Some Taiwanese manufacturers think the iPad's "negative impact on the global notebook market is declining mainly because tablet PCs, including Android models, focus on entertainment rather than working and learning as provided by notebooks," says Taiwan's Digitimes.
Wistron's chairman and chief executive Simon Lin (Lin Hsien-Ming) told the company's annual shareholders' meeting that "the notebook sector has revived," and he forecast a 20 percent improvement for the second half of 2012 over the first half, according to Focus Taiwan. He was optimistic about sales of notebooks, desktops, servers and handhelds but expected TV sales to be flat or to decline slightly.
Wistron, spun out of Acer, is the world's third largest notebook manufacturer. The company says it shipped a record 31.55 million notebook PCs last year, with revenues reaching NT$658 billion (£14bn or $22bn).
The Taipei Times reports that Lin said the notebook industry was hit by the success of Apple’s iPad, but customers were starting to realise that iPads can't replace notebooks. Tablets have created both a separate need and a separate market.
The computer market faces a number of challenges, including the Eurozone crisis and China's slowing growth. Against that, Lin expected the arrival of Microsoft's Windows 8 to have a positive effect on the market.
Wistron is not the only ODM (original design manufacturer) to see signs of improvement. As Digitimes reported today (Friday):
"Regarding the global outlook for notebooks in the second half of 2012, Acer, Asustek Computer and Samsung Electronics are optimistic while Hewlett- Packard and Dell are neutral, sources indicated. "Among ODMs, Quanta Computer expects shipments in the first and second halves at a ratio of 45:55 or 43:57, Wistron 45:55 and Compal Electronics and Inventec each expect 40:60, the sources noted."
CC Leung, Quanta's vice chairman said he expected notebook shipments to grow by 30 percent in the second half of 2012 compared to the first half, though rumours suggest some of Quanta's MacBook manufacturing has been shifted to Foxconn, the low-end manufacturer.
Microsoft is entering the market with its own Surface tablets running Windows 8, but manufacturing will undoubtedly be contracted out to Taiwanese ODMs, probably Foxconn (for the ARM-based RT version) and Pegatron, a spin-off from Asus. Meanwhile, Asus has developed the Nexus 7 Android tablet for Google.
Some consumers have been buying tablets rather than replacing their aged notebook PCs, but Microsoft hopes they will like the idea of having a multi-touch tablet that can also run much more powerful Windows software.