Apple has taken lead in the detachable market for the first time since it entered the market in 2015, said IDC in its 2016 third quarter tablet shipment results. Apple takes over from Microsoft, which has kept the number one spot since 2014.

The detachable market grew 1% year-on-year for the July to September quarter reaching 18,500 shipments, a slowdown compared with the growth rates observed earlier this year. The detachable market grew 95 percent in early 2016, compared to the same time in 2015. This growth is attributed to Apple entering the market in late 2015.

Mobile market analyst Chayse Gorton, IDC New Zealand, said the detachable market is flattening off quicker than the slate market. Gorton said consumers are evaluating the added value they get from detachable models over slates and laptops, and determining if this is worth the additional price. Many consumers think the additional price of detachables exceeds the added benefit. Gorton added, when slates were introduced they were seen as a new device, whereas detachables were considered a hybrid of a slate and a laptop.

Apple detachables have strong presence in the consumer space, and are growing in the commercial segment. Gorton said, consumers see iOS detachables as entertainment devices, which is working in favour of Apple. When buyers want an upgrade, they often purchase a laptop, but if the device is purchased as a secondary device then Apple detachables come in mind.

Despite the growth in the detachable market, the New Zealand tablet market continues to decline year-on-year, and IDC forecasts this decline to continue at a decreasing rate in the future.

Comparing total tablet shipments from July to September 2016 with the same period in 2015 shows a total 16% decline. This was due to shipment declines in slate tablets which fell 20% year-on-year.