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iPad pushes Apple into top mobile ranks

The outrageously popular iPad has quickly boosted Apple's overall laptop shipment numbers.

The unstoppable sales juggernaut that is the iPad has pushed Apple past Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba into the No. 3 slot for laptop shipments, according to a Deutsche Bank analyst.

iPad sales juggernaut makes Apple No. 3 in laptop sales, analyst says.
iPad sales juggernaut makes Apple No. 3 in laptop sales, analyst says. Brooke Crothers

So, how did this happen? Investors will begin to categorize the iPad as a laptop, according to a Fortune magazine blog citing Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore. Based on this and the fact that Apple has sold more than 3 million iPads since sales began back in April, Apple jumps to No. 3. from No.7 in laptop sales, according to Whitmore. IDC had Apple ranked No. 7 in laptop shipments in a July report.

And market research Gartner dropped some pretty big hints last month when it said that the "surging popularity of Apple's iPad temporarily cannibalized mini-notebooks (Netbooks), as well as consumer notebook sales to some degree."

That cannibalization theme will likely become more pronounced for Apple in the coming months. ABI Research is forecasting that as many as 11 million tablets will be sold this year. "Assuming that competing tablets from other vendors do arrive in the second half of the year as expected, we believe that the iPad will account for a significant portion--but not all--of the projected 11 million units," ABI Research said.

Meanwhile, none of the top PC companies has brought out a product to rival the iPad. The clock is ticking.

Updated on August 3 at 2:05 p.m. PDT: with correction about iPad shipment numbers from ABI Research.