Lacking a new product launch in March to help spur shipments, Apple's iPad saw a lower-than-predicted shipment total of 14.6 million units for the most recent quarter, down from 19.5 million in the first quarter of 2013, as worldwide tablet shipment growth slowed in the second quarter of the year, according to IT research firm IDC.
Worldwide tablet shipments finally experienced a sequential decline as total volumes fell nearly 10 percent from the first quarter of 2013. However, the 45.1 million units shipped in the second quarter was up 59.6 percent from the same quarter in 2012, when tablet vendors shipped 28.3 million devices.
"A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors," Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC, said in a statement. "With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that's likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market."
In years past, Apple has launched a new tablet heading into the second quarter, which resulted in strong quarter-over-quarter growth. However, Apple is thought to have shifted strategy, releasing a new or updated tablet model in the fall to better position itself for the holiday sales season.
Apple was not the only company to experience a decline in shipments: Archrival and second-place finisher Samsung shipped 8.1 million units, down from 8.6 million in the first quarter of 2013, though that figure represented a significant uptick from the 2.1 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2012. Meanwhile, third-place Asus shipped a total of 2.0 million units in 2Q13, down from 2.6 million in the first quarter of the year.
Lenovo and Acer, known primarily for their success in the PC market, both re-entered the top five this quarter, with Lenovo experiencing a personal best, shipping more than a million unit tablets in the quarter, reaching a total of 1.5 million devices. Acer shipped 1.4 million tablets in 2Q13 for nearly 250 percent year-over-year growth and an increase of 35.4 percent over the first quarter of 2013.
Android Is Top Tablet OS
The myriad of devices running Google's Android operating system allowed Android to rank as the top OS in the tablet market, representing 62.6 percent of all devices shipped (28.2 million units), while Apple's iOS platform constituted 32.5 percent of market share with 14.6 million iPad devices sold.
Microsoft's Windows and Windows RT systems garnered a paltry 0.8 percent of the market, as the company moves to slash prices of its Surface tablet line to gain a better foothold in the market. BlackBerry OS, with 0.1 percent market share, rounded out the top five operating systems.
"The tablet market is still evolving and vendors can rise and fall quickly as a result," Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's Mobility Tracker programs, said in a statement. "Apple aside, the remaining vendors are still very much figuring out which platform strategy will be successful over the long run. To date, Android has been far more successful than the Windows 8 platform. However, Microsoft-fueled products are starting to make notable progress into the market."