Of the 65.2 million tablets predicted to be shipped in 2011, Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market with 40 million iPad shipments and hold a 61% share of the market, a new research report from Digitimes reveals.

In the first six months of 2011, tablet shipments increased more than 420% from the previous year, with sales expected to increase into the second half to boost the number of shipments by 150% from a year earlier. Apple is expected to contribute more than 25.5 million iPad shipments in the second half of the year alone, up 76% compared to the first half of the year.

Whilst Apple remains the market leader, Digitimes expects rival manufacturers to diversify their offerings to provide more choice over operating systems, product features and screen size, as they attempt to make inroads into Apple’s tablet market share. Those vendors are expected to ship over 15.65 million units, an increase of 65% compared to the first half of the year and accounting for 39% of total shipments.

Android tablets are likely to mirror the growth of their smartphone counterparts and account for 30% of tablets on the market. Apple has found its market share decrease from around 90% in previous years as vendors seek to mimic the success of the iPad.

Digitimes believes that the fourth quarter will be the crunch quarter for many tablet vendors, as they compete with Apple for holiday sales. Manufacturers will also need to assess their tablet plans for the coming years, leading to uncertainties in the final quarter.

Apple’s third quarter revenues amounted to a staggering $28.57B in Q3, with earnings of $7.79/share. This was helped by sales of 20.34M iPhones, up 142% year over year, and 9.25M iPads in the quarter, growth of 183% year over year.

The Cupertino-based company is also expected to debut a new iPad tablet – referred to in reports as the iPad 3 – at the end of 2011, giving its rivals much to think about as they draw up plans for the coming sales year.