IDC computer market predictions look good for the iMac, Apple portables
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IDC computer market predictions look good for the iMac, Apple portables

Many of the trends that influenced the worldwide computer market in 2009 will continue to resonate in 2010, but their impact will change as new market forces come into play. The news is good for Apple laptops and the iMac and, well, not bad for the iPad.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the lower prices brought on by last year’s challenging economy will create new opportunities for emerging sub form factors, such as ultrathin portables and all-in-one desktops.

“We’re expecting consumer and commercial personal computer buyers alike to be more experimental with new types of computer, especially because of their lower price points,” says Bob O’Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays. “Hardware vendors and software developers should seize the opportunity to promote differentiation by rewriting the computing experience to match the new variety of Personal Computer sub form factors arriving in the market.”

IDC’s predictions for the personal computer industry in 2010 are:

° Ultrathins will be under 5% of total portable personal computer shipments. The focus on ultrathin computers will continue to grow in 2010, but the value equation for many consumers is still not compelling enough to drive significant growth.

° Mininotebook shipment growth will drastically slow and plateau. Lack of differentiation and declining prices for other portable computers will translate into shipment growth rates in the low double digit range, just under the portablecomputer average for the remainder of the forecast period.

° Average selling price (ASP) declines will slow dramatically. Stronger market demand from both the commercial and consumer markets should translate into solid shipment growth this year, making it less likely that the market will aggressively lower ASPs to spur growth.

° Shipments of portable computers with WiMAX embedded will surpass shipments of portable computers with 3G cellular embedded in 2010. While activation rates for 3G enabled notebooks may be higher than WiMAX enabled notebooks, the foundation is being laid for future WiMAX adoption.

° The share of all-in-one desktops such as the iMac will double. Continued interest from consumers, combined with new momentum in the commercial sector, will drive strong shipment growth and help all-in-one desktops to capture nearly 10% of the worldwide desktop market in 2010.

° Portable computers will account for more than 60% of all computer shipments. The drivers that have made portable computers so popular have not changed. Although portable computer shipments will grow well past the 50% mark, value conscious desktop adoption in emerging markets will slow this growth slightly.

° 10% of new enterprise desktop client deployments will be virtual. The expected commercial market rebound will help in the process of experimenting with new computing models, enabling virtualization of the desktop client to gain some traction.

° Touch-enabled portable and desktop computers will gain little traction. Without compelling touch-specific software, consumers aren’t likely to buy touch-enabled Personal Computers in large quantities. In turn, application developers will hold back until a larger installed base is available.

° Apple’s launch of the iPad will not spur increased sales of Windows-based tablet personal computers. Although Apple’s iPad could find success, its shipments won’t count in IDC’s Tablet Personal Computer numbers since it doesn’t run a full operating system. Forthcoming tablet products from traditional Personal Computer makers such as HP and Lenovo are likely to garner interest, but not high shipment figures.

° DVD will remain the dominant optical drive type in computers. Quite simply, DVD is “good enough” from both a price and picture quality standpoint to withstand the challenge from Blu-ray for dominance in desktop and portable computer drives.

-- Dennis Sellers

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