Thanks to the new iPad and lower-cost iPad 2, Apple increased its dominance in the tablet market in the first quarter of 2012, according to figures released today from IDC.

Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads during the first three months of the year, which not surprisingly was down from the 15.4 million during the end-of-year holiday quarter.

“Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC. “Apple’s move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well.”

With shipments of Android tablets falling precariously during the first quarter, Apple moved its share of the tablet market to a strong 68 percent, up from 54 percent in the previous time frame.

The new star in the previous quarter, Amazon’s Kindle Fire has been the big loser in 2012 so far. During the holiday time frame last year, the $199 tablet shipped 4.8 million units to take second place behind Apple with a 16.8 percent share of the market.

Though in the first quarter, Amazon only took 4.8 percent of the market, which was good enough for third place behind Samsung.

As a whole, the tablet market took a 38.4 percent dip thanks to mostly poor sales of Android tablets.

But with Android tablet makers going back to the drawing board, and Google possibly releasing a low-cost option to directly compete with Amazon, does the iPad family have what it takes to stay on top?