Apple iPad expands to 28.8% market share, growing in contracting tablet market

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Apple sold 9.1 million iPad units worldwide in the first quarter of the year, for a market share just below 30 percent, with the iPad Pro holding the top spot in the "detachable" high-end tablet market.

According to the latest figures from research firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, Apple has kept its top position in the market, selling 9.1 million iPads, of which 1.8 million were iPad Pro models.

The numbers, which IDC calls "preliminary," match the 9.1 million iPads sold that Apple announced in its quarterly earnings this week. In addition, the overall market for so called "detachable tablets" like the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface grew 2.9 percent year over year, as most other tablet segments posted declines.

IDC defines slate tablets, or traditional tablets, as "tablets without a dedicated keyboard," while detachable tablets are meant to work with a keyboard with an attachment like Apple's Smart Connector. A third category of convertibles are not included in this study.

While the quarter was mostly unaffected by the launch of the new iPad, IDC predicted that the new device, "along with the company's renewed focus on the education market should prove to be quite lucrative in the coming quarters."

IDC ranks the most popular tablets in May 2018

Samsung came in second in worldwide market share with 5.3 million units, followed by Huawei, Lenovo, and Amazon.

This time last year, Apple held the lead with 24.6 percent tablet market share, followed by Samsung with 16.5 percent; Amazon was fourth at the time.

Rise of Chrome

IDC pointed out that the rise of Chrome OS-based detachable tablets is a trend to watch in the space.

"Chrome OS' entrance in the detachable market is a welcome change as Google is finally a serious contender from a platform perspective," Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, said in IDC's release.

"Google's tighter control and integration of Chrome OS will allow brands to focus more on hardware design and additional services rather than spending resources reconfiguring Android to work in a detachable setting. Combined with Microsoft's efforts to run Windows on ARM, the detachable market is poised for strong growth in the near term."

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