iPad Is for Internet Surfing, Some Business Tasks Says New Report

How do people use iPads? A new report found that Internet access is the primary use for the iPad while other new owners are more inclined to use it for business tasks.

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 €œrigorous and credible€ analysis turned up, CIRP reported is that new iPad€”the iPad 3, if you will€”has 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.

€œAt least 27 percent of buyers, and as many as 40 percent, use the iPad in these ways,€ states the July 16 report. €œEntertainment 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 €œdevoted€ Apple users.

€œBuyers that have iPads with more storage use the iPad for more serious purposes, such as business,€ writes CIRP. €œYet, 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.

€œThese devoted Apple customers vary somewhat from the average user, especially in their business use of their iPad,€ wrote CIRP. €œTwenty-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 what€™s driving the new data-pricing model that Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the nation€™s largest carriers, are getting behind.

During Verizon€™s July 19 earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo described the €œstrategic thrust€ of its Share Everything Plans as designed to stimulate data usage and €œmake the decision to upgrade to a smartphone or add a tablet much easier.€

Shammo added that early feedback on the plans €œhas 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 Fortune€™s Brainstorm Tech conference this week, said that getting consumers to agree to a change in data pricing models isn€™t easy, but that the industry has €œgradually and finally gotten the pricing model right.€

Also notable from the CIRP report was the use of applications. While Apple€™s app numbers have been a major way it flaunts its muscles over Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry, CIRP found€”and this was consistent across all storage options and connectivity models€”app 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.

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