Apple’s iPad is running circles around Android

Apple’s wildly popular iPad is set to once again increase its market share at the expense of Android tablets.

According to IDC analyst Tom Mainelli, iOS will grow its share of the lucrative tablet market in 2012 to 62.5%, up from 58.2% in 2011. Meanwhile, Android’s share will slip from 38.7% in 2011 to 36.5% in 2012, as third-place Blackberry regresses from 1.7% to 1%.

“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down. The addition of the Retina Display and 4G capabilities to the third-generation products clearly enticed many current owners to upgrade,” Mainelli explained. 

“And Apple’s decision to keep two iPad 2s in the market at lower prices – moving the entry-level price down to $399 – seems to be paying off as well. If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”

Mainelli also emphasized that IDC is not currently forecasting Windows 8 or Windows RT tablets in its Media Tablet Tracker, as they appear in the PC Tracker forecast. However, beginning next quarter, analysts will institute several changes to bring all tablet slates, regardless of OS or processor type, into the Media Tablet Tracker.

“We’re looking forward to rolling the Windows-based tablets into our tablet forecast in order to give customers a complete view of tablet slates all in one place,” said Mainelli.

“Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast. We don’t expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.”

Meanwhile, expectations of strong demand for media tablets in the second half of 2012 prompted IDC to increase its forecast for the worldwide market to 107.4 million units for the year, up from its previous forecast of 106.1 million units. IDC also revised upward its 2013 forecast number from 137.4 million units to 142.8 million units, estimating that worldwide shipments should reach 222.1 million units by 2016.

“Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side,” Mainelli commented.

“We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year.”