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Tablet Shipments Put Apple Firmly On Top Of Mobile PC Sales

A new DisplaySearch report places Apple at the top of global mobile computer shipments for Q2, 2011, beating out traditional leader HP. Apparently the company moved 13.6 million units in the quarter, with nearly 80% of this comprising iPad sales. If that doesn't silence doubters of tablet ascendency and the product's disruptive effect on the mobile computer market, we don't know what will. 

Apple's growth also represents an impressive 136% year-over-year increase, which is significant since early research by DisplaySearch indicates an overall decline in the mobile PC market. Richard Shim, senior analyst at the firm said in the report that the rising tablet numbers "point to notebook PC shipment cannibalization."

Shim also explained to us directly that this proves computer makers now need to take tablets seriously. He said, "It's clear that if  you want to compete in this market, you have to have a robust tablet strategy. A lot of brands are struggling here and the price cuts some players have made send a mixed message to consumers".

Indeed, HP's recent price drops of its floundering Touchpad haven't exactly inspired confidence in the minds of tablet shoppers. Perspective slate buyers unavoidably compare these devices with the iPad 2 which commands a premium but conveys quality, the definition of brand aspiration.

But is it fair to lump tablet sales in with shipments of laptops? That depends on your definition of a mobile PC. Tablets are certainly portable computers, able to tackle tasks consumers have accomplished with notebooks in the past, but are better at casual activities such as reading books and digesting news. Of course, if real work needs to be done, there's no substitute for a keyboard-equipped laptop...yet.