Tablet manufacturers quickly turned their attention to educational uses because so many students depend on the devices for schoolwork. According to the International Data Corporation, tablets maintained double-digit growth in the U.S. through the third quarter of 2014 because of back-to-school spending.

In the IDC's third-quarter report, there were 53.8 million tablets shipped globally within the three-month quarterly period, which ended Sept. 30. From the same quarter in 2013, this year's figure grew 11.5 percent. Additionally, shipments peaked in 2014 and increased 11.2 percent from the second quarter this year.

Back-to-school promotions from tablet manufacturers helped the U.S. market extend its sales. According to the IDC report, the nation's tablet sales were stronger than the rest of the world's average, and the U.S. reached 18.5 percent in the third quarter of this year.

Apple still on top of tablet sales

 

Without any surprises, Apple's iPad sales were at the top of the tablet market once again, with the company's shipments reaching 12.3 million in the third quarter. However, when compared to the same quarter last year, Apple saw a 12.8 percent dip, which is the equivalent of 14.1 million units.

To add insult to injury, Apple's market share dropped from 29.2 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to 22.8 percent in the same quarter this year, the IDC report stated.

"Apple, during its earnings call, noted that the iPad's lifecycle is extending," the IDC report stated. "Combined with consumer anticipation and the release of the latest iPhones, IDC saw a decline in overall iPad shipment volume in 3Q14. Although Apple has recently updated and expanded its iPad lineup to its widest offering ever, IDC still expects 2014 to be the year of the iPhone."

Nokia coming back to compete with Apple

 

Another challenger in the tablet market that was recently announced was one that many haven't heard from in a while. According to The New York Times, Nokia, the Finnish telecommunications company, released its new N1 tablet to compete with Apple's iPad.

The Nokia N1 has a 7.9-inch display and will be released in China sometime in early 2015 for approximately $250, which is less than half the cost of a new iPad, the Times reported. The new tablet from Nokia is the first device its created for the consumer market in years when the company was once the leader in the cellphone business.

Nokia recently sold its handset business to Microsoft for $6.8 billion, putting the Finnish company on hold for smartphone manufacturing until 2016 because of the new contract, the source reported.

According to The Verge, one of the toughest battles for iPad competitors will be moving Apple users away from their tablets because of the new Microsoft Office deal. Recently, Microsoft released a new Office app that allows iPad and iPhone users to run a much more complete version of the suite on their devices. The movement will be challenging to overcome because many saw that as the main reason to leave Apple.

Whichever device customers choose, they need to consider personal insurance to protect their electronics from theft or damage.