A seminal moment in the Tablet Wars may have just taken place in Q4 of 2012. If the IDC’s latest preliminary report on worldwide shipment figures proves to be accurate it will be the first time since the market’s inception that Apple’s share has fallen below 50%. It also means that Android device sales will have finally overtaken those of the iPad. Albeit, this new found claim over the majority market share comes as a combined effort from the likes of Amazon, Samsung and ASUS, among others.
But fret not Tim Cook, it’s not all bad news as Apple continue to dominate on the vendor front, shipping nearly three times as many tablets in the last 3 months of 2012 as their nearest rival Samsung. They also continue to experience a very healthy growth, increasing by 48% on the previous quarter’s numbers.
And this trend can be seen across the market as a whole, with the widespread growth at over 75% and actual figures continuing to track substantially ahead of predictions. The IDC have this down to an ever increasing range of products, lower average selling prices and a much more robust holiday season than had been anticipated.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s arrival to the tablet marketplace proved somewhat lackluster, not even making the Top 5 vendor list as their newly launched Surface only managed to ship just under 900,000 units.
Another interesting point raised by the IDC is that this record breaking tablet quarter comes as the PC market experiences a decline during the period for the first time in more than five years, adding weight to the belief that we’re seeing a shift towards tablets replacing PCs. It’s been long suspected that the more affordable pricing, increased mobility and ease of use would give the tablets an edge over their laptop cousins, but this is the strongest indication we’ve seen so far of the tablets’ growth being at the expense of the PC’s.
For more on the report see the official IDC Press Release.