Apple's iPad pulls further ahead of competitors

Apple iPad
The rumored iPad Mini could shake things up

New research indicates that the tablet market is growing faster than ever, and that Apple's iPad continues to lead the way.

In fact, Apple's iconic tablet pulled even further into the lead, widening the gap between it and its competitors, says market research firm International Data Corp (IDC).

Previous estimates claimed that 106.1 million tablets would ship worldwide this year, but the new reports say that number is now 107.4 million.

And Apple's iPad will account for 62.5 percent of global tablet shipments this year, up from last year's 58.2 percent.

In comparison, Android tablets from the likes of Amazon and Samsung will account worldwide for 36.5 percent of tablet sales, down from 38.7 percent last year.

Will the 'iPad Mini' throw this balance off further?

The possible introduction of an "iPad Mini" later this year could increase Apple's share even more, further widening the gap between Apple and its competitors.

"Apple's iPad shows few signs of slowing down," said IDC's mobile connected devices research director Tom Mainelli. "If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company's grip on this market to become even stronger."

Rumors about a smaller, cheaper iPad of about 7 inches have been unrelenting, despite former Apple CEO Steve Jobs's claims that using a 7-inch tablet would require users to "sand down their fingers."

Tablets will continue to grow

Q1 2012 results found that the Apple dominates the tablet market. iPads comprise 11.8 million of the 17.4 million tablets sold.

Overall, tablet shipments globally are expected to continue rising, and could reach 142.8 million next year and 222.1 million by 2016, IDC predicts.

The researchers also said that the release of Microsoft's Windows 8 OS for tablets could boost sales and shipments of devices later this year, though it didn't include this unknown variable's potential in its recent estimates.

Via San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.