How People are using their iPads – from Resolve Research

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The iPad: The Ultimate Gaming Device?

The iPad has primarily been positioned as a device to browse the web, watch video and read content. Its gaming capabilities, while certainly impressive, haven’t been a major part of the conversation. In fact, according to Resolve, only 28% of users said that one of their main uses for the iPad would be playing games. Additionally, only 23% said that they thought of the iPad as the most enjoyable device for playing games.

However, after owning an iPad, those figures start to change. It turns out that 38% of respondents said that they did not plan to buy a portable gaming device after owning an iPad. The only category that ranked higher than that amongst iPad owners was e-readers.

The iPhone has had a huge impact on the portable gaming market and it looks like the iPad could further that trend. The size of the device and its accelerometer really make for an immersive gaming experience. Show anyone Real Racing HD and watch their faces explode into what my fiancé calls “the smile of iPad glee.”

Once iOS 4 is deployed to the iPad and Apple has its Game Center deployed and ready for action, the iPad could really start to make a play for the gaming space.

E-readers Should Be Worried

The biggest category that has been affected by the iPad is that of standalone e-readers. Beyond just Resolve’s own survey results, we’re already seen evidence of this in the marketplace; both Barnes & Noble and Amazon recently slashed the prices of their e-readers.

Even before the Kindle and Nook price cuts, we were already seeing some movement with lower-priced e-readers. We think that reading-only devices will ultimately find a new market at the sub $100 price point. Even at $200, the value proposition for an e-reader versus an iPad is tough to overcome.

Many iPad Owners Are New to Apple

One of the most surprising parts of Resolve’s study, at least to us, was that 37% of respondents who owned or were planning to own an iPad said that it would be their first Apple product. This is impressive and interesting because it has the potential to pull more customers into the Apple ecosystem.

Much has been written about the iPod halo effect, in which people were more willing to buy Apple computers and other Apple products after owning an iPod. It will be interesting to see if the iPad can have a similar impact.

When I asked Resolve about the age groups of iPad users, I found out some other interesting information. The first owners of the iPad tended to be young professionals, 22-45, who were either early adopters in general or had a highly connected and mobile lifestyle.

However, the next group of adopters and those interested in buying an iPad are much older than the one might expect (45+). Anecdotally, I’ve seen this in my own travels and discussions with iPad or future iPad owners. The first wave of iPad owners were people like myself. The second wave of iPad owners, at least from what I’m seeing, have more in common with my parents.

Studies have already shown that the iPod touch is a great gateway device to the broader iOS ecosystem for young teens and pre-teens. The iPad has the potential to attract the other end of that market.

Still Viewed as an Expensive Toy

According to Resolve, 55% of iPad owners or would-be owners see the device as a very expensive toy, or luxury item. It’s not a necessary device to have in your daily life, although it can replace a number of other gadgets or products. Still, that functionality can largely be reproduced (albeit with a less experience, in many cases) by things that many users already own.

We’re still at the nascent stages of tablet devices and as time goes on, we expect that features, applications and use cases will make these must-have rather than luxury items, just as we saw with laptop computers and smartphones.


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