The iPad has taken Apple into third place in the PC market as well as helping push the global PC market up by 19 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The iPad basically gave the consumer more product choice over the holiday period.

In the new report from Canalys the iPad has been described as this year’s netbook.

“They do not appeal to first-time buyers or low-income households, but are proving extremely popular as additional computing devices.” Said Canalys analyst Tim Coulling.

The report warned that other manufacturers should, “plan for the future and not remain stuck in the past.” With Apple products being the main force behind the rise in the PC market – and the iPad at the helm – the competition should take heed.

“With screen sizes of 7in or above, ample processing power, and a growing number of applications, tablets offer a computing experience comparable to netbooks. They compete for the same customers and will happily coexist,” said a Canalys senior analyst.

Coulling believes that companies are now moving on from the restricted budgets of the recession which means IT expenditure could be a catalyst for growth.

In the fourth quarter of last year there were 105.8 million PC shipments in the global market. Apple had an 11.5 per cent share beaten only by HP and Acer – it will be interesting to see who is in pole position a year from now, and the product responsible.