Wonder why Apple – under Tim Cook’s regime — changed its mind about releasing a mini version of the iPad? The latest IDC report on worldwide tablet shipments in Q3 2012 may provide some hints.
According to the research firm, Apple’s stronghold of the tablet market may not be as unbreakable as once believed, as its share fell from 65.5% to 50.4% — a quarter-on-quarter drop of 15.1%.
Meanwhile, led by Samsung and Asus, the Android army of tablets continued to steal Apple’s thunder in the marketplace. Samsung shipped 5.1 million tablets in the third quarter of the year, an increase of 115% from the previous quarter. It now controls 18.4% of the market. As for Asus, thanks to the popularity of the Nexus 7, the Taiwanese manufacturer grabbed 8.6% of the tablet market share, up 242.9% from Q2 2012.
Even though the revamped Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD weren’t released until mid-September, Amazon managed to grow its market share to 9% in Q3 and sneak its way into third place. Rounding out the top 5 is Lenovo, which shipped 0.4 million tablets in the quarter, bolstered by a strong performance in China.
Mind you that only Apple is reporting actual sales, while the figures for the other manufacturers indicate units shipped. Given this inconsistency, the iPad’s actual share might be a bit higher.
All in all, the tablet market grew 49.5% in Q3, a 6.7% improvement over the number posted in Q2. With several new tablet offerings from Google, Asus, and Samsung, as well as Apple, are being released in the final quarter, we’ll see in the next report whether the price advantage that many Android tablets have can keep their momentum alive.