As the sales of personal computers slow — whether because of a weak world economy or the popularity of the Apple's iPad — PC makers have been looking for the next big thing to jolt buyers and increase profit margins.
They are doing what they have done so many times before:
Taking a sidelong glance at what Apple has done.
They have reason to take notice.
Data from the research firms IDC and Gartner shows that the PC shipments of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Acer, two of the world’s largest PC makers, declined in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year ago.
Shipments by Apple, on the other hand, rose roughly 20% in that quarter, according to estimates from both research firms.