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With iPads now in the hands of millions, studies have begun to examine how the superhyped tablet is fitting into real life, and whether the opportunity for publishers and advertisers is as big as they hoped.
Qualitative research from Ball State University examined how attitudes toward iPads changed after owning one for 24 hours. According to the report, “A Play Date with the iPad,” study participants found the iPad was best for leisure activities. Content creation was too difficult on the device but ideal for content consumption.
iPad users were impressed with applications optimized for the device, especially iBooks, Apple’s ereader app. They emphasized its value as an entertainment device—which meant some were not as interested in owning one because they felt they did not have a need for a new entertainment-based screen. Some productivity-oriented participants considered the tablets inefficient.
In the UK, a survey by copywriting firm Cooper Murphy Webb found that iPad owners had taken to the device in a big way, also for entertainment purposes. More than two in five said they used the tablet at least 10 hours weekly, and almost a quarter said it had become their primary entertainment device, ahead of TV and trailing PCs by just 9 percentage points.
The iPad was considered the No. 1 delivery method for newspapers and magazines, and its popularity for books was even greater: 41% of iPad owners preferred to read on the device, vs. 36% who liked hard copies better. iPads were also the top gaming device for owners of the tablets, beating out consoles by 2 percentage points.
Most users didn’t find iPads very portable, though. More than 60% said they rarely or never took their iPad when they left home, while just 5% did so always.
The focus on content consumption rather than creation should be a boon for both marketers and publishers, who are hoping to generate revenues through app sales and ad support. With newspapers, magazines, books and gaming some of the top uses of the iPad thus far, the tablet is building the reputation content owners and advertisers hoped for as an entertainment-oriented device.
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Check out today’s other article, “Movie Industry Slouches Toward Digital Future.”
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