Canalys: Apple topples HP in global client PC market

Apple is on a roll already in 2012 after nabbing the top spot of another major tech list.

Apple has zoomed past Hewlett-Packard to be named as the top dog in the global "client PC" market during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a new report from analyst house Canalys.

That's because Apple shipped more than 15 million iPads and five million Macs combined -- representing 17 percent of the total 120 million client PCs shipped globally during the fourth quarter.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is on a roll already in 2012.

Two other news items found that Apple not only regained its crown at the top of the global smartphone market (at least on a quarterly basis) as well as the fact that Apple is now the top semiconductor chip company.

Apple recently reported record first fiscal quarter earnings, including outstanding sales numbers from its Mac unit at 5.2 million Mac computers sold -- a 26 percent increase over the first fiscal quarter of 2011.

Manufacturers in this field likely suffered a bit in Q4 because of the flooding in Thailand causing a hard drive shortage worldwide, but Canalys warns that this will have a wider effect during Q1 2012.

Canalys research analyst Michael Kauh mentioned in the report that Ultrabooks might also shake things up:

We expect Ultrabook volumes to see limited adoption through the first half of 2012, before finally gaining momentum later in the year as price points decline and Intel launches a new line of processors and embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign. In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple’s annual iPad refresh approaching.

The total client PC market (desktops, netbooks, laptops, and tablets) did grow by 16 percent year-over-year, but if you leave out tablets, it actually declined by 0.4 percent. Even if you broke it down regions, tablets had a huge effect on shipment numbers and proved that they are a major force to be reckoned with in this category going into 2012.

Lenovo was the only other company in the top five besides to post gains, and Dell and Acer rounded out the quintet.