iPad Boosts Tablet Sales

Apple has done it again: The company has created a product that people want and in the process, the company has boosted sales of an entire market segment. Although tablet PCs have been on the market for years, many consumers haven't paid attention to this market segment until Apple announced the iPad. Now, research firm IDC is claiming the iPad could spur a sixfold increase in tablet sales by 2014.

In a statement, IDC said worldwide shipments will rise from 7.6 million to 46 million this year. The firm expects 398 million portable personal computers to ship in 2014. Apple's iPad was introduced last month. In just 28 days, Apple has already sold 1 million of the touch-screen tablets. Due to the popularity of the tablet, Apple decided to delay overseas shipments about a month so the company could better keep up with demand.

Other manufacturers such as HP are taking notice of Apple's success and the huge potential for growth in the tablet space and have begun to look at options to create their own tablets. In fact, we've already heard quite a bit about HP's Slate tablet. Sony has also considered making its own tablet. Additionally, Google and Verizon Wireless are said to be working on an upcoming Tablet PC running Android.

Because the tablets are primarily marketed as entertainment devices, IDC believes the success of tablet computers will be driven by the number of applications available for the tablets. Apple certainly has a bit of a head-start in this category with its App Store.