Were expectations for the Apple iPad raised too high to satisfy, or did the device simply disappoint? Either way, some consumers polled by electronics retailer Retrevo have changed their sentiments toward the tablet.
In surveys conducted Jan. 16-20, visitors to the Retrevo site were asked, "Have you heard about the new Apple tablet that might be revealed in January?" Twenty-six percent responded that they had, but they weren't interested in buying one. Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, post Apple's big announcement, consumers were asked again about the iPad. This time, the number who said "Yes, but I'm not interested in buying one" jumped to 52 percent.
However, while before the announcement, only 3 percent committed to the answer, "Yes, I think I would like to buy one," after the iPad was introduced, 9 percent of those polled said the same.
"Responses to a more direct question that was asked before and after the announcement further reinforced the bad news for Apple," Retrevo officials wrote in a blog on Feb. 5. "When asked before the announcement if they thought they needed the tablet, 49 percent of respondents answered -no,' with 30 percent saying they needed to know more about it before they could decide."
Asked again whether they needed the Apple tablet - after its features had been detailed by the Apple team - 61 percent of those polled said they didn't need one, while 15 percent said they still needed more information before deciding.
In a Retrevo poll conducted between Jan. 16 and 20, regarding the tablet's price, 70 percent of those surveyed said it would have to be priced below $700 to interest them, and Apple, in the end, met this demand, with all three Wi-Fi-only models coming in under $700, and the 16GB model with both Wi-Fi and 3G priced at $629.
Still, after the iPad's introduction, visitors to the Retrevo site became more fussy about pricing, with 59 percent saying they wouldn't pay extra for 3G connectivity. While another 12 percent were game to pay, 29 percent said they needed to think about it more.
Retrevo, while painting a dark picture, nonetheless opined that the iPad's fate was very much still in the air.
"As we like to say, it's the apps that sell smartphones like the iPhone and it could very well be those same apps that motivate buyers to run down to the Apple Store and get in line to buy a shiny new iPad," wrote Retrevo. "Whether this device becomes a big hit is anyone's guess, but based on this study it sure looks doubtful."