Apple Still Tablet Market Leader, But Loses 14 Percent Share In Q3 2012

By Sumit Passary | Nov 29, 2012 09:46 AM EST

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Apple maintained its supremacy in the tablet market with a 55 percent market share, but lost 14 percent of its share to rival tablet companies just ahead of the launch of its sixth-generation iPads in October this year.

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Even though the Cupertino-based tech company continued to lead in the tablet market, it saw the lowest market share the iPad has had since it was introduced first in April 2010, reported ABI Research.

In Q2 2012, Apple shipped a record 17 million iPads which was an increase from 11.8 million units in Q1 2012. The shipment of 17 million iPads helped Apple to achieve over 69 percent market share in Q2 2012.

"Two years after creating the market, Apple Inc. remains the king of all media tablets, with its global market share rising to nearly 70 percent in the second quarter, putting the company on pace to reclaim much of the dominance it surrendered in 2011," reported iSuppli.

The introduction of the latest iPad mini in October this year, however, did not contribute to Apple's market share gain.

"With the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini, Apple has acknowledged Android's beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets, though at the same time, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year," said Jeff Orr ABI's senior practice director. Rival tablet makers like Samsung, Amazon, and ASUS all took small parts of Apple's market share.

"As the OS of choice for the majority of device OEMs, we expect the Android ecosystem to continue growing in numbers - new manufacturers, better device choices for reaching more markets, and more developers finding value from apps and content," noted Orr.

The competition in the tablet market is increasing rapidly with Android tablets accounting for over 44 percent of the market share. The sixth generation iPads released in Q4 2012 may help Apple to achieve higher market share.

However, shipping delays before the holiday season may be a setback for Apple, and could stop it from getting a much bigger slice of the market share than what it would have anticipated.

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