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Apple iPad Mini boosts global tablet sales forecast

Shoppers check out the new Apple iPad mini

Shoppers check out the new Apple iPad mini at the Apple store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. (Nov. 2, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Robust sales of Apple Inc.'s new iPad mini will help propel global tablet sales to 122.3 million units this year, up from a prior projection of 117.1 million, according to market researcher IDC.

By 2016, worldwide shipments should reach 282.7 million units, up from a previous forecast of 261.4 million, the Framingham, Mass.-based researcher said Wednesday in a statement.

Microsoft Corp., which introduced the Surface tablet earlier this year, will command more than 10 percent of the global market by 2016 with its Windows operating system, as Apple's share slips to less than half. Google Inc.'s share for devices running its Android software will also slide, to about 40 percent, from a projected 43 percent this year, IDC said.

"Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate," said Tom Mainelli, tablet research director at IDC, in the statement. "Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple's November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season."

Tablets are gaining at the expense of personal-computers. The total PC market will contract by 1.2 percent to 348.7 million units this year, according to IHS iSuppli. That's the annual decline since 2001, the market researcher said in report earlier this year.

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