Apple is pulling closer to Samsung on the mobile device front as worldwide shipments of smart connected devices grew 29.1 percent year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units that shipped with a value of $576.9 billion. So says IDC's Smart Connected Device Tracker.
Tablet shipments were the star of the show, with 78.4 percent year-over-year growth. And Apple is the star of the tablet world. The iPad mini, in particular, turned heads. Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple's iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3 percent unit shipment share versus 21.2 percent for Samsung.
"The iPad Mini is popular because it's competing directly in the Kindle space. It's competing directly in the Samsung Galaxy Tab II space," said Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner.
"American Airlines has Samsung tablets in the passenger compartment for the flight crew," Disabato told us. "The only reason they didn't go with Apple is because the Mini hadn't been announced yet. I'm anticipating when Apple does a refresh of the Mini, Samsung is going to fall off the airplane. Being with an IT practitioner I'll go with a single platform and it's not going to be Android because the FAA hasn't approved Android."
Tablets To Overtake PCs
Drilling into the fourth quarter of 2012, IDC reports combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion. On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7 percent share versus 20.4 percent share for Samsung.
"Consumers and business buyers are now starting to see smartphones, tablets, and PCs as a single continuum of connected devices separated primarily by screen size," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC program vice president for clients and displays. "Each of these devices is primarily used for data applications and different individuals choose different sets of screen sizes in order to fit their unique needs. These kinds of developments are creating exciting new opportunities that will continue to drive the smart connected devices market forward in a positive way."
Looking ahead, IDC predicts that tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3 percent and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9 percent. The tablet market, on the other hand, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units, with year-on-year growth of 48.7 percent, while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2 percent, to 918.5 million units. (continued...)