Apple achieved its largest slice this century of the worldwide notebook market in 2003's second quarter, analyst firm IDC has exclusively told Macworld UK.

The company took 4.1 per cent of the world's notebook market in the quarter – up from 3.5 per cent in the previous quarter, and 3.7 per cent year-on-year. Apple is the number-nine notebook vendor worldwide.

Apple also took 7.0 per cent of the US notebook market in the quarter. IDC said worldwide notebook sales rose 22.4 per cent year-on-year in the quarter, while US shipments grew 18 per cent year-on-year.

The move reflects a shift to notebook computers, IDC said. Research analyst Ian Gibbs pointed out that better-featured notebooks at falling prices are helping the sector grow.

"Notebooks are increasing their market share over desktop PCs in all markets", the analysts confirmed.

In the UK, Apple took 3.8 per cent of the notebook market – its highest share yet. It grabbed 3.4 per cent in the previous quarter, and 3.6 per cent in the year-ago quarter.

It's a massive turnaround in fortunes for Apple in the UK notebook market sector – at its lowest point, Apple took just 0.9 per cent of that market in 2001's first quarter. Growth has been driven by Apple's G4 PowerBooks, ramped-up iBooks, and a focus on delivering products at competitive prices.


UK education is another critical market for Apple – one that IDC sees as having much potential. Apple became the fourth-biggest notebook vendor in Q2 2003, with 7.9 per cent of the UK education market and 5.4 per cent of the combined education (desktop and notebook) market.

Gibbs discussed the inherent opportunities within UK education: "It has a great deal of potential for manufacturers in terms of market shipments and improving the installed base."

The average UK pupil-to-computer ratio stands at 7:1, which he called, "relatively well-developed compared to the rest of Europe."

Apple will have to work to consolidate, as Gibbs warned: "The UK education market is becoming increasingly competitive as both international vendors and local players place a greater emphasis on taking full advantage of this potential," he said.

Local vendor Research Machines holds 25.1 per cent of the UK education market.