Canalys, a research firm, has noted that Apple is closing in on becoming the world’s largest PC manufacturer by volume when the iPad and other tablets are included in those numbers. Apple, as of right now, is behind only HP in that regard, and Canalys suggests that Apple will overtake HP either by the end of this year, or with a surge of sales with the introduction of the next-generation iPad in the first quarter of next year.
For what it’s worth, Apple is already the number one mobile PC vendor when the iPad is included. HP still sells more desktop machines however, and this has been enough to keep Apple at bay for the time being.
Also for what it’s worth, the iPad is likely cannibalizing some Mac sales, but Apple seems to be ok with that because of the company’s relatively small PC market share. In other words, the iPad is eating into Mac and PC sales, but because Apple has lower market share, Microsoft and PC manufacturers have far more at stake.
I’ll keep saying it until I’m blue in the face- 2012 is going to be an interesting year.