IDC Says Apple Could Tighten Grip on Tablet Market with 7” Model

Research firm IDC predicts that demand for tablets will increase in the second half of 2012, and has upped its forecast for the worldwide market to 107.4 million units shipped, up from its earlier forecast of 106.1 million units.

The firm is also expecting 137.4 million units to 142.8 million tablet units to be shipped during 2013, with numbers reaching an impressive 221.1 million units in 2016.

Greater tablet shipment numbers, according to the firm, will also come with a shift towards iOS. Apple’s iOS market share is expected to grow to 62.5 percent during 2012,  up from 58.2 percent in 2011. Android’s share will fall from 38.7 percent in 2011 to 36.5 percent in 2012.

IDC attributes this increase to the release of the new iPad in March, with its upgraded processor, Retina display, and 4G connection speeds. Many existing iPad owners purchased the third generation tablet.

Apple’s price drop – to $399 for the iPad 2 – also seems to have boosted the company’s sales. IDC believes that if Apple were to release a 7-inch iPad at a price point below $300, it would have an even stronger grip on the tablet market.

While we have heard plenty of rumors on Apple’s alleged iPad Mini, there’s been little sign that the company plans to release one. Rumors had Apple announcing the tablet at WWDC, and now that that’s come and gone, rumors now peg fall – likely October – as the month when we’ll see the fabled tablet.

Do you think Apple is working on a 7-inch tablet? Would you buy one to use in conjunction with your iPad?

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