Market leader Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) grew its share of the rapidly expanding tablet arena in the second quarter after shipping a record 17 million iPads, according to an IDC report released on Thursday. Apple remained the top global tablet vendor, with 68 percent of roughly 25 million units shipped in the quarter, followed by Samsung with 10 percent, and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) with 5 percent.
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Apple’s share was up nearly 7 percentage points from last year, undercutting arguments that the entry of newer devices is hurting the iPad. In fact, IDC said the sudden increase in tablet choices may actually be benefiting Apple, with “baffled” consumers faced with “too many options” sticking with the popular iPad.
“The vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors, and Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical markets — especially education,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC’s research director for mobile connected devices.
While Samsung sold 2.4 million tablet units worldwide in the second quarter of the year, Amazon.com shipped 1.3 million units of its Kindle Fire. The two were way ahead of Asus and Acer, the next two rivals.
Overall, tablet shipments once again grew at a stronger pace than smartphones. Tablet sales were up 66 percent from last year, while smartphone shipments were reported to have grown by about 32 percent.
However, the research firm added that Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently launched Nexus 7 tablet, which is priced the same as the $199 Kindle Fire, may pose a significant threat to the iPad in the coming quarters. In addition, Amazon is rumored to be close to unveiling an improved version of its device, the sales launch of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface in impending, and manufacturers may be looking to make the most of the forthcoming release of the Windows 8 software by planning new devices around it.