Apple was responsible for an impressive 84 percent of total mobile PC shipments in Q2 2012, owing primarily to the success of its iPad line, according to a new report from supply chain analysis firm NPD DisplaySearch. LG Display reaped the benefit of that market domination, leading the industry in mobile PC panel shipments in 2012 thanks to its supplier relationship with Apple.
The success of Apple’s mobile PC shipments relative to the rest of the market, as measured by OEM shipments to customers, is likely accounted for by the ramp-up of iPad 3 and iPad 2 production. The iPad 3, or new iPad, was just hitting its stride in terms of reaching production levels to keep up with demand following its introduction in Q1 of 2012, and the iPad 2 was enjoying a boost owing to its reduction in price. We’ve seen recently that the iPad 2 remains a very popular option with consumers, and likely made up a significant portion of Apple’s iPad sales in 2012, though the company doesn’t break out sales by individual device models when reporting its quarterly earnings.
NPD says that in 2013, other manufacturers competing with Apple will be looking to build stronger supply chain relationships with touch-capable notebooks (most likely based on Windows 8), and ultra-slim PCs, and that those competitors are working hard on locking down sufficient mobile display volumes from supplier partners. On the supplier side, Samsung specifically is said to be looking into reducing its share of Apple’s display manufacturing and focusing on adding other customers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to the mix to diversify its efforts, according to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Jeff Lin, which could be related to growing tensions between the two companies.
Through the end of 2012, NPD predicts that year over year growth for notebook PCs will only be at around 2 percent, with a 28 percent drop for the mini-notebook category. But tablet growth is expected to be up around 75 percent year over year. NPD also predicts a 16 percent year over year uptick in notebook PC shipments for 2013 on average, with tablet PCs retaining strong growth, though perhaps at a less impressive rate than they experienced in 2013. Apple will likely still remain a key component of that growth, but we’ll have to see whether diversified offerings by other OEMs, including Asus, which makes the Nexus 7 line of tablets for Google, has any effect on ultimate shipment volume.