- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Last year, the popularity of Apple Inc.’s iPad hurt PC sales. This year, that trend is continuing, as new data from two market research firms indicate PC shipments declined in the first three months of 2011.

On Wednesday, Gartner Inc. said that its research shows PC shipments dipped 1.1 percent compared to the same period last year to 84.3 million. IDC said its data show PC shipments fell 3.2 percent to 80.6 million. The companies measure the market in different ways.

Gartner had expected 3 percent shipment growth, while IDC was looking for 1.5 percent growth.

For years, companies tried to popularize tablets, but it wasn’t until Apple released the iPad last April that the category took off.