Tablets will come close to outshipping notebooks and desktops in 2014. At least, that's the latest forecast from research firm Canalys.
In a report released Tuesday, Canalys predicted that tablets will account for almost 50 percent of the total worldwide PC market (which includes desktops, notebooks, and tablets) in 2014. Tablet shipments were less than half a million units behind those of notebooks during the third quarter, and they are expected to reach 285 million next year.
Apple, which has long been the tablet leader, will gain further growth from the new iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini. However, its share of the overall global PC market is expected to shrink, the report said.
"Apple's decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model," Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling said in a statement. "Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) this quarter, and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future."
Still, Apple is one of the few vendors making money from the hot demand for tablets, Coulling added.
"Premium products attract high-value consumers," the analyst said. "For Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem are of greater importance than market share statistics."
Android tablets will capture 65 percent of the PC market next year, accounting for 185 million shipments, according to Canalys. But Android players, such as Samsung, Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo, will face challenges from small- to micro-brand vendors in various regions.
"With the cost and time-to-market advantages afforded by their Chinese supply chain, these small- to micro-brand vendors are eating up tablet market share," Canalys analyst James Wang said in a statement. "Vendors such as Nextbook in the United States and Onda and Teclast in the People's Republic of China ship more units than some of the major international top-tier vendors in their home countries."