Resolve Market Research has put out the results of a new and fairly exhaustive survey of iPad users' feedback before and after life without their new iPad.
The iPad users surveyed are a cross section of people from around the country and skew towards owning multiple devices (smartphone, laptop/netbook, eReader, gaming devices, mp3 players, etc.).
I find the results fascinating, with some surprises and some "I told you so's".
1. File this one under "I told you so": Amazon and Barnes and Noble need to worry. After owning an iPad, the number one device that users said they could do without in the future is a stand-alone eReader (49%). For what it's worth, Mashable is predicting the coming of the sub $100 eReader. For what it's worth, I agree. I think the big question is whether it will be in time for Christmas. Or, will the Kindles and Nooks of the world instead try to up their game with color and more apps on board to justify their prices... and existence.
2. Portable gaming device makers: watch out for iPad! Remember what I said about 49% of iPad users saying they have no need for even thinking about getting an eReader someday. The number two tech toy in iPad's sites for cannibalization is the portable gaming device (38% of iPad owners say they have no need to buy one now).
3. The netbook takes a bullet, but it doesn't look fatal - for now. 32% surveyed say they wouldn't buy a netbook after owning an iPad. That's a third of iPad owners - serious stuff, but again, not enough to bury the ever popular netbooks.
4. Good news for Apple: 37% of those surveyed said the iPad was their first-ever Apple product (they didn't even own an iPod - Wow!). I'm just wondering who these folks are who didn't own ANY Apple product beforehand. My grandmother passed years ago. Perhaps Apple opened a store before the April launch on one of those remote islands in the South Pacific previously untouched by the modern world.
My take away: It's a "toy", not a "tool":
55% of owners in the survey say that they view their iPad as "a very expensive toy". Conversely, 54% of people who do not own an iPad from another part of the survey say they don't see a need for one. 46% say its too expensive. Apple is selling roughly a million iPads a month since its April launch. Imagine how much brisker sales would be if the economy wasn't in the dumper.
Because the iPad is being used as a "toy" and less of as a "tool" (28% see it as "a useful tool of productivity"), then naturally the focus is more on its capability as an eReader and/or portable gaming device. It's another reason why I say the netbook is safe for now. Netbooks are cheaper and are definitely a "tool".
The iPad has been red hot out of the gate; no doubt about it. I still argue this won't last. This isn't like the iPhone that sells like hotcakes even when it has more bugs than Southeast Texas in July. Even in a crummy economy, people can find $200 to buy a smartphone or music player or even a thousand dollar laptop (trying doing a job search without a computer of some sort). However, we've all survived up until now without a touch tablet. As "gee whiz" as the iPad may be, many of us will sit this out until the economy improves, our wallets get a little fatter and the prices come down.
Once Apple sells an iPad to all the early adopters and tech elites out there willing to buy cool on credit, expect thoe sales numbers to slow down.
I just read over what I've written. Oh Lord, I know I'm going to hear about it now from the iKool-aid crowd. Fire away!
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Last updated: Jul 9, 2010
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio