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ipad_2Not that it’s a huge surprise, but it doesn’t appear that Apple’s iPad will be dethroned as king of the tablets anytime soon.

The iPad will account for 73.4 percent of worldwide tablet sales this year (down from 83 percent last year), and it’s expected to hold more than 50 percent of the market until 2014, according to research firm Gartner.

Apple’s tablet reigns supreme because it “delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services,” Gartner research VP Carolina Milanesi said in a statement today. “Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

Android tablets are expected to ship 11 million units this year, compared to last year’s 2.5 million units. But while that seems like a big jump, it doesn’t do much to change Android’s overall market share, since worldwide tablet sales this year are set to reach around 63.6 million units, a 261.4 percent jump from last year’s overall sales of 17.6 million. Android will hold around 17.3 percent of tablet sales this year, but that’s only a few points higher than last year, where it accounted for 14.3 percent of sales.

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