Apple could snatch HP's portable computing crown in 2012 (if you count iPads)

Apple is expected to overtake HP as the leading provider of portable computing products worldwide in 2012, if calculations take into account tablets like the iPad. HP may be focusing its TouchPad intentions on the enterprise, but according to industry sources quoted by DigiTimes, the business market won't be enough to save it from relegation to second place.

That's based on a strong predictions for Apple's sales success in the tablet segment next year. Some firms are tipping the iPad to comprise 60m of the 80m+ global tablet shipments in 2012, a rise in market share despite the arrival of rivals like the webOS-based TouchPad (which we reviewed earlier this week) and slates running Google's Android Honeycomb platform.

As for notebooks, some predictions are that Apple will ship 15m MacBooks next year, for a total of 75m units when iPads are included in the count. That's a 25- to 30-percent of the global notebook market, the sources estimate, and enough to squash HP's 45-50m unit shipment estimates for notebooks. Of course, if HP's TouchPad suddenly gains traction and sells in excess of 25m units, then perhaps the company can hold its top spot; however, that isn't looking likely.