iPad Prognostications: What Matters in Web Tablets


When it comes to Apple’s iPad , the question for many is not if they will buy the device, but when. However, as detailed in our new report at GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d), which presents the results of a survey of technology enthusiasts we ran in the run-up to the iPad launch, the answer may not be day one. In fact, a significant number of people may end up sitting on the iPad sidelines for the foreseeable future as they weigh factors such as price, connectivity features and choice of wireless carrier.

As can be seen in the embedded slideshow below, price and cost of broadband service ranked near the top of purchase considerations when it comes to web tablets. Given the extra $130 it costs to add 3G to the iPad, not to mention the monthly carrier access fees, such considerations will factor heavily into the success of Apple’s latest gadget.

When asked about what technical features mattered most on a web tablet, a nearly unanimous 98 percent of respondents ranked connectivity at the top, and 85 percent said an e-reader feature was a must-have. Video games, on the other hand, were only seen as important by 39 percent of our respondents.

And is Apple the only game in town when considering a web tablet?  According to our survey, it depends where your loyalties lie. If you’re a confirmed Apple fanatic, there’s no other choice. But if you’re a general mobile enthusiast, there’s a chance you’d be open to a Windows or Android version as your web tablet platform.

Bottom line? The iPad hit most of right notes and will see much of its early demand driven by the same early adopters who rushed out to buy the first-generation iPhone. But also like the iPhone, the price of the first-gen product and associated fees could keep some out of the game, at least for 2010.

To read the full 33-page report on our web tablet survey, head over to GigaOM Pro, where for just $79 a year you can access it and over 70 more in-depth research reports and insight pieces.

Related GigaOM Pro Research:



I don’t believe anyone knows just how the iPad is going to sell. The naysayers are predicting doomsday while the die-hards are saying it will be a revolution. As much as I read the reviews – even though no one has used an iPad, I for one can’t and don’t believe it will be a major success. Sure, it will do well, most Apple products do, but a revolution, hmmm.


I’m going to buy and iPad, but I’m gonna wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation and that is what I am telling my “non-techie” friends to do. I’m hoping Apple is reading the blogs and will add in some or all of the feature that folks are asking for / complaining about. And I’m hoping the price will come down a bit.

I wonder how the iPad would have been received if it was introduced at $299.00 for the base model?


The I pad is too big, too expensive, and there are many other products in the possession of the consumers that occupy the market apple is trying to create.

Adrian Cockcroft

A survey of “technology enthusiasts” is going to give you a big dose of selection bias in your survey results. The volume market for iPad is for people who don’t have or shouldn’t have a PC in the first place. Next time you are running virus scans for your mother, think about it…


i would agree with you on the closed platform theory may be better for the ‘rest of the people’ who need web access as opposed to a full blown computer. i also think a clamshell design with a keyboard that looks much like a tradition laptop would be more attractive to those very same users.

Michael Wolf

@ Adrian – But the volume market won’t kick in for at least six to twelve months, after the price comes down. Also, those who are aware of what features web tablets have – and who are going to give advice to my mom or your mom about which one to buy – are the tech enthusiasts among us. Asking an educated audience their opinion at this early stage in a device category like web tablets is probably more informative than asking a representative U.S. population sample, who wouldn’t know web tablets from netbooks.


I would also add, next time your mother cannot see a CNN flash video, think about it.


So, the confirmed Apple fanatics would be, to be generous, around 10-15% of the computing public based on the Apple desktop share and iPhone share among smartphones. That leaves a whole lot of general mobile enthusiasts for Windows and Android, offering more capable tablets and slates than the iPad.

Kevin C. Tofel

Not only interesting results, but we had some winners too!

From the readers on our jkOnTheRun site, jimscraft and Craig Mackenzie each nabbed themselves a $50 Amazon gift certificate! Now if only there were a wider selection of web tablets in the Amazon store, eh? ;)

Congrats guys! And thanks to all of our readers for participating!

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