The iPad 3 Will Help Apple Stay Atop the Mobile PC Market

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has proclaimed for a long time that we are now in a post-PC era, in which people would no longer need the traditional PCs and instead engage themselves with the digital world through iPhones and iPads. This theory seems to have gained strength as indicated by a recent report from NPD DisplaySearch.

According to the report, Apple is the largest mobile PC player (which include the tablets and notebooks) with a share of about 27%. [1] HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) come a distant second and third in the mobile PC market with both companies’ market share in single digits. With the pending announcement of the iPad 3, Apple could look to support its perch on top of the mobile PC market.

Our $550 price estimate for Apple stock is about 5% above market price.

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iPad lifting the whole mobile PC market

According to the report, nearly 80% of Apple’s mobile PC shipments were iPads, with iPad commanding a market share of 59% in the tablet market. This is remarkable considering that iPad has been in the market for less than 2 years. This finding was also confirmed by Canalys, which mentioned that tablets helped PC market reach 120 million units in Q4 2011, a growth of 16% over Q4 2010. [2]

The treatment of the PC market by Canalys is slightly different here as it not only includes the tablet PCs and notebooks, but also the traditional desktops. If we exclude the tablets from the equation, the PC market actually experienced a decline of 0.4%. Apple shipped over 15 million iPads in Q4 2011, and according to the Canalys report, iPad’s market share increased to 17% of the total PC market.

The iPad account for just under 15% of our price estimate for Apple and so continued momentum here bodes well for shareholders. The company recently sent out media invitations for March 7th, leading to strong speculation that it will announce the iPad 3 at this event.

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Notes:
  1. iPad pushes Apple to 26.6% of the mobile PC market in Q4, BGR quoting NPD DisplaySearch as the source, February 23rd, 2012 []
  2. Apple storms past HP to lead global PC market, Canalys, January 30th, 2012 []