Apple has loosened its grip on the global tablet market, according to new figures from IDC, which show the tech giant's share slip below 30 per cent for the first time.
In the third quarter, worldwide tablet shipments jumped seven per cent annually to 47.6 million units, slightly below the analyst's forecast.
IDC said Android devices were king as Apple's iOS growth stalled and Windows-based tablets struggled to win over users.
Despite Apple upping its number of shipments annually by 0.6 per cent to 14.1 million units – well ahead of any other vendor – its market share plunged from 40.2 per cent last year to just 29.6 per cent in this year's Q3 – its lowest share to date.
IDC put Apple's performance partly down to its decision last year to move its product launches to the end of calendar years and also to the imminent launch of its iPad Air machine, which it thinks will prompt strong growth this quarter.
Samsung continues to close the gap on the once runaway market leader as its share of the spoils ballooned from 12.4 per cent last year to 20.4 per cent this year. This time last year, the gap between Samsung and Apple was 27.8 percentage points, but this year the gap stands at just 9.2 points after Samsung's unit shipments more than doubled to 9.7 million.
IDC put Samsung's success in the tablet market partly down to its ability to bundle the devices with its other products such as smartphones and TVs.
The other top-three vendors – Asus, Lenovo and Acer – also took a bite of out Apple's market share in Q3, with the latter two enjoying annual shipment growth of 421 per cent and 346 per cent respectively.
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