Since the début of the first Mac desktop in 1984, PCs have steadily gained favoritism among consumers over Macs. In 2004, there were about 55 times as many PCs sold than Apple computers. Macs begin to gain more acceptance around this time, but it wasn’t until the launch of the iPhone in 2007 when the ratios of Macs to PCs really started to narrow.
The growing demand for mobile technology continues to improve Apple’s control over the market. In 2011, PC sales experienced a 4% growth rate in the US, while Apple products enjoyed a 26% increase. In the second quarter of 2012, iPads accounted for 84% of all tablets shipped. Moving into 2013, will Apple keep up their dominant stance? The supply chain will heavily influence the outcome.
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Forecast for 2013
“With the changes taking place in the mobile PC segment, existing supply chain relationships could be disrupted due to competitive conflicts,” said Jeff Lin, a value chain analyst for NPD DisplaySearch. “Business plans for the top 10 PC brands are set higher, with a 16 percent year-over-year shipment increase on average for notebook PCs. The shift to touch notebooks and ultra-slim devices will be key areas of focus for Apple’s mobile PC competitors,” he added.
The Effect on Supply Chain
As PC brands like Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, and leader HP make plans to lower prices and regain their share of the market, major vendors like LG Display and Quanta are also strategizing to keep up their positions. According to Lin, “Capturing a larger portion of these market segments will be challenging, (but) competitors will require solid commitments from their supply chain vendors to ensure capacity and foolproof, cost-down solutions.”
Samsung Display, which produces about 26% of the iPhone’s components, is one of many suppliers preparing to meet those requirements. Samsung Display will open up opportunities for PC brands, as well as external customers like Amazon, by reducing their share in Apple. Quanta Computer already has a strong hand in the mobile PC market. Competitors like Foxconn may also broaden their portfolio with more PC brands.
Can Apple hold their ground in the mobile technology arena? The players’ abilities to meet demand will decide the answer.
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