Apple made almost half the tablets sold in the word during the December quarter, according to market researchers.

The company itself says it took in more revenue from iPad sales in the October-through-December period than in any previous quarter.

iPad shipments were very strong in Q4 2022

iPad sales saw a dramatic increase during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of people turning to tablets to take classes or work from home during lockdowns. With the world opened up again, many have assumed that iPad sales would drop to pre-pandemic levels.

Nope. IDC reports Apple shipped 22.5 million tablets during Q4 2022, a 28.8% year-over-year increase. The last quarter of 2021 was weak because of supply constraints, helping Q4 2022 look better. That doesn’t matter because  shipments in the October-through-December period were up 41% from Q4 2019, back in the Before Time.

iPadOS made up 49.2% of global shipments in the December quarter, up from 38.3% in the same quarter of the previous year.

In fall 2022, Apple introduced an iPad Pro updated with a faster processor, as well as a redesigned iPad 10 with a larger display. These undoubtedly helped buoy demand.

Apple itself doesn’t report exact numbers for iPad shipments each quarter, so it’s up to market-analysis firms to estimate. These don’t always agree. Strategy Analytics is more pessimistic about iPad than IDC — it estimates that Apple shipped 18.1 million tablets in Q4 2022, a 15% year-over-year increase. Still, that’s a substantial jump over pre-pandemic levels.

Strategy Analytics estimate of iPad shipments from Q4 2017 to Q4 2021
Strategy Analytics estimate of iPad shipments from Q4 2017 to Q4 2021 show no slowdown to pre-pandemic levels.
Chart: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A data point neither company can argue with is Apple’s own figure for iPad revenue. Cupertino reported Thursday that money coming in from tablet shipments increased a whopping 30% year over year during the December 2022 quarter.

2022 was a good year for Apple tablets

Looking at the whole of 2022, there’s no sign the oft-predicted huge drop in iPad demand.

Apple shipped 61.8 million tablets throughout the year, a 7% increase over 2021, according to IDC. Strategy Analytics very nearly agrees, estimating the total of iPad shipments was 63.5 million. And both market-research firms agree the Apple’s share of the world tablet market for all of 2022 was about 40%.