Figures from analyst firm IDC have confirmed Apple's dominance of the media tablet sector in 2010.

According to IDC, 83 percent of all media tablets sold were Apple's iPad. There were 18 million media tablet units sold in all.

Media tablets are defined as tablet devices that run a lightweight operating system such as iOS or Android, though those running Windows 7 are not counted.

The fourth quarter of 2010 was particularly strong for tablet sales, IDC said, with 10.1 million media tablets shipped - more than double the 4.5 million shipped in the third quarter.

However, Apple's dominance of the third quarter of 2010 was not repeated - in Q3 it registered a 93 percent share, compared to just 73 percent in Q4, with a yearly average of 83 percent.

"Strong holiday sales of media tablets were in line with IDC projections and strong consumer interest in the category while device vendors scrambled to offer products competitive with Apple's iPad and now iPad 2," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Consumer Device Trackers.

"Media Tablets are on pace to reach shipments of roughly 50 million units in 2011," Loverde continued.

The figures will make difficult reading for Apple's rivals in the media tablet sector, particularly on the back of news that the vast majority (82 percent) of those considering buying a tablet device would plump for the iPad, according to a survey by Changewave.

The launch of the iPad 2 - which hits US stores on Friday and 35 international markets including the UK in two weeks' time - will further add to the woes of Apple's competitors in the tablet market.

However, it is worth noting that few media tablet devices other than the iPad were available in 2010, with the Dell Streak and the Samsung Galaxy Tab the only real competition. With several other media tablets now available, such as the Motorola Xoom, and others due to launch soon, such as the BlackBerry PlayBook, Apple can't expect to have it all its own way in 2011.