Okay, when is the next iMac update going to be out? Soon, I’m sure. That — coupled with the fantastic market reception for the revamped MacBook Airs and 2011 MacBook Pros — should keep the Mac’s momentum going at a fortuitous time.

In a new report from Canalys (http://www.canalys.com), the research group estimates global computer growth of 14% for 2011. The Mac is already doing better in incremental growth than the industry overall. New Macs and the “halo effect” of the iPhone and iPad should keep the Mac in solid growth figures.

That said, the Canalys analyst firm predicts that much of the global computer growth will come from pad/tablet shipments, which will increase to 52 million units worldwide in 2011. Of these shipments, Apple is expected to account for over 75%, leaving approximately 12 million units for other vendors.

Canalys anticipates that the iPad’s success will continue, and even accelerate, with the arrival of the thinner, lighter and faster iPad 2. The research group says this growth means, however, that “traditional” PC companies — notably Microsoft, Intel and AMD — are likely to lose market share during the year. Well, since Intel and AMD are Apple partners, and since there’s no evidence that Mac sales have been hurt by the iPad — those two companies will do just fine, thank you. Microsoft, Dell, HP, etc., will take the “iPad hit.”

“Pads are disrupting the PC refresh cycle in highly penetrated markets,’ says Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling. “Their innovative user experience has captured the imagination of consumers, who are extending the life of their existing hardware, while taking an interest in pads.”

Canalys also urges vendors not to dismiss the opportunity for pads in business. “The number of affluent, highly-mobile executives buying pads will increase quickly in 2011,” says Canalys Principal Analyst Daryl Chiam. “Likewise, vertical market adoption of pads, especially in healthcare and education, will gain momentum, as more appropriate applications are built.”

For every 10 pads sold this year, Canalys estimates that five netbook or notebook sales will be lost, across both consumer and enterprise markets. This trend will be most pronounced in developed markets, such as the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, the Nordics,

Canalys expects the notebook category to grow nearly 8% in 2011, despite the impact of pads. And you can be pretty certain that MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs are going to grab more than their share of that growth.

— Dennis Sellers