Survey shows slab-fondlers are loving their iPads
'Post-PC era' globo-slabbening awaits lower prices
The annual Wiggin UK entertainment survey – see a bit of it here – has a new section this year taking in the public's attitudes to fondleslabs.
It brings good news to Apple and a clutch of rivals. The iPad 32GB tops the list of desirable purchases, should the punter be hypothetically given £1,500 to spend. More people would get an iPad than would upgrade their TV if they had the extra dosh.
But a significant number of people don't see the point, or prefer a laptop.
Two demographic groups have found a real use for their fondleslabs.
According to the survey, 68 per cent of men over 55 questioned said they use email more than they previously had. On the other hand, 89 per cent of women between 20 and 29 say they play games with their iPad more than they did before they acquired their tablets.
For a device with no single "killer app", this should encourage manufacturers. But only up to a point; only 4 per cent said they were waiting to see what rival products from RIM and Samsung will look like as a reason for not already owning a tablet today. It's Apple's market to win or lose.
Not surprisingly, email and web-browsing top the list of activities that people do more of once they've got a tablet.
When the non-Tablet-owning population was quizzed, 38 per cent cited cost as their reason for not purchasing – and 30 per cent were perfectly happy with their laptops. A quarter of refuseniks are waiting for the price to fall, while 28 per cent say they have no use for one, but didn't elaborate further.
Horace Dediu, the former Nokia business analyst turned blogger, described the iPad as the start of the "post-PC" era. It's a phrase you've probably heard before. He was quite specific about his definition though – tablets won't replace PCs (just as PCs didn't replace minis and mainframes), but they promise to take computing to places where you previously needed something more expensive and awkward. This seems to be borne out in the poll.
Sixty-one per cent of those with tablets use theirs in bed, and 52 per cent in the kitchen or living room. Only 29 per cent use theirs for work ... ®
Work AND play user...
I've got the iPad doing a whole host of things now, some of which the laptop does better but I can do them wherever I want now without carting a laptop about.
- Web site maintenance (note, I know CSS and HTML, it's not a WYSIWYG job)
- Documents (DOC / basic excel)
- Cloud server admin via browser
- trend research and tech updates via twitter, etc
- custom google RSS feeds for job related news
- satnav(!) when required
- kindle and iBooks
- SugarSync for online shared storage
- RDP access to machines via PocketCloud (this works REALLY well)
- Network diagnostics (PING, traceroute, etc plus speedtest.net)
- music production with MIDI / live audio using NanoStudio and GarageBand, plus iAmBeatBox, Soundprism, ...
- A million messaging accounts
- Google analytics for the websites I look after (another excellent app)
- Google tasks via GeeTasksPro (excellent)
- Meeting notes via Infinote (another excellent app)
- Weather and traffic
If you want it to, the iPad can do a serious amount of work. A lot of these applications have had their touch interface interaction thought about really deeply, and as a result they work beautifully, doing a fast job well and with simplicity.
I can't recommend the iPad enough. I've had a brief play with a Galaxy Tab, which was pretty good, but I don't have a lot of experience of other fondleslabs. I'd say they do genuinely have a job to do - like a lot of good new tech (especially during the early adoption phase within society), there's a lot who don't see the point (remember when they said steam trains would asphyxiate people!).
I think the fact that touchscreen single-unit devices have been trying to get a foothold this long and have suddenly taken off is an indicator of a few things - mainly cheaper, better controllers and screens and battery life enhancements, but in the main I suspect the emergence of better UI engineering has much to do with it. This is one area where tablets are kicking the crap out of the old WIMP ideology. Long may it continue.
Producing info on them is great... in the right circumstances
If you're in a meeting or a lecture fondleslaps are great. The touch keyboard works almost as well as a normal keyboard, you don't have a big screen in front of you, and you can easily draw diagrams/take photos. Way better than a laptop.
The slippery slope
That's how it starts.
Before you know it, it's your primary device (at home) for email, web, streaming video, facebook/twitter etc.
I was sceptical before I tried an iPad borrowed from work, but since using one for a few weeks at home, I'm quite impressed. It makes casual web browsing a more pleasing experience than sitting at a laptop. It's hard to tie down, but it's enjoyable to use.
I've used it on the train too - and battery life is very good - it used under 10% on an hour's journey using WiFi and a few games.
I honestly think it could be the future of computing, for a lot of users (probably not the people on here!) and certainly have a use for everyone else.
I think suggesting that a smartphone can do the same thing is missing the point - the extra screen space makes _all_ the difference - it changes how much apps can show and it changes the way you interact with it.
Same situation here.
As of right now, you need a PC (well Winbox or Mac) to activate an iPad and update the firmware. That's it. Everything else can be done via the device or OTA using tools like DropBox. Music, videos and apps can be downloaded (and updated in the case of Apps) via the iTunes and App Store, er, apps on the device.
I've set up an iPad for my mother-in-law this way. She's never used a computer before, but reckoned she could get round an iPad having seen my 2 year old son turn it on, browse to his cartoons/games whatever quite happily.
Rumour has it that iOS 5 will remove the dependency for iTunes for firmware updates (and possibly therefore the original activation).
Finally, remember that Post-PC does not mean no-PC. The iPad is not going to replace the PC, in the same way that PCs have not totally replaced big arse servers (minis) or mainframes.