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Apple's share of worldwide tablet market returns to all-time highs

Nearly three out of every four tablet computers purchased around the world last quarter were iPads, helping Apple further distance itself from competitors in a market it simultaneously invaded and helped redefine three years ago.

A mix of 17 million iPad 2s and third-generation iPads made up 69.6% of all tablet shipments during the three-month period ending July, more than seven times that of its closest rival Samsung, which managed to ship 2.254 million Galaxy Tabs.

Apple's 44% jump in iPad shipments was nearly enough to boost the Cupertino-based company back to an all-time high of 70% global tablet market share it achieved during the first quarter of 2011, according to research firm iSuppli.

"With the expected entrance of the 7-inch version of the iPad in September, Apple is sending a clear message that it plans to dominate this market over the long term," said Rhoda Alexander, who heads up the firm's tablet research.

"Apple’s major media tablet rivals, Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., hope to challenge Apple in the second half of the year, but will be facing formidable headwinds with no sign that the market leader is backing off of its aggressive strategy in the market," he added.

For its part, online retailer Amazon is reported to have shipped just over 1 million Kindle tablets during the second quarter, placing it a distant third in the high-stakes battle for mind- and market-share in the modern mobile computing market.