Apple iPad shipments rise as consumers crave tablets

Apple shipped nearly 18.7 million iPads in the fourth quarter of 2011, while Notebook PC shipments nearly fell flat, suggesting that consumers continue to crave tablets, according to the data from the NPD Display Search Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report released February 23. 

The report found that shipments of Apple iPads reached 18.7 million units in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011, representing an increase of 156 percent from the same period in 2010, and accounting for 80 percent of Apple's 23.4 million mobile PC shipments in Q4 2011.

Over the same period, Q4-2010-Q4-2011, overall mobile PC shipments grew by 12 percent, reaching 88 million units in Q4 2011. However, while tablet PC shipments grew by 42 percent from Q4 2010- Q4 2011 shipments of Notebook PCs over the same comparative period remained relatively flat, and only registered a year-on-year increase of 11 percent.

These figures, as NPD DisplaySearch senior analyst Richard Shim noted, show an "increasing interest in tablet PCs." 

Following behind Apple in terms of tablet shipments in Q4 2011 were Amazon in second place (5.3 million units), Samsung (2.1 million units), ASUS (1.5 million units) and Barnes and Noble (1.1 million units). 

The research supports findings released earlier this month by market analysts IHS iSuppli who found that Amazon's Kindle Fire had overtaken rival's Samsung devices to become the best-selling tablet on the market behind the iPad.

An Apple event, rumoured to be the launch party for the iPad 3, is scheduled for March 7. 

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