Analyst: iPad Hurt Netbook Growth — iPod touch Next Victim?

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The iPad has always been seen as Apple’s answer to the growing demand for low-cost netbooks. Now comes more evidence that the iPad is hurting sales of netbooks. Since the iPad’s introduction in January, demand for the low-cost notebook computers has steadily fallen, one analyst said Thursday.

It’s hard to envision the “magical” tablet (as Apple CEO Steve Jobs often describes the iPad) being a cannibal, but that’s what Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty indicates. Sales of notebooks and netbook computers are the leading candidates for cannibalization by the iPad, Huberty told investors Thursday.

Huberty said 44 percent of U.S. consumers buying an iPad originally considered buying a notebook or netbook computer. However, sales of the iPod touch could be the next candidate for cannibalization by the iPad. Some 41 percent of U.S. consumers purchasing an iPad had originally considered buying an iPod touch, according to the analyst.

Another sign of collapsing netbook sales appears in a graph of netbook year-over-year growth, which reaches a high of 641 percent in July 2009, sliding to 68 percent when the iPad is unveiled, then falling into the single digits when the iPad began shipping in April.