Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Owners like their iPad. Demand grows.

May 20, 2010: 12:19 PM ET

One out of five in a ChangeWave survey say they are likely to buy one

Click to enlarge. Source: ChangeWave Research

Asked how they liked their new iPads, 74% of the 153 respondents in a ChangeWave survey issued Thursday said they were very satisfied and 17% said somewhat satisfied -- total of 91%. Only 2% said were somewhat or very unsatisfied.

Those are very good numbers for any product, especially one in an unproven category.

"The iPad ratings are nearly identical to the highest rated Smart Phone among consumers -- the Apple iPhone," writes ChangeWave research director Paul Carton in an accompanying report. "But we note that Apple has now reached these nosebleed levels with a brand new product."

Asked what they disliked most, the new owners voiced a range of complaints -- lack of Adobe (ADBE) Flash (11%), Internet connectivity issues (9%), problems keeping the screen clean (9%), lack of apps (7%), too heavy (7%). But there was nothing that stood out -- no "smoking gun" as Carton put it.

But when asked what feature was missing from the iPad, there was smoking gun. See below.

The camera that Apple (AAPL) decided not to put on the iPad -- perhaps to save cost, perhaps to give customers a reason to keep buying MacBooks -- stood out as the single most-missed feature, with 29% expressing disappointment that it wasn't there.

The survey also explored what the new owners were doing with their iPads, and they gave the usual range of responses -- surfing the Web (83%), reading e-mail (71%), using apps (56%), watching videos (48%), reading e-books (33%), playing games (29%), reading magazines and newspapers (28%) and listening to music (18%).

That 28% reading magazine, newspapers and other periodicals struck Carton as the most interesting finding of all, because it is so much higher than what owners of other e-readers -- notably Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle -- tell him. Drilling down he found:

"Fully half of iPad e-Readers (50%) say they read newspapers on their tablet device compared to just 14% of all other e-reader owners. Likewise, 38% of iPad e-readers say they read magazines compared to 11% of all other e-Reader owners," he writes. "In short, more than 3 times as many iPad e-Reader owners say they read newspapers and magazines as do all other e-reader owners."

"This is quite an extraordinary development," says Carton, one that bodes well for both Apple and the publications that have hitched their star to the iPad.

A separate survey of 3,174 ChangeWave Alliance members -- most of them high-end consumers who tend to be early adopters -- found growing enthusiasm for the iPad. The percentage of respondents who said they were very likely (7%) or somewhat likely (13%) to buy the device has actually increased since a pre-launch survey in February (from 4% and 9%, respectively). It has not, however, quite reached the 21% recorded in September 2009, before anybody knew what Apple's tablet would look like.

Asked when they'd buy their iPads, the results (see below) showed a spike about six months from now -- just around December.

"It looks like we're going to have an iPad holiday season," says Carton.

For more details from the survey, see the summary posted at InvestorPlace.

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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