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On Eve of iPad Air Launch, iPad Market Share Reaches All-Time Low

On Eve of iPad Air Launch, iPad Market Share Reaches All-Time Low

On the eve of the launch of the iPad Air, Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market has fallen to its lowest point ever, according to third quarter data released this week by research firm IDC. With 14.1 million units shipped during the quarter — a less than one percent increase over the same quarter last year — total iPad market share fell to 29.6 percent, down from 40.2 percent a year ago.

Top Five Tablet Vendors (Shipments in Millions)
Source: IDC
3Q2013 Shipments3Q2013 Market Share3Q2012 Shipments3Q2012 Market ShareYear-Over-Year Growth
Apple14.129.6%14.040.2%0.6%
Samsung9.720.4%4.312.4%123.0%
Asus3.57.4%2.36.6%53.9%
Lenovo2.34.8%0.41.1%420.7%
Acer1.22.5%0.30.9%346.3%
Others16.835.3%13.538.8%25.0%
Total47.6100.0%34.8100.0%36.7%

Apple’s unchanged shipment numbers over the third quarter last year contrast with the continued rapid growth of manufacturers producing devices based on Google’s Android operating system. Samsung, Asus, Lenovo, and Acer all saw a significant growth in shipments year-over-year, and have rapidly narrowed the gap with Cupertino. Notably, Amazon and Microsoft, although represented by the “Others” category, did not make the top five as they did in IDC’s tablet report earlier this year.

The third quarter numbers reveal not only an increasingly diverse market, but also the lack of significant updates from Apple. After releasing the third-generation iPad with a Retina Display in early 2012, the company followed up with the fourth-generation model late in the year. Sporting the new Lightning connector and faster performance overall thanks to an updated A6 processor, the new model was identical to the third-generation in terms of design and capabilities. In the mean time, Android-based rivals introduced a deluge of new models at aggressive price points.

With the upcoming 2013 refresh, however, Apple appears poised to counter the market share trend. Although still functionally the same, the new iPad Air introduces a significant reduction in physical size and weight over its predecessors, while at the same time offering a dramatic increase in performance alongside improved battery life. In addition, the new iPad mini with Retina Display, coupled with the continued availability of the non-Retina model at $299, gives Apple a compelling tablet product at nearly every level of the mid- and high-end market segments.

Apple CEO Tim Cook predicted during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call that it will be “an iPad Christmas” this year. With the iPad Air available on Friday and the Retina minis coming at some point next month, we’ll look forward to IDC’s next report to see if he was right.

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Jim Tanous

Oct 31, 2013

676 Articles Published

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