In a Wall Street Journal article profiling Best Buy's holiday strategy, Chief Executive Brian Dunn said that his company's internal estimates indicated that the iPad "had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%." The comment set off a flurry of opinions from tech pundits and industry observers who have been closely watching the impact of iPad sales on traditional laptops and notebook PCs. Some note that, just as they suspected, the elegance of the iPad is trumping consumers' desire for traditional computers. Yet the rumors of "tablet cannibalization" may be exaggerated (the iPad hasn't dented Apple's laptop sales), and more than a few skeptics don't believe laptops are going away anytime soon.
Best Buy Estimate Proves Our Hypothesis, contends Charlie Sorrell at Wired. Namely, "Mom and Pop would switch from cheap, unreliable and hard-to-use laptops and buy the iPad instead, an intuitive device which covers 90% of their computing needs. When the iPad gets a FaceTime camera (and hopefully a video-capable version of Skype) then the only people buying laptops will be those who need the horsepower for work."
- Computer Makers Are 'Scrambling' to Put Out Tablets, reports Nathan Eddy at eWeek. "A July report from a Barclays Capital analyst said Apple would sell about 20 million iPads in 2011, negatively affecting lower-cost notebooks as well as the netbook market. Other analysts have also suggested growth for the tablet PC market, with research firm IDC estimating that worldwide media tablet shipments would total 46 million units in 2014." Eddy notes that Samsung, Avaya, Toshiba Europe, Dell and others are launching competitors to the iPad within the year.
- New Statistics Are Pretty 'Damning' finds Kit Eaton at Fast Company, whose article includes a revealing graph showcasing the decline in notebook sales. "Since the Apple iPad is pretty much the only device in this class that's on the market, the implication is that its arrival has resulted in a serious dint on the potential for notebooks to sell well. With more countries due soon to join those already selling the iPad, and an armload of competitors just about to arrive, the makers of PC laptops should be worried."
- Apple Isn't Too Worried About 'Cannibalizing' Sales, points out Lance Whitney at CNET News. "Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook expressed his sentiment in July when the company announced third-quarter earnings. 'Our guts tell us that this market is very big,' Cook said. 'If it turns out that iPad cannibalizes PCs, that's fantastic for us because there is a lot of PCs to cannibalize.'"
- I'm Not So Sure the iPad Will Conquer Laptops, asserts Staci D. Kramer at Paid Content. "The instant assumption [after reading the WSJ article]: Buyers are choosing iPads over laptops. The truth: Yes, no and maybe. From an anecdotal basis as someone often asked to help others with tech spending decisions, people who need computing power and features that aren’t on the iPad go with laptops (Mac or PC), while the iPad is an answer for people who own a computer for the heavy lifting and are attracted to the sleek, light device with its instant-on apps."