The iPad, the first touch screen tablet, was released by Apple in 2010. Since its launch, Apple’s product has dramatically changed the market in terms of technology and consumer expectations, as Apple’s iPad was the first tablet to achieve significant success amongst consumers. Up to early 2017 Apple has sold around 360 million iPads worldwide.
The success of the iPad encouraged other companies such as Samsung, RIM, Amazon and Hewlett-Packard to release their own tablet versions in quick succession. In 2017 tablet shipments worldwide are forecast to exceed 170 million units. By 2020 tablets with small screens (7 to 9 inches) are forecast to account for 40 percent of all tablet shipments worldwide, while almost 60 percent of all tablets shipped are projected to be tablets with medium screens (9 to 13 inches).
Apple still remains the leading tablet vendor in terms of shipments. In 2016 alone, Apple sold more than 40 million iPads, while Samsung sold around 26.5 million tablets that year. Apple's market share of tablet shipments worldwide was at around 25 percent, while Samsung held about 15 percent of the market. Lenovo, Amazon and Huawei round out the top five tablet vendors with a combined market share of 20 percent in 2016.
Google’s Android operating system, which is used by a number of different vendors, is the leading OS in the tablet market with a share of around 60 percent in 2017. Apple’s iOS has held a quarter of the market share over the years, and is forecast to maintain this share up until 2019. Microsoft's Windows operating system accounted for around 13 percent of the market in 2017.
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