As expected by tech analysts, growth of the tablet market is continuing to slow down.
While Apple's strategists may have projected it, the company probably isn't thrilled that its share of that market has reportedly shrunk in the second quarter of 2014 by 9.3 percent when compared with the same period in the previous year.
Looking at the bigger picture, Apple's share of the tablet market has shrunk from 33 percent in 2013 to 26.9 percent so far in 2014, according to a recent report from the International Data Corporation.
Rival Samsung's grip of the market loosened 1.6 percent, going from 18.8 percent share in 2013 to 17.2 percent this year. Acer's share fell 1.4 percent, from 3.4 percent in 2013's second quarter to 2 percent this year. Other manufacturers, including Asus and Lenovo, experienced small gains.
It's that slow, creeping growth of minor players that has been invading the gardens of the top players in the tablet market, according to Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
"Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors," stated Ubrani. "Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a leveling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase."
Improving by 64.7 percent, Lenovo, the world's largest PC manufacturer, has moved up to the third spot in the rankings of tablet manufacturers. However, it's 4.9 percent market share so far this year has been dwarfed by Samsung's 17.2 percent slice and Apple's 26.9 percent chunk.
After using slightly ambiguous language to announce a new strategy for its 8-inch tablets, some tech analysts feared the Chinese tech manufacturer would wipe its smaller tablets from U.S. shelves. Lenovo clarified its position on its smaller tablets and even said it intended to release new 8-inch units into the U.S. market in time for the holidays, but the move to phase out sub-10-inch devices in the U.S. would have been supported by current market trends.
Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC's research director for tablets, still points to the rise of phablets, oversize smartphones, as one of the main reasons the growth of the tablet markets has been slowing. Slow adoption rates in the business world were also a concern.
"As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles," said Bouchard. "We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets. Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market."