How People Use the iPad

I recently got an iPad, and this survey is a pretty accurate representation, with a few exceptions, of my thoughts so far.

Of the three main observations:

  • Safari, the web browser, is the iPad’s most important app. But iPad owners download, pay for, and regularly use many apps, on average.
  • Most people say they are using the iPad MORE now than when they first got it. So perhaps it’s not just a novel toy that people will throw away once they get bored.
  • Almost half of the iPad owners surveyed have the 3G model, which lets them connect from anywhere. But only about half of those are on a data plan.

I fit only one, increased usage, but I agree that the third is critical. I can see the utility of the model with a data plan, but happily, I can tether to my EVO when necessary. For free. I <3 Android.

So why get an iPad? Mainly because it’s the tablet gorilla. Sure, there are Android options, but they’re not as mature. Plus, I’m not sold on a 7″ screen as viable for me.

However, using iOS full-time again reminds me of things Android does right.

The tablet generally is an in-between device. So, I get why usage goes up over time as you create and extend your use cases. This helps make sense of the ad campaign for iPad, which stands in contrast to the iPhone campaigns. Without a history of tablet use cases, Apple has to suggest what it could do.

The biggest impression iPad makes is that it is a gateway for apps. Nearly everything is better in an app. Mobile Safari is woefully slower than Android’s browser, but it doesn’t really matter because there are apps for pretty much everything.

If you buy an iPad, expect to drop $30-50 right away on apps to get it going.

Some of that money will go to ebooks, since the iPad is a great reading device. It has revitalized my reading habits thanks to its portability. It never occurred to me, but the ability to have several reading options all right at hand wherever you are is very nice.

Related, Amazon’s Kindle app is a must-have (and a genius move), since their library of ebooks is very large, nearly 800,000.

Overall, I like the iPad, despite being annoyed that it’s a gateway drug to spending more on digital content.

Anyone care to add thoughts, experiences? Find the comments.




  1. I have an iPad coming up on 4 months now. Funnily enough when I sat down to write this comment, I had to double check as it felt that I had it longer – a reflection of how much it has become part of my daily routine. I should mention that I have a 16GB Wifi Model, which I won in a competition.

    I recall my first reaction after a few weeks was that there was no way I would splash out €499 on this. However over time as I’ve got more Apps, the iPad has become an essential device for me. One of the reasons for this initial attitude was that I set myself a strict limit on the number of Apps that I would pay for on a monthly basis, otherwise I would have went on a spending spree. As the number of Apps purchased have built up, the iPad has become more and more useful.

    What I find most beneficial, is the fact that I can consume content on a decent size screen without being tied to my desk. I regularly use Dropbox and GoodReader to bring documents into the iPad and read them and read comfortably without printing out.

    My consumption of RSS feeds has also been revolutionised. I just find it a much richer experienced being able to sit back on the sofa with the Reeder App, and fly through my unread items at a much faster rate than on the laptop.

    Of course the ebook experience is fantastic. I’ve just read Brave New World, and I’m currently reading Murder on the Orient Express. I’m totally hooked on the format. My only negative comment is that it’s too easy to make impulse purchases, and end up with books that will never be read.

    I could go on and on. Suffice to say that I’m really enjoying the iPad, and looking forward to what future improvements and also competition will bring.

    P.S. My 2 year old daughter loves it as well.

  2. So, yeah, it’s a gateway device for the App Store.

    I agree with your reading use case. It brings reading digital content back to the comfy chair. Sure, a laptop is portable, but we all know the feeling of laptop-induced hot thighs. Not so good.

    My complaint with ebooks is the same as it was with music, DRM. Whereas I can buy a book and lend it to anyone, I cannot with an ebook. Kindle books supposedly support lending, but I’ve yet to try it.

    It’s a great device for entertainment and consuming information. Could I do without it? Well, yeah. Do I want to, not so much anymore.

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