook was going to become the most important device for mobile users on the planet.  Without a netbook in the lineup Apple was ultimately doomed to failure and would be out of business in a matter of months.  It’s utterly amazing the stupid predictions that come out of people’s mouths.  This year it’s the Windows 8 ultrabooks and tablets that will put Apple out of business due to an incredible Windows 8 OS and dirt cheap pricing of the Windows hardware.  No matter what Apple has or does, somehow it’s always going to be put out of business.

  • ApplePr0n

    The netbook was pointless. It was a Barebones laptop, but not ultra portable either. So you gave up power and features for practically the same amount pf mobility. The iPad sacrifices a few features from a laptop but its portability more than makes up for it

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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