iPad Demand Greater than Expected?

MacRumors and other sites are reporting on a survey done by RBC on interest level in the iPad. This survey is compared to a previous survey run before the iPhone launch.

Where’s does Apple’s newest device standup to their breakaway hit? According to this survey, Apple’s doing about 50% better with 13% of participants indicating that they were at least somewhat likely to buy the device, up from 9% before the iPhone launch. Now, the iPad is not the clear game changing device that the iPhone was at least not according to the press, so this level of interest is a pretty good sign. Of course, the overall ground has been softened greatly by the iPhone/iPod Touch. Also, the initial iPhone had the same initial sticker price as the iPad, pricing is clearly in Apple’s corner this time.

In addition, the RBC survey indicated some potential cannibalization of other Apple products. RBC asked if responders were delaying purchasing an existing Apple product while waiting for the iPad.

As expected, Apple’s existing mobile lineup was hit hardest in this survey question. A bit of surprise was the equal spread of impact along each mobile lineup. The device that really should have been hit the hardest was the iPod Touch. Of the 33% referenced, I would have thought that the iPod Touch would have represented the bulk of that number. The next largest that I would have thought would be the Mac Laptop (principally the $999 MacBook). The iPhone as number one is something of a surprise since the iPad in no way appears to be a mobile voice device.

Finally RBC asked which iPad model would the survey participants purchase.

I’ll admit to being surprised here. The lower priced units are obviously going to be the most popular and clearly Apple’s pricing move with the iPad is one of the driving forces behind the previous 13% population likely to buy. The biggest shock here is the group interested in purchasing a 64GB/3G version. One interpretation could be that this is a group looking to the iPad as a serious laptop replacement for the mobile warrior needing Email/Web in a package with great mobility (weight/size) and fantastic battery life (10 hours). I could see George Clooney from Up in the Air with an iPad, it might be the only thing he keeps in his backpack.

Of course countering this RBC survey is an Admob survey of current smartphone users where the iPad seems to have significant challenge on their hands with some smartphone populations. Admob asked current smartphones about their upcoming buying habits for other mobile devices.

It’s unclear how much damage has been done to the Kindle by the launch of the iPad, but smartphone users do not seem to be moving towards the Kindle in any real numbers. Now, it’s being reported that only 1 in 6 iPhone users is interested in purchasing an iPad and this is being cited as an issue of concern. Now if only this group purchases an iPad, then based on 2008-2009  iPhone sales numbers Apple is going to sell 5.5 million iPads in 2010. That 5.5 million number from iPhone users alone would take care of most analyst estimates for iPad 2010 sales. It’s not a huge surprise that Android users are not interested in the iPad. Android according to Admob data is skewing heavily for men in the 25-34 age group who are technically savvy. This is not the target group for the iPad. I’m not sure at this point that the Palm WebOS numbers are even worth discussing.  The biggest surprise though is the sustained appeal of the iPod Touch even after the iPad launch especially among iPhone/Android users. In theory, both the iPhone and various Android phone are feature equivalent to the iPod Touch, so those iPod Touch numbers could be interesting for Apple down the road.

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