Upcoming OS Windows 10 will have 'little impact' on tablet computer sales until late 2016 at the earliest, predicts analyst CCS Insight, which also believes Apple is working on a new work/play device.
"Microsoft still runs the risk of failing to convert the wide availability of cheaper Windows tablets into strong growth in unit sales before 2017," said Marina Koytcheva, CCS' director of forecasting.
"Windows 10 will take time to make its mark, and developers will need a few months to perfect applications for the new platform. We expect Windows 10 to have little impact on tablet sales before late 2016."
CCS added that tablet growth in the next couple of years depends on the performance of Windows 8 models, but did state that beyond 2016, Windows 10 will play a 'major role' in the growth of the tablet market and that Windows will increase its share of the tablet market in the next two years.
The predictions have been made as part of CCS' annual global tablet forecast, which predicts that tablet sales will double over the next four years, reaching 540 million units by 2018.
After a relatively quiet 2014, when sales rose nine per cent from 2013, CCS predicts the worldwide tablet market will grow by 28 per cent in 2015 to 283 million units.
"While tablet sales slowed in 2014, demand is expected to race ahead in 2015 with sales to first-time users being complemented by a rash of upgrades, as owners of older models replace their ageing tablets. Buyers in established markets will be joined by a new wave of users in emerging markets, to spark an increase in sales across the globe," said CCS in a statement.
Koytcheva added: "We expect Android to continue dominating the low end and midrange market, with Apple taking the lion's share of the high end. But Windows is gaining a bigger slice of the pie, albeit from a very low level, and should not be overlooked." Koytcheva continued.
CCS also believes growing enterprise demand will be of benefit for Apple too, citing the partnership with IBM and the idea that 'Apple could very well be working on a productivity-focused device that combines work and play'.
"If this proves correct, it will be another hurdle for Windows. Microsoft can ill-afford to stumble as it races to catch the tablet market leaders," CCS added.