Is the Apple iPad a grown-up toy or a business device? Investors want to know, and Consumer Intelligence Research Partners sought to find out. What its rigorous and credible analysis turned up, CIRP reported is that new iPadthe iPad 3, if you willhas attracted more business users than earlier models.
Still, for the most part, users are putting the tablet to every use Apple intended, including most of all, surfing the Internet, playing games and enjoying entertainment.
At least 27 percent of buyers, and as many as 40 percent, use the iPad in these ways, states the July 16 report. Entertainment includes watching video, looking at photos and listening to music.
Business use came in fourth, with approximately 13 percent of all iPad owners using it for professional purposes. Among iPad 3 owners, that figure rose to 16 percent. Internet and email use were also higher on the newest iPad.
Standout business users, CIRP found, were those who purchased iPad models with extra storage and devoted Apple users.
Buyers that have iPads with more storage use the iPad for more serious purposes, such as business, writes CIRP. Yet, buyers that have iPads with 3G/4G connections use them similarly as buyers with WiFi-only iPads.
CIRP defines devoted buyers as those who own also either an AppleTV, AirPort WiFi router or Time Capsule external hard drive and router.
These devoted Apple customers vary somewhat from the average user, especially in their business use of their iPad, wrote CIRP. Twenty-three percent of these owners report using their iPad for business, compared to 13 percent of all users.
For much of the industry, the bottom line here is that, by a good margin, what people are predominantly using their iPads for is accessing the Internet. This is exactly whats driving the new data-pricing model that Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the nations largest carriers, are getting behind.
During Verizons July 19 earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo described the strategic thrust of its Share Everything Plans as designed to stimulate data usage and make the decision to upgrade to a smartphone or add a tablet much easier.
Shammo added that early feedback on the plans has been great and our customer adoption is tracking with our expectations. Existing customers, he said, are even giving up grandfathered unlimited data plans to move to Share Everything plans.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at Fortunes Brainstorm Tech conference this week, said that getting consumers to agree to a change in data pricing models isnt easy, but that the industry has gradually and finally gotten the pricing model right.
Also notable from the CIRP report was the use of applications. While Apples app numbers have been a major way it flaunts its muscles over Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry, CIRP foundand this was consistent across all storage options and connectivity modelsapp usage on iPads rated second to last, with only 4 percent of iPad users saying they use their tablets for this task.
Coming in behind Internet, entertainment, games, business, social networking, email, education and reading uses, the only thing users turn to their iPad for less than app use, said CIRP, is shopping.