Next-generation iPhones likely to focus on internal improvements.
Apple's Share of Worldwide Tablet Shipments Slips to 43.6% in 4Q 2012
"We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint," said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. "New product launches from the category's top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years."Samsung and Asus were the biggest winners in the surging tablet market, with Samsung seeing 263% year-over-year growth to seize 15% of the market. Samsung's share was, however, down from 18.4% in the third quarter.
Apple's iPad once again led the market, and the firm's shipment total of 22.9 million units was exactly in line with IDC's forecast for the period. A strong iPad mini launch, plus availability of the fourth generation full-sized iPad, led to solid 48.1% shipment growth over the same quarter last year. However, strong competition in the market led to Apple's market share declining for a second quarter in a row (down to 43.6% from 46.4% last quarter).
IDC notes that Microsoft did not qualify for the top five vendors in the fourth quarter, but the company did ship 900,000 units of its Surface tablet with Windows RT. It remains to be seen, however, whether those shipments and the upcoming Surface Pro tablet will translate into strong sales for the company.