Early 2012 has seen the tablet market continue to grow, and Apple remains at the head of the pack, according to a new report from NPD DisplaySearch. In the first quarter of 2012 Apple reportedly shipped 13.6 million iPads, which was good enough to capture 62.8 percent of the tablet market during that period. Those numbers were no doubt bolstered by the release of the third-generation iPad in March, which saw brisk early sales. Samsung followed with 7.5 percent market share (1.6 million units), while Amazon came in a distant third with four percent (900,000 units) — an especially interesting estimate as Amazon is traditionally tight-lipped about Kindle shipment data. And all of those shipments have lead to a 124 percent year over year growth for tablets in general. While they aren't exactly the same, these shipment numbers paint a similar picture to an IDC report released earlier this month.

The DisplaySearch report also looks at shipments of both notebooks and "mini-note" PCs during the same period, and things are much less clear cut in that category. HP held the number one spot shipping 8.9 million units for 16.2 percent market share, trailed by Acer (11.9 percent), Lenovo (10.6 percent), and Dell (10.2 percent). Overall the category saw just 12 percent growth compared to the same time in 2011. However, when you combine the two categories into what DisplaySearch calls the "mobile PC" market, Apple still maintains a healthy lead with 22.5 percent market share, double that of second place HP. Of course, 80 percent of that comes from iPad sales — maybe we are heading towards a post-PC era after all.