updated 03:25 pm EDT, Fri March 26, 2010
NPD notes iPad appealing first to Apple devotees
Just over half of younger, prospective iPad buyers would rather have a netbook or notebook than the Apple tablet, the NPD found in a new study. Among 18-to-34 year olds, 51 percent would prefer a conventional portable than the iPad. Owning an existing Apple device also wasn't enough to sway some users as 44 percent still would rather get a computer like the MacBook than the slate design.
Some hesitation also existed among those interested but reluctant to buy right away. Despite the relatively low price for a touchscreen tablet, 57 percent of those delayed buyers objected based on the $499 minimum cost of entry; the number was still high for Apple users at 43 percent. About 66 percent of all those asked, regardless of age, had no plans to get an iPad in the near future while 18 percent had serious plans.
The most likely to know of and want the iPad are largely self-evident, according to the study, and include not just the under 34 group but all those who use Apple products or make more than $100,000 per year. Of those who do plan to get the device, most want it for media playback or regular Internet access, both factors that the researchers believed were an explanation for the lean towards notebooks.
"Considering what people are planning to use the iPad for, it's not hard to understand why people who have these capabilities on other devices, such as the iPod Touch or a notebook/netbook, may not want to spend $500 or more on a similar device," the NPD's Stephen Baker said. "This points to the need for Apple to close the content deals that focus the iPad on what is likely to be its best long-range value proposition... high quality media consumption."
Apple isn't at risk of poor launch sales as it may sell over 240,000 on its first day, but the hesitation suggests the netbook industry may have set expectations for the iPad ahead of its launch. Most netbooks cost less than $400, and while incapable of much of the visual performance of the iPad have regular operating systems that can handle regular computing tasks.