New 64-bit iPad 5 will pile more pressure on beleaguered PCs, analyst claims

Desktop virtualization and iPad deployments in the enterprise sector is expected to put further pressure on PC sales, and Intel's Haswell processors and cheap ultrabooks might not offer OEMs much hope.

Apple's A7 processor as found in the iPhone 5s
(Source: Apple)

Apple's introduction of the iPad might not have been what single-handedly bought down the PC industry, but it certainly was the catalyst for a chain of events that heralded the era where "post-PC" devices dominated.

But one believes that things are only going to get worse for the PC industry when Apple unveils the iPad 5.

According to Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank Equity Research, the additional pressure on the PC market will come as a result of the iPad 5 making greater headway into the corporate environment.

See also: iPhone 5s 64-bit A7 chip is a 'marketing gimmick,' says Qualcomm exec

"We expect growing [desktop] virtualization and iPad deployments in the enterprise to pressure corporate PC sales through 2014-15," wrote Whitmore in a note. "We expect Apple's iPad refresh to include 64-bit architecture, which should enable a greater array of enterprise App development and facilitate greater enterprise penetration over time."

While nothing is officially known about the iPad 5, it is widely anticipated to feature a 64-bit processor similar to the one found in the new iPhone 5s.

As a result of this additional pressure, the estimates for PC shipments for 2013 and 2014 have been cut by 10 percent and 8 percent year-to-year respectively, from previous estimates of 8 percent and 6 percent.

Whitmore doesn't put much faith in Intel's new processors to help buoy sales either.

"In the near term, back to school PC demand appears relatively soft and recent new hardware releases (Haswell) had little impact spurring incremental demand. Furthermore, we believe the corporate upgrade cycle will peak in the [second-half] 2013 as corporates complete Windows 7 transitions ahead of Microsoft's ending support of Windows XP in early 2014."

Even cheap ultrabooks aren't expected to generate much holiday cheer.

"We expect [sub-$500 ultrabooks] to create additional PC average selling price and profitability headwinds."

Personally, I don't think that the transition to a 64-bit processor will make that much of a difference to the iPad in the short term. Apple's transition to 64-bit with the iPhone 5s is more about setting the groundwork for the future than it does with providing an immediate benefit for users.

The same will be true with the iPad, and while IT admins might have their interest piqued by a 64-bit processor, the real advantages it brings will only show up over time. 

And it's also not all plain sailing for the iPad. I foresee the tablet experiencing pressure from Amazon's new BYOD/enterprise-ready Kindle Fire HDX .