Studies Indicate How iPads Are Being Used


Two recent studies offer fascinating glimpses into how people are using their iPads, which categories of apps dominate, and how other portable computing devices such as netbooks, e-readers and gaming consoles may be affected. 

Alok Saboo, writing for truVoIPbuzz, studied iPhone versus iPad usage patterns through a review of the most popular apps on each platform. He checked the top 200 free and paid iPad apps as listed by Appshopper and compared them with the top 200 free and paid iPhone apps. His results showed games constitute almost half the usage on the iPhone but only a quarter of the use on the iPad. The categories of games, entertainment and utilities make up over 75% of app use on the iPhone. The top three categories of iPad apps were games, entertainment and productivity, but made up only about 46% of the total use. Saboo’s conclusion: the iPad is being used for a wider variety of purposes that its smaller sibling(s). Saboo should have included the iPod Touch along with the iPhone, because the Touch is also a popular gaming and entertainment device. You really can’t report on iPhone app use without at least mentioning the contribution the iPod Touch makes to the number of downloads. In fact, it appears that during the recent Christmas season, iPod Touch downloads surpassed iPhone downloads. Saboo also tells us books, news and education apps account for 20% of the use on the iPad but only 3% on the iPhone (not surprising given the iPad’s larger screen size). He also employs a clever use of a word cloud to inform his findings.

Christina Warren of Mashable reports on a study by Resolve Market Research that also looked at how people are using their iPads. The online study, which claims a nationally representative sample, found the two devices that will be most affected by the iPad are e-readers and portable gaming devices. Figures for gaming use tend to agree with the study above, with 28% of users reporting their main use for the iPad would be playing games. More telling perhaps was the 38% of respondents who said they did not plan to buy a portable gaming device other than the iPad. Companies in the e-reader market must be concerned with the 49% of iPad owners who said they would not buy an e-reader device after using the iPad. Study results include even more happy news for Apple. Of respondents who owned or planned to purchase an iPad, 37% were new to the Apple family, with the iPad being their first Apple product. Apple also appears to be reaching an older demographic with the iPad. First owners tend to be young professionals. The next group of of those owning or planning to purchase were 45 or older. Other articles confirm the iPad is well received among older adults. 

About Andy Brovey

Dr. Andy Brovey, The Portable Prof, helps others make sense and make use of digital tools through his work, websites and social media. He has over 30 years experience in educational technology, including teaching, administration and professional development. In 2007, Apple Inc. recognized his work and named him an Apple Distinguished Educator. He started this iPad Academy website shortly after the first iPad went on sale to help others become more comfortable and competent with the iPad, in person and online. His latest venture is Teach About Tech, a resource marketplace for technology trainers.