The worldwide media tablet market grew by 45% in the third quarter of 2010, reports the International Data Corporation (IDC), crediting Apple's iPad as the main driving force behind the growing demand.

According to figures released today, vendors shipped 4.8 million units globally in the third quarter of 2010, compared to 3.3 million units in the second quarter, with Apple's iPad representing 87.4% of tablets shipped.

iPad Dominates Tablets, Kindle Dominates E-Readers

The report finds the popularity of tablets was accompanied with increased adoption of e-readers as well, with a 40% growth over the second quarter; 2.7 million e-readers were shipped in the third quarter, with the U.S. comprising almost 75% of the world e-reader market. And although its dominance isn't nearly as striking as Apple's over the world of tablets, Amazon's Kindle rules e-readers with a nearly 42% share of the market.

IDC predicts the popularity of these devices will continue to accelerate, not surprising, as the fourth quarter figures will include what's already reported to have been a blockbuster holiday season for Apple and Amazon. IDC says the tablet market is expected to finish 2010 with nearly 17 million units sold and predicts that almost 45 million will ship in 2011 and almost 71 million in 2012. Growth in the coming year will be fueled by new Android-based tablets, according to IDC, which sees an increasing demand in both consumer and commercial settings.

IDC also predicts strong year-end figures for e-readers and continued growth in the coming year. IDC forecasts 14.7 million e-readers to ship in 2011 and 16.6 million in 2012, a growth curve that seems nowhere near as steep as that for tablets.