A survey Kindle owners will like and iPad owners won't

If you own a Kindle 3 or pretty much any Kindle you might quite like a new survey from Nielsen.

The standard disclaimer applies: Surveys mean nothing – especially surveys where a mere 400 iPad owners were surveyed. While it might be true that Kindle owners are richer, smarter, and less gullible than iPad owners it might also not be true.

What does Nielsen’s Survey say about Kindle owners vs iPad owners?

Actually, quite a lot and most of it is politically incorrect –

  1. 65% of iPad owners are men. For Kindle 48% of owners are women. This is surprising because in my opinion there are more women who own the Kindle than men.
  2. 63% of iPad owners are under 35. For Kindle it’s 45%. This also seems a little off – In my opinion 30% or less of Kindle owners are below 35.
  3. Kindle buyers tend to be wealthier.  The best response to this was a comment that said – It’s because they haven’t spent all their money on the iPad and its accessories.
  4. Kindle owners are described as better educated. This seems pretty obvious.
  5. iPad owners are described as more prone to advertising. Really? That’s so hard to believe.  

    Someone with an iPad is moreover considered significantly more likely to buy something as a result of seeing an ad on the tablet. 

The susceptibility to advertising is supposedly not even close –

iPad owners tend to be more receptive to advertising; 39% say ads on their connected device are new and interesting (compared with 19% of all connected device owners),

and 46% say they enjoy ads with interactive features (compared with 27% of the rest).

If iPad owners are roughly twice as susceptible to advertising as other device owners that would mean … No, surely … Could it be that they are the people most likely to buy the flashiest, best advertised, best marketed product?

 There’s also this comment from David (he’s only joking, from Fortune) –

Does the fact that iPad users are more receptive to advertising and are more likely to have made a purchase as a result of seeing an ad mean that they are more likely to get lulled into buying a product that they don’t need?

After all, everyone said that no-one needs an iPad before they came out.

Thanks to Electronista for sharing this survey (which Apple sites are understandably reluctant to discuss) and for this particular comment –

Apple users are susceptible to a lot of things. The SJ-RDF being one of them.

SJ-RDF = Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field.

The most interesting takeaway for me is the susceptibility to advertising that iPad owners supposedly demonstrate.

If iPad owners are easily influenced …

It would mean –

  1. Apple would probably be able to sell really expensive advertising. Actually, it does – through iAds.  
  2. Google would be interested in a share. Actually, it is and it bought the biggest iPhone advertising network, AdMob, for $750 million.
  3. Advertising might have played a crucial role in iPad owners buying an iPad. Who knows?  
  4. Making the iPad seem like a huge hit and showing ‘large crowds and long lines’ and ‘delaying availability’ were absolutely essential parts of the sales strategy. Perhaps they were.
  5. Apple must spend a lot of money on advertising. It does.
  6. Apple must have amongst the best ads. It does.
  7. Apple has wrapped up the exact demographic that advertisers hunger after. It probably has.

All signs point to Apple wrapping up this magical customer group that is pretty susceptible to advertising and rather impressionable and young and male and not as educated as other device owners.

You couldn’t find a better group of consumers if you wanted to sell a non-stop stream of devices whose main USP was making the owner cool and signalling status and drawing attention from the opposite sex.

Is it really a surprise that Kindle owners are smarter and wealthier?

Let’s be quite honest here – No one was expecting people who throw birds at pigs to be smarter than people who read books.

The wealthier part is a bit surprising until you consider that being able to spend $499 on a device isn’t as indicative of wealth as it is of wanting to appear well-off. Every Apple product is a status indicator at some level and it’s usually people who aspire to be rich who want such things.

Also, if one person is spending their free time reading and getting smarter and learning skills and the other is spending their free time learning how best to throw a yellow bird at a group of green pigs who do you think is going to end up making more money?

If this survey is accurate (and there’s not enough data to say) it would indicate that –

  1. Apple is wrapping up the people most susceptible to advertising.
  2. It’s overloading them with apps and TV and movies and music and a thousand distractions to make them even more confused. It’s basically making sure they stay susceptible to advertising.
  3. It’s building them up as a revenue chain. The progression from flashy mp3 player to flashy phone to flashy tablet is a rather worrying one and we might end up in a world where most of the ‘susceptible to advertising’ people end up being Apple customers and stay that way thanks to the devices keeping them in a permanently distracted state.

It really is like a massive social experiment – Let’s find the most susceptible/easily influenced people and keep them that way.

It’s just a survey though – It’s probably totally inaccurate and iPad owners are smart and intelligent and mostly women and don’t care about appearance and only own an iPad because it’s a revolution in computing and absolutely indispensable if you want to be productive.

iPad – Future of Computing vs Best Coffee Table Book Ever

The iPad sits in front of me looking back at me in its inimitable style.

The LCD touchscreen, all-in-one computer behind it stoically wonders about my committment. The IPS LCD monitor to the left is also lost in thought – comfortable in its status as best looking display it never thought it would run into a screen that had both IPS and touch.

To the left are a Kindle DX, a Sony Reader, and a Nook. All three of them look up expectantly – the same worried look a young child has on the first day of school – Will my parents forget me and never come back?

The iPad as the Future of Computing

John Doerr was a VC investor in Amazon, Google, Compaq, Netscape, Symantec, Sun, Intuit, and Friendster. He has a $100 million iFund which invests in companies making iPhone Apps and he considers the iPhone to be ‘the next PC’.

He’s written about the iPad at Techcrunch in a post titled The Next Big Thing. He feels the iPad is the 90s all over again (Netscape, Amazon, eBay, Google, etc.). He believes so strongly in it he actually made a power point presentation. Here’s a transcribed slide –

Old World                       New World

Windows GUI                Touch

Point and click              Swoosh of Fluidity

Artificial, Indirect            Direct, Natural

WYSIWYG                      WYTIWis

Mouse                             Magic

That slide does not stand alone. We are also gifted with an explanation –

  • From the Old World of the traditional, tired window interfaces… to the wonderful new world of TOUCH.
  • From the Old World of Point and Click to the new SWOOSH of Fluidity.
  • Instead of old, artificial, indirect interfaces, the iPad is direct and NATURAL.
  • Instead of WYSIWyg – what you see is what you get – it is WYTIWis. What You Touch… IS what IS.
  • Instead of holding a MOUSE, you’re holding MAGIC.
  • If the iPad really is the Future of Computing, for the love of God, PLEASE stop talking it up to unrealistic levels

    Here’s the truth – The iPad is a good device. It really is a larger iPod Touch and it does some things amazingly well. It’s also not the ‘ready to transform everything’ device that John Doerr and Steve Jobs are claiming it is.

    Every time they oversell it they raise expectations and we might soon have people going in expecting the iPad to be Che Guevara and Simon Bolivar rolled into one.  

    Things that give the iPad a chance to be something special down the line

    In 2 to 3 generations (of the iPad) the iPad could definitely be something special. It still won’t be the messiah for computers it’s being painted as but it’ll be very important. Here’s why –

    1. It makes things painfully easy.  
    2. It really is beautiful and fun to use.
    3. It does some things very well – surfing, email, watching movies, playing casual games.
    4. The Apple people are going to buy it in droves and help bring economies of scale into play.
    5. Sooner or later the Tablet paradigm will have a decent shot at going mainstream – Chances are Apple will be best placed because of their marketing and psychological advantages combined with the quality of their products. 

    Why is everyone overestimating what the iPad has done so far?

    Perhaps because we haven’t had anything huge happen for a long time.

    Apple brings out the iPad and an industry starved for a product that fits their model of ‘innovation’ jumps at it. To the point that they forget that lots of companies have tried tablets in the past. History is written by the victors so you can be sure if the iPad is a success Steve Jobs will be credited with dreaming up the Tablet concept.

    There’s another possibility we’ll discuss in the third section.

    What if the iPad really is the future of computing?

    Good for Apple. Good for all the Apple supporters.

    They seem to really believe the iPad is a revolution while most other people don’t really care – Perhaps if the iPad really does revolutionize computing and find its way into each home the Press will stop writing about it and spare us.

    The iPad as Best Coffee Table Book ever

    The strongest use case for the iPad is as a device that’s lying around the house and which people can just pick up to amuse themselves –

    1. Watch YouTube videos in the living room.
    2. Check recipes in the Kitchen.
    3. Take to bed and read a book.
    4. Put up as a photo frame in the living room.
    5. Check email quickly before dinner.

    Not sure if that’s revolutionary – However, it’s certainly helpful.

    There’s value in being the Entertainment device – But is there a revolution?

    A revolution is something that changes things for the better. Hopefully that’s what we mean by revolution.

    1. How is it a revolution if people start doing more of consuming and less of creating?
    2. How is it a revolution if everything flows through Apple’s closed eco-system where book descriptions are censored because Apple didn’t like certain words?
    3. How is it a revolution if the only way to connect the device to other things is via Apple accessories?
    4. How is it a revolution if iPad Apps cost $5 or more than the corresponding iPhone Apps?

    The iPad isn’t making people more independent or better aware of their choices or even getting them to read more and become smarter. It’s turning them into consumers and buyers.

    The iPad as screening device for people willing to pay for content and become consumers

    Here’s the real revolution the iPad is creating –

    1. TV turned people into consumers.
    2. The Internet threatens to turn consumers back into people who think for themselves. 
    3. Rather conveniently we’ve had a recession so consumers are morphing into savers (in addition to learning to think for themselves).
    4. Apple’s products are crucial because they encourage the consumerism mentality and turn people back into consumers. 
    5. The iPad is a really good test – Not only is the device more expensive, the content is more expensive too.

    To top it all off the iPad makes creation and inventive thinking and freedom difficult – There’s nothing you can do on the device except what Apple and Content creators want you to do.

    • It’s not very convenient for writing a lot or for working. 
    • It’s not open or interoperable so you’re not going to be able to play around with things. 
    • There isn’t very much active thinking left.

    All that’s left is to consume – buy and play mindless games, buy and listen to music, watch TV, watch YouTube, and entertain yourself.

    iPad as a consumer creating machine

    Here are the pluses everyone fixates on –

    1. People want their machines to be simple and Apple makes simple machines.
    2. People want pretty things and Apple products are free.
    3. People want to have to not worry about understanding things. Exactly what Apple facilitates.

    However, we also get the creation of helpless consumers –

    1. Do people really want their computers to be completely controlled? No, but they go along with it.
    2. Do people want to do less creating and less active participation? No, but the devices are tailored for consumption and not creation.
    3. Do people want to get locked in? No, but they like the products enough to get locked in.
    4. Do people want to have no idea of how things work? Perhaps.
    5. Are people happy to be spoonfed? Perhaps.

    If you were to design a device that reduced how much content creation and free thinking people did and encouraged them to focus on consuming – the iPad and iPhone are pretty close to what you’d get.

    Perhaps some portion of people are meant to be consumers?

    There is no good and evil here. People are happily turning themselves back into consumers. Good for them.

    It’s hard to walk away –

    • TV is so much more exciting than writing something yourself.
    • Playing a virtual game is so much easier than exercising or actually going out and throwing a ball around.
    • Browsing Facebook and playing social games is so much easier than actually talking to real people and making friends.

    25 years of training and a culture of consumerism since the 1950s (introduced by TV advertising) isn’t going to go away just because of one recession. There is bound to be a segment of the population that prefers to live their lives as consumers and there’s nothing wrong with it.

    It’s just misdirection to call it a revolution. The iPad is not the invention of the personal computer or the invention of the wheel or the invention of penicillin. It’s just a really smart device to get people to focus on buying and consuming content.

    How about some real revolutionary technology?

    Here are a few things the press don’t write enough about –

    1. The independent space companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin. 
    2. The solar power companies and other new energy technologies like Bloom Energy’s Fuel Cell. 
    3. Advances in Clean Water.
    4. Things like nanotechnology and genetics. 

    It’s hard to look for real revolution when your thoughts are clouded by worries about your immediate survival. That’s why the Press find the iPad so revolutionary – for them it is. For all of us it’s just a really good technology to embrace consumerism again.


    My main computer represents work and the eReaders represent positive entertainment – perhaps even entertainment that makes me smarter. 

    Their worries and concerns are misplaced. A device built to pass the time is not a threat to my love for them.

    People will be up in arms at my classifying the iPad as mindless, time-pass entertainment. For me it is. 

    It’s a great device – However, the iPad is focused on getting me to part with my money in return for things that mostly waste my time. Perhaps life is a spectator sport – perhaps playing ‘social’ games on the iPad and watching movies and browsing YouTube and Facebook is worth more than going into the real world and creating real things.

    The App Store is this direct channel where hundreds of thousands of people are dying to waste a few hours of my time – just so they can get a few dollars for their app. That’s what YouTube is too – A contest – How many people’s time can you waste?

    That’s why the iPad doesn’t have a camera – there’s no money in letting people take their own photos. They’re supposed to let some fashion and lifestyle magazine show them photos of a life or body they can aspire to instead of living their own.

    First quick thoughts on the iPad

    Struggling with now owning both the iPhone and the iPad. Anyways, running through and downloading all the reading apps and some PDF apps for Kindle vs iPad comparisons. Wanted to capture first thoughts because they are an interesting bunch (it will also be interesting to contrast first impressions with my feelings about the iPad after extended use) –

    1. No pretty packaging – How unlike Apple.
    2. The screen is marvellous.  
    3. 3,000 or so apps doesn’t seem much compared to 150,000 – It’s still a lot to go through.
    4. There are very few free apps – Sections like Business and Health&Fitness have less than 10 Free Apps in the Bestselling Free Apps List. Other Sections have 100 Apps in the Paid Lists and the Free Apps List ends at 50.
    5. Think there was a blog that said an iPad App research firm found that only 20% of iPad Apps are free.
    6. Lots of free news apps from the big brands. They are getting downloaded a lot.
    7. Browsing the iPad App Store and can’t stop thinking that if the iPhone wasn’t a phone one of the iPad or iPhone would be gone.
    8. Very easy to smudge the screen with fingerprints.
    9. A very reflective screen – my friend can see his reflection in it without really trying. It does have some glare – there isn’t much sunshine in Montreal today so that assessment will have to wait.
    10. My friend’s an avid comic collector and he says if there were comics available for 99 cents each he’d seriously consider buying the iPad with comics as one of the main use cases.
    11. The comic book app (Comix) works beautifully. You can go through comics pane by pane – the images are scaled up very well. Also the transitions and reading pane by pane creates a pretty immersive experience (according to my friend).
    12. The bezel on the sides is pretty thick and it’s a bit disconcerting to have just a single button on something this big.  
    13. The grip at the back is poor – A case will pretty much be necessary. Perhaps one that can be used as a stand.
    14. The total cost of ownership is very high – $500 or more for the iPad, taxes, case and accessories, iPad apps are more expensive, perhaps a warranty. Even more if you get the 3G version and get a subscription.

    The main positive thoughts were –

    Very Pretty, great screen, touch works well.

    Keyboard seems to work well.

    The quality of iPad apps is higher.

    The main negative thoughts were –

    Do I really need this? It’s too expensive.

    What’s the killer app?

    The Apps are expensive and there are not many free apps.

    It’s going to slip and break.

    Quite frankly, this could and should be $150 to $200 cheaper and there should be an SD Card slot. Have the 32 GB version and the memory instantly seems too limited. It’s also quite ridiculous that it’s $100 more for 16 more GB of memory and $130 more for 3G capability.

    First Thoughts on Kindle for iPad and Apple iBooks

    1. The large screen size definitely makes the iPad much more of a threat than the iPhone.
    2. Makes me wonder what would happen if Apple could cut prices to $350 or so. 
    3. The iBooks app has a very design oriented focus – Don’t quite know how to explain it. It’s as if it was more focused on looking pretty than being a good reader.  
    4. Having 10 different font sizes is definitely a big plus. As is the 5 different fonts. The brightness control is good too.
    5. The 2nd largest font on the iPad iBooks App matches the largest font on the Kindle DX and is a bit bigger than the largest font on the Kindle 2.
    6. The 2nd smallest font matches the smallest font on the Kindle and is slightly larger than the smallest font on the Kindle DX.
    7. It’s a bit ridiculous that you can’t add notes.
    8. There is a lot of glare and you have to keep the iPad’s screen away from any light sources that might shine directly on to it.
    9. The free public domain books are from Gutenberg and are not really very well formatted.
    10. All bestsellers are $9.99 or less in the Apple iBookstore.
    11. The iBookstore is a pain to go through and the lack of additional information – no reviews, no lists from people, no ratings – is discomforting.
    12. Color and size do make a difference. The Kindle for iPad App looks beautiful – much more so than Kindle for iPhone. The cover image view is really pretty too – makes you wonder why Amazon don’t implement it for the Kindle in black and white. 
    13. The iPad is much heavier than the Kindle and noticeably heavier than the Kindle DX. The difference between iPad and Kindle DX seems more than the .32 pounds.
    14. The only comfortable ways to read seem to be holding it on your lap and resting it up against something. When resting the iPad against something you can read with one hand – best used for reading in bed. It tires the hands really quickly if you don’t use support.
    15. Having the ability to read the same books across all these devices is very powerful – My friend was amazed to see my whole Kindle library show up on the iPad.
    16. Kindle for iPad is definitely better than iBooks. If you already own a Kindle or have bought Kindle books it isn’t even close.

    It’s interesting to think about what my preferences for a reading device would be (based on iPad first impressions) –

    iPad over iPhone.

    Kindle for reading over iPad. Kindle for reading over iPhone.

    Sony Reader for reading over iPad. iPad over Nook. Both Sony Reader and Nook over iPhone.

    Also realized that prefer the Kindle DX over the Kindle – Perhaps the larger screen or perhaps testing Kindle Apps on it has made me overly fond of it.

    The Kindle DX also compares much better against the iPad than my initial thoughts – it’s not going to go extinct.

    The iPad is definitely going to steal Kindle owners – Not as many as I’d originally thought. My gut instinct is that 15 to 20% of Kindle buyers and 50 to 60% of Kindle DX owners will be swayed. Some portion of them will get scared away by the costs and closed nature of the iPad. So perhaps 15% of potential Kindle owners and 40% of potential Kindle DX owners. It’s definitely a much bigger threat than the iPhone.

    Kindle vs iPad is going to be very, very interesting.