With no updated iPads on sale, tablet sales slip 10% in Q2

IDC still puts Apple's iPad on top, with 32.4% market share

Nearly 10% fewer tablets of all brands shipped in the second quarter compared to the first, with Apple's iPad line showing the biggest decline -- a 25% slide, IDC said today.

iPad shipments totaled just 14.6 million in the quarter, down from 19.6 million in the previous quarter.

That decline was attributed to the fact that Apple did not offer any iPad updates this spring. New iPads launched before the second quarter in years past have traditionally helped both Apple and its competitors, IDC noted.

"With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that's likely to continue" through the current quarter, said Tom Mainelli, an analyst at IDC.

But by the fourth quarter, new iPad and iPad Mini tablets are expected from Apple, as well as new products from Amazon and others. Google announced its second-generation Nexus 7 tablet running Android 4.3 nearly two weeks ago, and sales kicked off last Tuesday.

Apple essentially created the modern tablet category with the first iPad in April 2010 and held 60.3 % market share in the second quarter 2012. It now has almost half as much market share -- 32.5%, IDC said. All Android tablets now have 62.5% market share, while Windows 7 and Windows 8 tablets have 4%.

Meanwhile, Samsung tablets running Android saw a 277% year-over-year growth in the second quarter, even though Samsung also took a hit between the first and second quarters. Still in second place behind Apple, Samsung shipped 8.1 million tablets in the quarter, down from 8.6 million in the first quarter. By comparison, it shipped 2.1 million tablets in second quarter of 2012.

IDC said 45.1 million tablets of all brands shipped in the second quarter, with just over half -- 22.7 million -- coming from Apple and Samsung.

Mainelli said Samsung is not likely to outsell Apple anytime in the near future, although Samsung will become "increasingly competitive." One thing that helps Samsung tablets in the market is how Samsung smartphones and even Samsung TV's will often be bundled for sale with Samsung Galaxy tablets to make for better sales, Mainelli said.

The biggest Android tablet maker after Samsung was Asus, with 2 million tablets shipped in the second quarter, or 4.5% of the market.

Windows tablets accounted for 1.8 million tablets in the quarter, while Windows RT tablets running on ARM chips accounted for 200,000 shipped, or 0.5% of the market.

IDC said Windows RT, including Microsoft's own Surface RT, shipped 200,000 in the first quarter, too. Slow sales have prompted all vendors but Microsoft to back off production of Windows RT.

While many analysts have basically written off Windows RT, Microsoft remains committed to the devices. Meanwhile, "Microsoft is seeing some progress in Windows 8 tablets and 8.1 will help a little bit," Mainelli said.

IT managers and enterprises are "interested in the manageability of a Windows tablet," Mainelli said, even if sales haven't been strong. "The first quarter saw companies kicking the tires of Windows 8, while a few more purchased tablets in the second quarter," he said.

IDC analyst Ryan Reith said the second quarter results show that the tablet market is still young and "vendors can rise and fall quickly."

Strategy Analytics released second-quarter tablet results last week and found Apple's share at 28.3%, compared to IDC's 32.4%.

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Tags smartphonestabletsAppleAndroidiosoperating systemssoftwarehardware systemsconsumer electronics

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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