Google Inc (GOOG) Leapfrogs Apple Inc. (AAPL) In Tablets. You Read That Right.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the unquestionable leader in the tablet market a year ago, and frankly, it looked as though Tim Cook, Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield would eventually retire off into a sunset of iPad dominance. Oh how things have changed. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is giving Apple a run for its money.

Let me rephrase that: Google is doing more than giving Apple a run for its money. The search engine giant has actually surpassed Cupertino in many key metrics measuring performance within the tablet space.

Yesterday, we reported on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android overtaking Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS in terms of global tablet operating system market share. We’ll let our illustration guide you through that battle. Hint: Tim Cook (left), Larry Page (right).

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Now that this is out of the way, thanks to a report by research firm Canalys, there is more evidence that the power is beginning to shift and that the market will continue to become more competitive in the years to come.

Although we are going to touch on the finer details, let’s not hold back from the real meat of the story: Android has overtaken iOS with 53 percent market share in tablets.

According to the Canalys report, over 34 million tablets were shipped during the second quarter of 2013, which is a 43 percent increase over the same period of 2012.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Slipping

Apple’s performance has faltered, with the company’s tablet shipments dropping 14 percent year over year. As if this is not bad enough, its market share has declined to 43 percent.

What is the problem?

There are a couple of things going on here. First and foremost, Apple needs to get its next generation tablets to market. We mentioned this yesterday, but the fact that Apple users are holding off on buying the last iPad might just indicate the belief that Apple will release a new iteration of the device this fall. So, in one way, a bull could take this news as evidence of brand loyalty.

On the other hand, it could indicate that Google’s tablets are viewed in a more favorable light. It’s the October-November data that will settle this debate.

One thing is clear, however: consumers are getting anxious, wanting to see what the newest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad and iPad mini will have to offer. The longer Cupertino holds back the easier it is for the competition, including those running on the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, to catch up.

Of course, we don’t want to discount what the competition has done up to this point. Canalys added:

“Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo and Acer each grew annually by over 200%, driven by increasing demand for small-screen tablets.”

Those are big numbers.

It is always important to pay attention to the here and now, but the real battle has yet to come. We need to reexamine things once Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), under the watchful eye of Tim Cook, releases its next generation tablets. This is when we will really see what Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is made of.

With such a long history of success, there is no reason for Cupertino to panic. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and others have run into challenges in the past, all coming out on top in the end (the following video will show you what this company is made of).

What do you think billionaire Apple investors like David Einhorn think about the company’s future, with the advent of this data?

Disclosure: none

This article was written by Chris Bibey