Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still the leader in the tablet market but that could change sometime in the near future. Research firm IDC just released new data which could indicate changes ahead.

apple iPad Air

According to the study, the overall market for the iPad grew about seven percent and tablet shipments rose 47.6 million during the third quarter. Interestingly enough, the main reason behind this growth is the Android tablet.

Apple’s iPad market capitalization

Fortunately for the company, their iPad market share is standing strong at 29.6 percent. However, Samsung is a powerful force that’s growing fast. Their market share isn’t too far off from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s at 20.4 percent. Last time, the Cupertino-based tech giant had 40.2 percent of the market and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) had 12.4 percent. In other somewhat ominous news for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), other tablet makers like Acer Incorporated (TPE:2353), ASUSTEK Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) (OTCMKTS:AKCPF), and Lenovo Group Limited (ADR) (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) (HKG:0992) also showed signs of progress.

It should be noted that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s decline in market shares can be attributed to the fact the company moved the iPad unveiling from the beginning of the year to the last quarter. IDC predicts that things will improve for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) once the new iPad Air hits store next month.

iPad Air features

The iPad Air could be one of the most exciting tablets. As summed up by USA Today“As it happens, though, this latest full-size Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) tablet is the most tempting iPad yet, better than its already best of breed predecessors, superior still to each and every rival big screen slate that I’ve tested. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) dominates the tablet apps ecosystem. Its tablet remains the easiest to use.”

This new tablet measures 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.29 inches. Compared to the iPad 4, it’s twenty percent thinner and it weighs significantly less. It also features a 9.7 inch Retina display and A7 chip. It’s definitely the kind of device that will keep Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the lead.

The iPad is a popular tablet and thanks to the recent upgrade, it doesn’t look like the tech giant has anything to worry about.