Apple announced recently that it shipped a whopping 15.4 million iPads in the most recent quarter, with iPads outselling Mac computers by a margin of nearly 3 to 1. But how does the iPad fare against the onslaught of tablets running Android, Windows, or other operating systems?
Pretty well, actually. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, about 26.8 million tablets were shipping in the fourth quarter of 2011. If 15.4 million of those were iPads, that gives Apple 57.6 percent of the tablet market.
That’s down from the 68.2 percent market share the company had a year earlier. But it’s still pretty good considering Apple only has two iPad models and only actively promotes one. Meanwhile there are literally dozens of companies (including Amazon, Asus, and Samsung) pushing Android tablets — and they’ve only managed to capture about 39.1 percent of the tablet market.
Windows tablets and other devices such as the BlackBerry PlayBook made up less than 4 percent of the market with shipments of under a million units, according to Strategy Analytics.
Does this mean that Apple will continue to dominate the tablet space in 2012 and beyond? Not necessarily. A few years ago the smartphone space looked a lot like this. Apple still sells more smartphones than anyone (except, occasionally, for Samsung). But Android phones have been outselling iPhones for a while now.
It’s not hard to imagine a future where Android tablets outsell iPads — but that’s not necessarily bad news for Apple. Overall tablet shipments are on the rise. The report suggests that 10.7 million were shipped in Q4, 2010, compared with 26.8 million in the same period in 2011. If the trend continues Apple could sell even more tablets this year than last while continuing to lose market share. Somehow I don’t think Tim Cook stays up at night worrying about that prospect.