DIGITIMES Research published a new survey this morning calling for global tablet PC shipments hitting 18.7 million units. As for iPad, the research arm of the Asian trade publication forecasts 13 million units, representing a whopping 36.8 percent sequential growth compared to the 9.25 million iPads the company shipped in the previous quarter. DIGITIMES Research says, however, that Apple was originally shooting higher:

Impacted by the weakening global economy, Apple’s iPad shipments in the third quarter did not meet its forecast and only reached 13 million units with a sequential growth of 36.8%.

This could explain recent claims by J.P. Morgan’s Asia team which caused quite a commotion saying Apple cut holiday quarter iPad orders by 25 percent, even though J.P. Morgan quickly distanced themselves from that report. Underwhelming or not, the fact remains that the 13 million iPads account for a healthy 70 percent of the entire tablet market this quarter.

As for iPad wannabes:

Meanwhile, due to their inability to attract consumers, most non-iPad tablet PCs suffered from high inventory issues in the third quarter. In addition, many new tablet PC product launches have been delayed. As a result, shipments of non-iPad tablet PCs only grew 10.1% sequentially in the quarter.

In the U.S., three out of four tablets sold are iPads. Apple is due to report September quarter earnings today after the closing bell so the mystery surrounding iPad shipments will be cleared up soon.

Let’s not forget that the iPad success is positively impacting Apple’s overal OS platform share. The big numbers the company touted at the iPhone 4S introduction earlier this month include an astounding 98 percent satisfaction ratings for the tablet, over 80 percent of the top hospitals in the U.S. testing or piloting iPads and about a thousand K-12 schools having a 1:1 iPad deployment program. iPad’s popularity in education and certain market verticals such as medicine prompted CEO Tim Cook to note:

We think can change the way teachers teach, and kids learn. In fact, every state in the U.S. now has an iPad pilot program, or are deploying one.

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