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New U.S. iPad activations move inland

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Two months after the new iPad’s debut in the U.S, a study shows that the device is beginning to appear in a wider geographic footprint beyond mainly wealthier, coastal states. Last month Apple’s new iPad(s AAPL) accounted for 9 percent of all iPad activations, and this month it’s up to 13.5 percent, according to new data from Chitika Insights published Thursday.

Similar to last month, Hawaii and California lead in new iPad activations, accounting for nearly 18 and 16 percent, respectively. But Nebraska is a surprise No. 3. A big part of that isn’t due to your regular gadget consumers, but one of the state’s public education initiatives, which includes a 1-to-1 iPad program for students, according to the report.

You can see the other top seven states (and a district) for new iPad activations in May in the chart below:

Credit: Chitika Insights

But it’s not just Nebraska. There are other mainly rural — and less populated — states whose citizens are also scooping up the latest iPad. According to Chitika:

Nebraska’s adoption numbers in this second month, in addition to high adoption rates in states like Virginia, West Virginia and Alabama, indicate that rural states cannot be broadly labeled as technology laggards. Those residents are now pushing technology trends, often in greater numbers than their East and West-coast counterparts, rather than following them.

This kind of trend is exactly what needs to happen for Apple to continue to grow its customer base. The company can’t just sell new iPhones and iPads every year or every other year to the same early adopter types. By expanding through new industries — education, healthcare, transportation, etc. — the iPad is bringing Apple as a company into new territories that the Mac, at least at this stage in its life, never could.

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