Apple’s iPad vs. the netbooks

By 2011, Apple will have captured 7% of the low-end computer market, says an analyst

"We expect the iPad to compete very well against existing low-end notebooks and netbooks, particularly in the segment of the market where surfing, reading, game playing and emailing dominate the usage model."

So says Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore in a note released Sunday.

In fact, he writes, with the release of the iPad this spring, Apple (aapl) will instantly add more than 50 million users to its addressable market.

"With this product announcement," says Whitmore, "Apple now serves every pricing point from the iPod to high-end MacBook Pro."

While not directly comparable, the $499 iPad will be, he believes, "a formidable competitor" to the netbooks and cheap notebooks that are the fastest-growing segment of the computer market.

Below the fold: Whitmore's tale of the tape comparing -- feature by feature -- the iPad with low-end machines made by Hewlett Packard (hpq), Dell (dell), Nokia (nok) and Asus.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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