I think the above statement has a great degree of truth behind it. People are using iPads to assist or enrich simple tasks. Eating—ever seen that diet app? Sleeping—ever played around with the relaxation music app? Going to the bathroom—ever read a newspaper or magazine on it? The iPad is almost embedded in its user’s genome.
This is why Amazon and Barnes & Noble are anxious to get into the tablet market. Present Android tablets have been unable to compete with iOS, and iPad sales are at their best. Consumers have deemed the iPad popular, and it’s seeing so much success.
PC Magazine has more: “In both the U.S. and U.K. surveys, 50 percent of respondents said they’d pick an iPad over any other manufacturer’s tablet. That left Research in Motion, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and ‘no preference’ vying for the remaining half of consumers in the two countries1.”
It’ll be hard for any other device to top it unless companies such as Amazon and B&N have studied the market closely. They’ll need to improve on what the less popular Android tablets have to offer, have better apps and the capabilities of the iPad, which is basically a much more stylish netbook at this point (if you don’t believe me, check this out). The eReader companies need to study the shortcomings of the Android tablets.
Diana Dilworth of eBook Newswer says, “And those consumers that do want just any tablet want one with features like an iPad — a 10-inch screen, for example. The [Bernstein Research] report stated: ‘We find that consumers are not interested in form factors that deviate from the benchmark set by Apple. Few consumers, less than 15 percent, prefer the 7-inch screen size versus the 10-inch screen of the iPad.’”
A year after the first iPad was released (April 2010), the international market still has a big demand for the device. Consumers in other countries are more interested in the device than ever before.
In terms of digital publishing (the reason Amazon and B&N care about putting a device on the tablet market), the international market is a huge deal. Consider this survey that was taken in the U.K. For example, 69 percent of British iPad users said that they read newspapers and magazines on the tablet computer, while a similar amount, 63 percent, said they used the Apple device to read eBooks. Those are important numbers for publishing companies who are tapping into the app market with interactive eBooks and their transmedia companions.
Furthermore, 57 percent of British consumers own an iPad, and 48 percent spent the most money on the iPad when compared to other digital devices. Thirty-three percent of British consumers have 20-49 apps on their iPads. These are promising numbers for publishing companies that want to sell their apps to readers.
Concerning the health of the eBook in the age of the iPad, Yudu Media ran some research that found the following:
1. Sales of eBooks now outpace print book sales, having nearly tripled in the US from 2009 to 2010.
2. Tablets such as the iPad appear to be overtaking eReader devices such as the Kindle as the platform of choice for reading eBooks; Forrester predicts that by 2015, there will be twice as many owners of tablet PCs than there are of dedicated eReaders.
3. Apple’s iBookstore is gaining rapidly on Amazon.com as the highest volume sales platform for eBooks.
Surely, consumers, Amazon/B&N, publishers and Apple see the above patterns? They’re simple: the further conquests for tablet devices (especially the iPad) equals the downfall and end of eReaders. No wonder Amazon and B&N are so intent on going in with guns blazing. It’s either that or run for the hills, Enron style.
Amazon and B&N need to use their years of experience with publishers to their advantage. One way to beat the iPad is in the book app market. According to BusinessWeek, book apps now outnumber game apps on tablet devices2. Beating iPad to the big name publishers might be Amazon/B&N’s best shot at toppling the almighty iPad.
This all remains to be seen. The next year in electronics and digital publishing should be an exciting one as the race of the best eReader ever ends and the tablet race continues as a tour de force. For now, take cover and download some apps.