Why is there so much media coverage of Apple's iPad? Because it's selling by the ton, and the people who buy it love it. Seriously—they adore it: A new survey quizzed 6,000 owners and the stats are eye-poppingly positive. That's why.
Technologizer solicited opinions from new owners about their iPads starting in early May—a whole month since the device hit the shelf, giving time for super-early adopter iPad buyers to get used to their device, and for more cautious buyers to be convinced into forking over $500-plus. More than 6,000 people responded, which the site notes is a bigger response than it has ever had to a survey, and a statistic that itself is pretty interesting (are iPad owners so pleased that they're unusually evangelical about the device?). While all of the respondents are, technically, "early adopters" as they've bought the first generation of the gadget, Technologizer feels the data is still a useful "reality check" on the media's reviews. And, in a sense, everyone buying an iPad is an early adopter: It's basically a whole new device paradigm.
What did the survey reveal? There's a huge amount of data, which can be summarized into the phrase "Everyone likes their iPad a lot." But since that's not very informative, here are some choice morsels from the survey stats:
- 62% of respondents owned a Wi-fi only iPad, possibly due to its lower price and earlier availability.
- 29% of respondents lived outside the U.S., which is a big figure given it was only available in the U.S. at first.
- 82% of iPad owners hook it up to their Mac. Only 8% used a Windows machine alone. Sorry Steve B!
- Well below 20% of respondents also owned a Kindle, an Android phone or a BlackBerry. The Cult of Apple still rolls on.
- 59% of folks were "very" or "totally" satisfied with "speed and reliability" of the 3G service—which is a massive and surprising thumbs-up in AT&T's direction.
- Opinion was more divided on the value for money the iPad 3G data plans delivered though.
- Favorite apps were Maps, Mail, Safari and Video, least favorite was the Notes app. This is a good indicator of what people are using their iPads for.
- Among the iPad's specifications, the thing buyers liked the best were its battery life, followed by speed and reliability. Apple's mantra of "it just works" seems to be totally verified.
- Users thought the iPad definitely is better without a physical keyboard, removable battery and stylus (sorry Bill G!).
- The omission of a front-facing camera was generally deemed a "minor omission." (Though this opinion was sought before Apple revealed FaceTime video calling on iPhone 4s).
Interesting stuff, no? These findings are unmistakably a bonus for Apple, and one in the eye for many of the device's critics. But there are three bigger findings that Technologizer made:
- 69% of respondents said the absence of Abobe Flash was not "a problem at all." 24% think it's just a minor issue and just 3% found it an unacceptable mistake. More than any other news on the matter, this "from the horse's mouth" data is bad news for Adobe.
- 98% of those surveyed were "totally," "very," or "somewhat" satisfied with their purchase. This sort of user-positivity rating is almost unbelievable for any gadget. And for a first-of it's kind device, it's evidence that Apple has absolutely nailed the delivery of iPad 1.0.
- While 43% found Apple's closed management of the App Store "not a problem at all," 41% thought it was a minor issue and 12% found it a major one. These are facts Apple should pay attention to: Its core, highly motivated and highly satisfied iPad userbase is slightly unsure about the App Store's blinkered management policies.
The fact that the extraordinarily happy iPad owners were unsettled by the App Store's management is the biggest take-away from the survey. While high approval for the device is great news for Apple, the App Store shortcomings aren't something that Cupertino can slam a PR band-aid onto. They'd do well to take notice of gushing fans reservations, no matter how seemingly minor.
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