When it comes to tablets, Apple’s series of iPads have long reigned supreme, but it looks like that reign has come to an end, that’s if you were to follow Gartner’s recent stats which has shown that Android tablets have finally managed to overtake the iPad in terms of sales.
Apple effectively created the market for consumer tablets in April 2010 with the release of the first-generation iPad. Cupertino remained the market leader for three years, but tablets running Android had gained considerable ground by 2012, when iOS held 52.8 percent of the global market, followed by Android at 45.8 percent. Android-driven tablets had an extremely successful year in 2013. They experienced a worldwide sales growth of 127%, which is a pretty spectacular figure even for the rapidly growing tablet market. The iPad of course still remains the biggest selling tablet computer overall.
Given that the iPad is essentially taking on the entirety of the remainder of the tablet market on its own, it’s pretty much inevitable that its market share will dwindle over time. It could be asserted that it was pretty much miraculous that it managed to hold on to so much of the tablet market for so long.
Sure Apple has the iPad mini but that can hardly be called cheap or low-end when compared to tablets like the Nexus 7. Ironically enough despite Amazon kickstarting the low-end, small tablet craze with their Kindle Fire, overall market share has dropped from 6.6% in 2012 to 4.8%.
Perhaps more interesting, and alarming, is the “Others” category, which comprises not only smaller Android OEMs like Asus, but ultra-cheap Chinese manufacturers who sell Android without the Google Play Services included. Considering the race to the bottom for tablets was of a similarly high speed as it was for smartphones, it’s not surprising to see Android take the lead in market share. Usage share, however — the much more difficult metric to determine, whereby true market share is gauged by time logged by individuals — is still dominated by the iPad, which accounts for over four times the amount of developer revenue per user.
In terms of raw numbers, Android now stands at 62% market share, with Apple at 36% and Microsoft at a lowly 2.1%.