DisplaySearch: iPad Could Propel Apple into a Top 5 Mobile PC Brand

It's official, the iPad is a success. Of course, we already knew that (it kind of helps when you have the market virtually all to yourself), but the iPad may be an even bigger boon to Apple's bottom line than we thought. According to DisplaySearch, Apple's magical slate has helped the Cupertino firm gain significant market share in the mobile PC world, and if the current pace keeps up, Apple will become one of the top 5 vendors.

"Apple sold 7.6 million mobile PCs in 2009 and ranked No. 7 in the world with a 4.4 percent share, behind HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Asus," DisplaySearch said. "Compared to companies such as HP (20 percent market share), Acer (18 percent), and Dell (12 percent), Apple was not a big mobile PC brand in 2009. Toshiba and Lenovo sold more than twice as many notebook PCs as Apple in 2009."

That all changes while Apple rides the magic iPad carpet into millions of homes around the globe. According to DisplayMate, not only could Apple surpass Asus, Toshiba, and Lenovo by becoming a top 5 mobile PC brand, Steve Jobs and his merry gang are poised to encroach on Dell's turf as the third largest mobile PC company.

"Excluding the iPad, Apple plans to ship 9 million mobile PCs in 2010, up 18.4 percent over 2009. This is a comparatively lower Y/Y growth than other brands," DisplayMate explains. "However, Apple seems to have put most of its efforts into iPad development and shipment rather than its other mobile PC series, such as the MacBook.

"According to the Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report, there will be more than 13 million 9.7-inch mobile PCs shipped in 2010. Apple’s target is actually higher than this number, but supply chain constrains have limited availability. In 1H’10, Apple sold approximately 4 million iPads, and in 2H’10, Apple will likely ship 9 million. Including iPad, Apple’s total mobile PC shipment will hit 22 million, up 176 percent Y/Y, which helps Apple to surpass ASUS, Lenovo and Toshiba. In other words, Apple has been hovering between positions No. 6 and No. 8 in mobile PC for many years, but one single product makes it rocket to No. 4."

That's pretty impressive no matter how you slice. The question is, will the spate of upcoming tablets slice into Apple's surging market share and prove a buzz kill for Jobs and Co.?