Samsung is the new smartphone king, wrestling the title from Apple two quarters ago, but the American tech giant has so far remained the undisputed lord in the tablet computer market, according to the initial data provided on Thursday by research firm International Data Corp (IDC).
As of the end of June 2012, IDC's preliminary survey pointed to more than 17 million iPads shipped from California, which is about 68 per cent of the overall market pie or the estimated 25 million units that IDC said were shipped by tablet manufacturers in the period.
The nearest competitor, Samsung, languished at 9.6 per cent of market share but the IDC report noted that the firm's expansion was nothing short of exceptional.
Apple's tablet surge represented consistent growth in the market that analysts said the company actually created when it launched the first iPad edition a few years back.
From the second quarter of 2011, Apple's dominance further expanded by more than 84 per cent, IDC said, or tens of million iPads more that the company had pushed out in the past 12 months since last year.
Apple also surpassed its record iPad shipment of 15.4 million units that was recorded in the December quarter of 2011, which came more than two months after the demise of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs.
Mr Jobs even briefly interrupted his business leave to personally attend the third iPad iteration release that went on to exceed record quarterly sales of the product by the end of 2011.
But even that feat was erased by mid-2012, IDC said, as iPad continues to rule the global market with no clear competition in sight.
For the current year's first half, Apple shipped more than 27 million of iPads as rival products failed to come up with consumer magnets of their own, save for the considerable efforts by Samsung.
The South Korean tech firm shipped 2.3 million in the June quarter, which the IDC said reflected growth of more than 100 per cent from the company's modest roll out of over a million tablets in by the same corresponding period in 2011.
Samsung's growth numbers alone, analysts said, pointed to its gradual climb as the most potent threat to Apple, the most solid testament of which is the company's better results in the smartphone department.
The two are locked in a bitter patent war that is highlighted by the ongoing trial in a U.S. court, which later on could impact on the future market course of both Apple and Samsung, depending on the outcome of the procedure.
Outside of the courtroom battles, Apple and Samsung have emerged as the force to reckon with in the combined mobile gadget industry, with the two companies finding success in producing products that could lure the most buys from global device consumers.
Yet in terms of gaining inroads in the tablet market, Samsung needs to exert further efforts to really make a dent in the segment as Mobile Connected Devices research director Tom Mainelli told IDC: "The vast majority of consumers continue to favour the iPad over competitors."
Samsung itself has admitted earlier this year that the gains it has achieved in the smartphone area were yet to be replicated in the tablet wars despite the array of products it released in the market.
To date, only the Galaxy Note, a 5-inch device that combines the functions of tablet and smartphone in a single unit, is considered as the best that Samsung could offer against iPad and is reportedly slated for an upgrade later this year.
But that move too could soon be thwarted if speculations of an iPad Mini from Apple proved correct, which is said to hit the market in the final months of 2011 - the same timeline that would witness tablet debuts from other firms, foremost of which is Microsoft's Windows 8-powered Surface tablet.
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