The New York Times says Apple is working on a smaller iPad. Photo: AFP
The tablet market has grown nearly 50 percent year-on-year, largely driven by Android device sales, new figures show.
Apple sold 14 million of the 27.8 million tablets shipped in Q3 of 2012, 8.1 million more than Samsung, its closest rival and 300,000 more than all other tablet manufacturers combined. And though Apple is still the top performer, it saw its sales drop over the past three months, just as Samsung and Amazon saw theirs take off.
Apple loses market share
According to the latest figures from IDC published November 5, Samsung's sales grew an incredible 325 percent compared with the same quarter in 2011, giving it an 18.4 percent share of the Q3 2012 market, just over twice that of Amazon (9%) and Asus (8.6%), manufacturer of Google's Nexus 7 tablet.
According to IDC, Apple struggled due to rumors about the iPad Mini and as a result potential customers chose to postpone buying a tablet in the quarter in the hopes that the company would unveil new devices. As a result, Apple lost 15 percent of its market share to its Android rivals.
"Now that the new [iPad] mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini's relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter," said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC of the results.
Variety and price are key factors
And, thanks to the wide variety of tablets that it produces -- including the new Google Nexus 10 device -- Samsung is expected to be the primary source of this competition, though with Christmas fast approaching it is also possible that Microsoft could have some impact on the market's continued growth. "Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple," said Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC's Mobile Device Trackers. "With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."