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Research firm IDC is out today with its latest report on the smart-connected device market, and it includes worldwide shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, smartphones, and tablets. IDC predicted the market in total grew 29.1-percent year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units shipped and hitting a total value of $576.9 billion. According to the report, Apple significantly closed the gap on Samsung during the last quarter of the year. It jumped from 15.1-percent in Q3 to 20.3-percent of unit shipments in Q4 2012. That brings the company up right behind market leader Samsung, which dropped slightly from 21.8-percent to 21.2-percent in the fourth quarter:

Looking specifically at the results for the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion. In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3% unit shipment share versus 21.2% for Samsung.

Not surprisingly, Apple dominated Samsung when it came to revenue share. It took in 30.7-percent of the market compared to just 20.4-percent for Samsung by revenue:

On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7% share versus 20.4% share for Samsung.

Apple’s increase is likely thanks to strong iPad and iPad mini sales, as growth in the market was “largely driven by 78.4-percent year-over-year growth in tablet shipments.” IDC expected tablet shipments to outgrow desktop PCs by the end of this year, while the tablet market could surpass the portable PC market in 2014 and provide Apple with even more opportunity to outgrow Samsung for total connected smart device shipments this year and next:

Going forward, IDC expects that tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3% and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9%. The tablet market, on the other hand, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units with year-on-year growth of 48.7% while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2% to 918.5 million units.

By the end of year 2017, IDC predicts that the tablet and smartphone markets will have a huge growth potential in the emerging markets. During this time, tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of 3 with a shipment value of $125 billion dollars while smartphone unit shipments are expected to double and reach a shipment value of $462 billion dollars. Portable PCs, on the other hand will show a moderate single-digit growth while desktop PCs are expected to consistently decline year over year with almost no growth in 2017.