Apple vs Samsung: iPhone 5 and iPad Mini help US firm close gap on rival

Global shipments of smart connected devices grew more than 29 per cent year over year in 2012 to pass one billion units valued at $576.9 billion (£380.7bn), according to new data from IDC.

The expansion was largely driven by growth in the tablet market, which increased 78.4 per cent year over year to 128 million units in 2012, the firm said.

Apple and Samsung continued to duke it out for market dominance in Q4 2012, as the Cupertino-based firm "significantly closed the gap" with its Korean rival thanks to its iPhone 5 (pictured, top) and iPad mini . Even so, Samsung lead the market with a 21.2 per cent device share, narrowly beating out Apple, which grabbed 20.3 per cent. However, Apple continued to dominate in terms of revenue for the fourth quarter, pulling in 30.7 per cent while Samsung nabbed 20.4 per cent.

Total fourth quarter shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones reached nearly 378 million units, for revenues of more than $168 billion (£110.8bn), according to IDC.

"Going forward, IDC expects that tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014," the firm said.

The tablet market is expected to grow 48.7 per cent year over year to reach "a new high" of 190 million shipments in 2013, while the larger smartphone market is forecast to grow 27.2 per cent to 918.5 million units. Worldwide desktop PC shipments, on the other hand, are expected to drop by 4.3 per cent this year, while portable PC shipments remain flat.

Going forward, IDC sees huge potential for tablets and smartphones in emerging markets. By the end of 2017, tablet shipments are expected to increase by a factor of three while smartphone shipments are forecast to double, with much of the growth coming from emerging markets. Portable PCs will show only single-digit growth and desktop PCs are expected to "consistently decline year over year with almost no growth in 2017," the firm said.

Overall, the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge over the next four years with shipments exceeding 2.2 billion units and revenues reaching $814.3 billion (£537.3bn) in 2017.