4 in 10 say ready to ditch laptop for tablet pc, as UK iPad launch nearsPublished on April 2nd, 2010 by PressUK
With apple preparing to launch the iPad in the UK at the end of April, a survey by Kelkoo reveals that almost a third (29%) of apple fans say they would like to buy one
Friday, 2nd April 2010. With the long-awaited iPad tablet set to hit UK stores at the end of April, there is plenty of speculation about whether it will finally succeed in reversing the fortunes of the tablet PC industry and whether it will attain the dizzying heights of popularity achieved by its cousin, the iPhone. Research released today by Kelkoo.co.uk, the shopping comparison website, reveals that 4 in 10 consumers would be prepared to ditch their laptops in favour of a tablet PC, and almost a third (29%) of Apple fans said they would like to buy one.
The Apple iPad, a hybrid between a smart phone and a laptop, is expected to be priced between £389 for the 16GB WiFi model and £489 for the 64GB version in UK stores. Industry commentators predict that the iPad will generate up to 4 million sales in its first year, boosting tablet PC sales to around 9 million by the end of 2010, and rising to 57 million by 2015. This compares to about 16 million netbooks sold in 2008 and 35 million units in 2009, mostly at the expense of laptops.
During the launch of the iPad, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed netbooks were ‘not better than anything’ and failed to create a category between smart phones and laptops, which is clearly the gap the iPad is attempting to fill. Although it can be argued that each product serves a different purpose, they both target the light-weight, ultra portable technology market and have similar price points. It is expected that netbooks will continue to thrive, but experts anticipate that sales may cool off in 2010 as market share is squeezed by innovation in the tablet PC space, the rise of smart phones, and the growing maturity of the market.
Netbooks are widely regarded as ‘value purchase’ mini-laptops for portable usage, while iPads are likely to be viewed as a premium mobile entertainment devices that leverage the entire Apple eco-system – iPod, iTunes, the applications, multi-touch technology, and new features like the iBooks store. Commentators therefore believe that the iPad could cannibalise the sale of e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, and mp3 players like the iPod, as it attempts to revolutionise the way in which we consume media ‘on the go’.
The iPad is not the first tablet PC available to consumers, but with the advances in touch screen technology today analysts believe the market will be much more receptive to Apple’s latest product. According to Kelkoo’s research, more than 4 out of 5 (82%) of those surveyed thought the device would be popular with consumers. In addition, when asked to explain why they liked Apple, 34% said it was down to the unique features and innovative nature of their products; 27% believed they offer the best products in the market; 24% cited ease of use as a key selling point and 15% thought Apple was just ‘cool’.
However, not all consumers are in a hurry to buy the new iPad. Of those who did not believe Apple’s new gadget would be popular with consumers, a fifth (20%) said people would wait for the launch of the more advanced second generation; 23% felt its functionality was too limited at present; and 32% did not see the need for one at all. Critics have pointed out that the first generation device has some failings like its inability to support multi-tasking or have more than one application open at any one time. Other features are also missing. The iPad has no no camera, HDMI (high definition multi-media interface) is absent, as are voice calls, and there is no flash player, which is popular for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. It is believed that some of these features may be added to future iPad editions.
In spite of any limitations it may currently have, almost a fifth (18%) of image conscious consumers are so keen to be one of the first to get their hands on the new iPad, they don’t care about its price tag. 33% are willing to pay £300 – £400, and 10% would pay £500 or more. Unfortunately, there is still confusion among almost one in four (23%) consumers as to exactly what the iPad is – 2% think it’s a mobile phone, 8% think it’s just another iPod, and 13% simply don’t have a clue.
When it comes to getting the best price, not all consumers are prepared to pay more than they have to for the new iPad. In fact, 1 in 10 consumers admitted that they have travelled abroad in order to save money on Apple products in the past. Given the extra cost of travel, a trip to Kelkoo.co.uk at the end of April is a far quicker and cheaper option to find the best deal.
Bruce Fair, Managing Director of Kelkoo UK, comments: “When it comes to transforming the fortunes of niche markets, Apple undoubtedly has the ‘Midas touch’. Only last week the company announced the sale of its 250 millionth iPod. It is rumoured that the launch of company’s latest brainchild, the iPad, could equally turn around the fortunes of the struggling tablet PC market by redefining the category as a premium multi-touch entertainment product, and in so doing, pave the way for other manufacturers to follow in their footsteps.
“The iPad is a hybrid of Apple’s best loved products all under one roof, which is good for consumers as it could lead to significant cost savings. Like netbooks, the iPad provides the basic functions offered by a laptop at a margin of the cost – which in the current economic climate is bound to have mass market appeal. As such, the iPad certainly has the potential to cannibalise the sale of other less versatile products such as MP3 players, or e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle.
“Some people really can’t wait to be seen with the latest technology but in the case of this new Apple product patience really could be a virtue. The functionality of the first generation has its limitations and this will be a deal breaker for some. Sometimes, second generation products offer improved functionality at the same price and can be worth the wait.”