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Apple still tablet king but Google Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface could defeat iPad Mini

Market share stats continue to paint a rosy picture for Apple, as rival firms look to new products to topple the leader's crown.

The Cupertino tech giant continues its reign as the "king of all media tablets," nabbing nearly 70 per cent of the market in the second quarter, according to new data from research firm IHS iSuppli. Rival Samsung took the No. 2 spot with 9.2 per cent of the market, followed by Amazon with 4.2 per cent, Asus with 2.8 per cent, and Barnes & Noble with 1.9 per cent.

Leader Apple shipped 17 million new iPads at Amazon Marketplace during the second quarter, up a whopping 44 per cent from 11.8 million in the first quarter. The increase in shipments allowed Apple's market share to grow 11.5 percentage points to 69.6 per cent, up from 58 per cent in the first quarter.

Apple has not seen such a high market share since the first quarter of 2011. At this pace, the company is poised to reclaim much of the share it gave up last year.

"Apple is making all the right moves to rebuild its dominant position in the tablet space," Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research for IHS, said in a statement. "The company is pushing visual performance boundaries with the new iPad, while providing value customers with a lower-priced alternative, the iPad 2."

Plus, Apple is showing no signs of slowing down. The company is widely expected to be prepping a smaller version of the iPad with a 7in screen for release this Autumn. But Apple could face increased competition in the tablet market this year from Google's Nexus 7 and Microsoft's Surface tablets.

"Apple's major media tablet rivals, Google and Microsoft, hope to challenge Apple in the second half of the year, but will be facing formidable headwinds with no sign that the market leader is backing off of its aggressive strategy in the market," Alexander said.

Even so, Google and Microsoft have invested heavily to develop an app ecosystem for their tablets, a major factor of Apple's success that other competitors have found difficult to replicate. Both have the potential to be major players in the market.

"Microsoft in particular will be one to watch, with its existing Xbox gaming community on the consumer side and its operating-system dominance in business markets," Alexander said.