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.

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