Apple’s continues to dominate the tablet market, according to fresh data from IDC, shipping 22.9 million iPads in the fourth quarter and showing 48 percent growth year-over-year. But its share of the tablet market continues to diminish as tablets running Android and other platforms pick up steam: Apple’s market share has shrunk from 51.7 percent to 43.6 percent over the last year, IDC claims, while Samsung has more than doubled its market share to 15.1 percent. (Interestingly, tablets from manufacturers that didn’t rank among the top five — categorized simply as “others” — accounted for a sizable 22 percent market share.)
Predictably, some tech blogs and mainstream media outlets are selling this as a glass-half-empty story from Apple’s point of view. CNN claims that Android is the new tablet king, Information Week tells us that Apple’s rivals are gaining traction and Investor’s Business Daily oddly states that “Apple, Amazon Trail Samsung, Asus in Tablet.” Which certainly seems, um, inaccurate.
But Apple’s decreasing dominance in tablets is no surprise, of course, and it will continue. Apple single-handedly created the tablet market, and the company’s lineup remains limited to just a handful of models, so it was inevitable that the wide variety of (often cheaper) tablets running Android, Windows and even BlackBerry OS would eat into iPad sales. More important, though, is the fact that Apple continues to produce the kind of profits that most other manufacturers can only imagine. With that in mind, Apple’s share of the tablet market — which remains nearly three times that of second-place Samsung — still looks very good.