So how are people really using the iPad?

A recent posting on Mashable reports some interesting data from Resolve Market Research based on an online survey of potential purchasers and active users of iPads, smart phones, e-readers and portable video game devices in the USA. It provides some insights into the uses early adopters are finding for their iPads and the effect this is having on competitive devices:

The iPad was initially positioned as a device for reading, watching videos and web browsing. Only 28% of prospective purchasers said their main use would be playing games. However, having got hold of the iPad, 38% then said they no longer intended to buy a portable gaming device. True, even more (49%) said they would no longer be buying an e-book reader, but that was only to be expected. Owning an iPad had a much lower impact on people’s intentions to go on and buy a netbook (32%) or MP3 player (29%).

Surprising was that, for 37% of respondents, the iPad was their first Apple purchase. When you consider the ubiquity of the iPod and the number of iPhone and MacBook users out there, this is providing Apple with a host of new potential customers for their other products.

The early adopters of the iPad are young professionals, aged 22-45, which is hardly surprising. However, the group that’s following in their footsteps is not their kids but their parents, aged 45+. This gels with my own experience – the iPad gives you much of the functionality of a general purpose computer, but it doesn’t look or act like one. For many people it will be all they want.

It’s only fair to also say that 55% of prospective and actual users stated that they regarded the iPad as an expensive toy. In my view that’s not going to stop people buying them, and if the device continues to be used in more and more imaginative ways, it may well become as indispensable as all those other gadgets we now take for granted.

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