According to IDC, Apple's success was largely in part from its strong iPad mini launch and fourth generation iPad.
This led to a growth of 48% in shipments compared to the same quarter last year.
However, competition in the tablet market saw the company's market share decline for a second quarter in a row. Apple's market share dropped to 43.6% compared to 46.4% last quarter.
Competitors like Samsung saw a 263% year-on-year growth and shipped 8 million android and windows 8 tablet during the quarter.
Samsung was able to keep its market share of 15.1% for the quarter.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble both saw their tablet market share increase during the foruth quarter. Amazon took 11.5% of the market share, up from 8.3% in the previous quarter.
Barnes & Nobles' share increased to 1.9%, up from 0.7% in the quarter before.
Microsoft's venture into the tablet marketing during the quarter failed to place it in the top 5. According to IDC, The company shipped less than 900,000 units during the quarter.
"There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company's Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best," said Ryan Reith, programme manager of mobile device trackers at IDC. "We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes."
Worldwide tablet shipments exceeded analyst predictions reaching a record 52.5 million units during Q4 2012.
The tablet market grew 75% year-over-year during the quarter.
"We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint," said Tom Mainelli, research director, of tablets at IDC.
"New product launches from the category's top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years."