Apple is close to losing its dominance in tablet sales, as the iPad slipped to less than a third of all tablet devices sold in Q1 2014, according to research firm IDC. A year earlier, Apple's iPad was more than 40% of all tablets sold. Put another way, the iPad's market share declined by 19.1% across the year.

Now, Samsung is within catching-distance of Apple. Samsung increased its market share by nearly five points and took 22.3% of the tablet market. Market share didn't move very dramatically between the other brands. Rather, Apple lost share and Samsung gained share. Samsung is literally taking Apple's customers, in other words.

Samsung, of course, sells many more different types of tablets than Apple does — but bragging rights are important in tech.

Here's the chart:

The fall of iPad isn't a surprise. It has been a long time coming.

On Apple's Q1 earnings call, iPad sales were far below expectations, at 16.4 million units, down 16.1%. Apple's historic iPad sales look like a business in decline:

It's not simply the case that growth is slowing or that there is a seasonal post-Christmas dip. iPad sales today have declined to the level they were three years ago. iPad's market share declined both year-on-year and sequentially, IDC notes. In the prior period (Q4 2103) the decline was from 38.2% market share to 33.8%.

Apple CEO Tim Cook's explanation for the iPad crash is confusing. He said there was some sort of technical account issue to do with inventory levels in sales channels.

iPad remains the category leader, of course. And it's generally priced higher than Samsung's Galaxy tabs, too. (You can pay up to $929 for a top of the line iPad Air.) Apple has the kind of "problems" most other companies can only dream about.

But it looks as if potential iPad consumers are now shopping on price as well as quality, and Apple isn't winning that battle.

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