Apple’s iPad Pro has been very popular since its release in November, and the company sold about half a million more of this tablet than Microsoft did of its entire Surface lineup. Tablets like the iPad Pro and Surface are designed to work primarily with first-party keyboard accessories, and IDC considers these tablets to belong to a different category than tablets such as the iPad Air.
Apple outperforms Microsoft
“We believe Apple sold just over two million iPad Pros while Microsoft sold around 1.6 million Surface devices, a majority of which were Surface Pro and not the more affordable Surface 3,” said IDC research director Jean Philippe Bouchard. Bouchard added that these results proved that price is not the most important criterion when customers make buying decision about a detachable tablet, but rather, “performance is.”
Microsoft sold its Surface line of tablets during the entire quarter and also introduced two new models in the quarter: the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book laptop, and IDC included both of them in its calculation. On the other hand, the iPad Pro went on sale on Nov. 11, which was almost halfway through the quarter.
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IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani said this quarter was unique as all three major platform players introduced new detachables. The iPad Pro was the clear winner this season despite lukewarm reviews, Ubrani said. It was the top selling detachable and surpassed notable entries from Microsoft and other PC vendors.
Amazon: a surprise entry in the top five
Apple’s healthy iPad Pro sales helped it maintain its market share lead over Samsung, and this was despite a continued decline in overall tablet demand. The U.S. firm had 24.5% of the market by the end of the fourth quarter, versus 13.7% for the South Korean firm.
Surprisingly, Amazon secured the third spot with its Fire tablet, which sold at a price of just $50 during the holiday season, capturing a 7.9% market share. Lenovo and Huawei made it to the top five.
Ubrani believes the transition towards detachable tablets presents a lot of positive opportunities for both Apple and Microsoft. Google’s recent foray in this space has been rather lackluster, and the Android platform needs a lot of refinement to achieve any measurable success.