About that ridiculous Kindle vs iPad survey

Since the Kindle doesn’t seem to have any dangerous competitors any more the Apple-loving Press decided to create one. Never mind that it isn’t an eReader.

The Press took a Kindle vs iPad survey that’s amusingly incoherent and more than a little shady and elevated it to fact.

iPad has 95% of the Tablet Market and 32% of the eReader market?

Yes, much like Schroedinger’s Cat the iPad manages to co-exist in two completely different markets.

A single article covering the survey manages to mention both without even realizing how stupid it sounds – It begins with ‘iPad is killing Kindle in the eReader market’ and ends with ‘iPad also has 95% of the tablet market’.

The interesting thing is that this argument has been used in the past – Then it was the iPhone’s turn to play Schroedinger’s Cat and double up as an eReader.

Guess what happened with the tens of millions of iPhones that were ‘eReaders’ and set to destroy the Kindle?

Nothing. The Kindle kept selling like hotcakes.

Surveys the main-stream Press doesn’t want you to know about

There are actually three surveys that no one in the main stream press is picking up.

  1. The first survey talks about how the number of eReaders has tripled in 1 year. That’s despite the iPad supposedly destroying eReaders. Media Post covers the survey from GfK MRI which talks about the number of dedicated eReaders tripling –

    The number of U.S. adults who own an e-reader — meaning devices like the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, not Apple’s iPad — has tripled over the last year, according to GfK MRI. Where 2.1 million adults owned an e-reader device in March-October 2009, that number has soared to 5.9 million in the same period of 2010.

  2. The second survey talks about 14% of book buyers owning a dedicated eReader and that number growing to 22% by mid-2011. It also claims 800,000 Kindles have been sold between June and mid-November of 2010 (the link goes my post detailing the survey and there’s a link to the actual survey in the post).
  3. The third survey is a survey of 1,800 consumers which shows that 12% expect to buy a Kindle or another dedicated eReader. Citi analyst Mark Mahaney had this to say –

    “further establishes dedicated e-Reader devices as a robust, growing category, with the outlook for Kindle device and eBook sales likely greater than the market anticipates,” Mahaney said.

    That makes Mahaney think his estimate of 8 million Kindles to be sold in 2011 could be too low.

Those are three surveys that are more credible than ChangeWave and yet they don’t get coverage. They are all pretty recent too – 24th through 29th November, 2010.

200 Vs 15 – Only iPad-positive news is allowed to spread

The Press’ bias is painfully obvious –

  1. You’d think an analyst estimate of 8 million plus Kindles sold in 2011 would get coverage – It didn’t. A paltry 9 articles mentioned it.
  2. Guess how many articles were written about the ‘tripling in number of eReaders’ survey? Just five.
  3. What about the ‘800,000 Kindles sold’ survey? One. Yes, that’s right – One single solitary article. Not a single main stream paper or blog thought it’s worth mentioning that 800,000 Kindles might have been sold since around the time of the Kindle 3 launch. 
  4. Basically, any survey that even remotely hinted the Kindle was a big hit and about to get bigger was buried.
  5. Contrast it with how the ‘iPad is killing Kindle’ non-survey was treated. There are 200+ articles about it – in one day.

When the Press hears what it wants to hear there are 200 articles in one day. When it doesn’t like some part of reality – It pretends it doesn’t exist.

iPad is NOT an eReader – it just wants a market it can pretend to be winning

There are a ton of people who have bought an iPad to watch Netflix or to show it off or to pledge their allegiance to Steve Jobs. Assuming the iPad is an eReader means assuming all those people are serious book readers.

We sold 15 million phones last week – Why aren’t they the #1 eReader? For that matter – Why aren’t desktop computers or laptops?

If the iPad wants to jump around markets why doesn’t it Schroedinger’s Cat its way into the TV market or the PC market?

Consider the markets iPad never even goes near – Smartphones, Computers, Laptops, TVs, Video Game Consoles.

iPad users watch movies and TV, surf the web, and play games a lot more than they read books – Why doesn’t the iPad call itself a portable TV or a game console or a mini-computer?

Because then it’d be nothing. It’s much easier and more impressive to claim you have 95% of the Tablet market than 3% of the TV market.

ChangeWave’s Survey is atrociously bad and rather suspicious

In their rush to glorify the JesusPad the Press didn’t even bother to read the full survey.

The Most Incoherent Survey Ever?

Here’s what ChangeWave claims future eReader buyers (next 90 days) will buy –

  1. 42% will buy iPad. 
  2. 33% will buy Kindle.
  3. 4% will buy Nook. Really?  
  4. 1% will buy Sony. What?
  5. 2% will buy a smart phone with eBook capability. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Are we really expected to believe that only 7% of people who want a device to read books on will get a Nook, Sony, or smart phone?

Notice how the anti-eReader press takes turns –

  • Either smartphones are going to account for 80% of sales and kill Kindle and Nook.
  • Or they will settle for 2% of the market and iPad is going to take 42% and kill Kindle and Nook.

Only 2% of people who want a reading device are going to get smartphones? Weren’t smart phones the last ‘magical and revolutionary’ class of devices that were supposed to kill Kindles and Nooks? Aren’t they selling tens of millions of units a month?

Don’t know what ChangeWave is getting in return for this survey that leaves its credibility in tatters – Hope it’s worth it.

Why does Change Wave keep producing ‘iPad is the best eReader’ surveys?

Change Wave comes across as a shill – In March it came up with a convenient survey that claimed iPad was going to kill eReaders. That was right before launch. Now it’s come up with a survey that claims iPad is killing ereaders. This is right before Christmas.

ChangeWave is probably lining up its next 3 surveys – the first to run before iPad 2 launches, the second to run before Christmas Season 2011, and the third to run right after the Kindle Color or Kindle Tablet launches.

Epilogue – Nook Color is going to be the second device to thrash iPad, the pretend eReader

If B&N can stay solvent through all of 2011 then we’re going to see two big surprises –

  1. Despite all the claims of ‘iPad as eReader’ and ‘animated page turn magic on iBooks’ Apple is going to be beaten thoroughly by Kindle and even by Kindle for iPad – and in that exact order. Note: We’re talking about whichever your prefer out of – readers buying a device for reading, number of books read.
  2. The humble Nook Color is going to whip the iPad as the casual reader’s reading Tablet. The measure of it will be ebook sales and total Nook sales to readers. The claim is that 42% of readers will buy iPad and only 4% will buy Nooks – Let’s see how that holds up.

The Nook Color has already been rooted to be an Android Tablet (the process isn’t perfect or easy yet – Nook Devs have the scoop) and you can bet that it’s going to steal a lot of sales. Perhaps, instead of pretending to be an eReader, the iPad should watch out for Android Tablets which are going to destroy its 95% market share in Tablets.

Courtesy Sergii – #1 of 1 is always 1.

Once we have more actual, viable Tablets available we’ll see how long the iPad’s 95% market share and pretend-magnificence lasts.

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.

Kindle, Amazon, new Kindle devices Versus iPad, Apple, iPhone

The focus is on the Kindle 3 and its new, imaginary battle with the iPad. Yet, Kindle vs iPad is merely misdirection.

Today’s Kindle 3 advertisement is puzzling since a $139 dedicated reading device is about as different as possible from a $499 dedicated do-everything device.

Why would Amazon attack iPad and kick-off a pretend Kindle 3 vs iPad battle?

Well, perhaps Amazon is just setting the stage for the bloody War that will be in full swing by end 2010 or early 2011 – Apple Vs Amazon. The prize is billions of dollars a year in profits from digital movies, TV, music, games, and books. Apple and Amazon (and perhaps the company behind Xbox) are the companies best positioned to win.

Amazon and Apple both want to control all digital downloads

Apple and Amazon have been putting things in place to take over selling digital downloads of books, music, movies, and games.

Consider what Amazon has lined up –

  1. Amazon has the following offerings already – Amazon.com, Kindle, Kindle Store, Digital Movie & TV downloads, MP3 Store, Game Downloads.
  2. It also has the following confirmed and rumored technology – TouchCo’s multi-touch screen technology, whatever eInk can come up with, possibly Qualcomm’s Mirasol display, Amie Street’s music technology.
  3. There are also rumors and patents that suggest Amazon has some of the following lined up – Kindle Phone, Kindle Gaming Device, Color Kindle, Kindle Electronic Pen, other new products from Lab 126.

There isn’t any type of digital download that Amazon isn’t interested in selling. In fact it’s already selling movies, books, TV shows, and games in digital format. The only device it has is the Kindle 3 but by end 2010 there may be new additions.  

Apple is even more invested in digital downloads –

  1. Apple has the following channels in place – Apple Store, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac, iTunes Store.
  2. It also has a lot of technology and patents and new and upcoming products – an iPad 2 supposedly focused on reading, a new Apple TV, lots and lots of patents. 

Apple is already selling apps and movies and books and TV shows. It hasn’t gotten into digital game downloads (it seems to prefer selling $1 game apps) – However, that might change.

Apple vs Amazon is inevitable – The quest for digital download domination makes them natural enemies

Apple has the advantage of having over 125 million iOS devices out in customers’ hands. Amazon probably has only 5 million or so Kindles in customers’ hands.

Amazon has the advantage of everyone already associating Amazon.com with buying things. Tens of millions of people already buy books, movies, music CDs, and dozens of other categories of products from Amazon and if Amazon offers digital downloads customers will likely buy those too.

Both Amazon and Apple are trying to become the buying destination for all things digital. Sooner or later there is going to be war and 2010 is the year both of them decided to take the first step. For Apple it was iBooks and for Amazon is was today’s Kindle 3 vs iPad ad. These are the first obvious public moves – However, they’ve probably been thinking about this for a long, long time. Apple since 2000 when Steve Jobs started thinking about the iPad and Amazon since 2003/2004 when work on the Kindle was started.

Their recent actions are great indicators that both Apple and Amazon are positioning themselves for a war

Amazon just bought digital music site Amie Street which lets you stream or download music. This adds on to its existing mp3 store. It has started hiring lots of gaming executives and there are rumors of a Kindle Phone or a Kindle Gaming Device. It started working on an app store in January of this year and released two sample apps a few months ago. It just expanded to Best Buy which until now sold only iPad and Nook. It’s most recent step is today’s Kindle 3 vs iPad advertisement.

Apple’s acquisitions are mostly hardware companies and maps-related companies. However, it has made a number of moves that target the Kindle. It’s rumored to be building an iPad 2 focused on reading. It released iBooks and has taken pains to position iPad as a legitimate reading option for readers. It’s supposedly expanding iPad retail to Target which is the only retail chain currently selling Kindle 3.

Devices like Kindle, iPhone, iPad become critical

There are a few assumptions we can safely make –

  1. In the absence of owning a device customers are likelier to buy digital goods from the ‘buying destination’ i.e. Amazon.
  2. In the presence of a device customers are likelier to buy digital products using the default store on their device.
  3. Customers are likelier to buy from a company that has their credit card information and from which they already buy things (Ex: Amazon, Apple). 
  4. A company that has a direct channel to customers (via a device) not only is free of middle-men like search engines it can supplant them. Apple isn’t buying map companies for fun – it intends to teach Google a lesson.   
  5. Apple and Amazon are painfully aware of all of these points.

Both of them know that a customer who owns an iPhone or a Kindle is a captive customer – likely to make most of her/his purchases through the device (or from the company’s website). We already have indicators of this –

  1. iPods helped Apple take over digital music and even become the #1 music seller.
  2. Amazon has talked of Kindle owners buying 2.7 times the books they used to.  
  3. Kindle owners have turned ebooks into a threat with even Publishers admitting some books are selling more ebooks than hardcovers.
  4. iPhones and iPod Touches have helped Apple become a threat to gaming companies – Sony is now running ads targeting the iPhone.
  5. B&N has talked about sales to Nook owners going up 28%.  

Every company sooner or later comes to the conclusion that owning the device is absolutely critical. Even Google is trying to find ways of doing it by releasing Nexus One – it’s supposedly also working on a Google Tablet.

It’s the new Kindle devices that will fight the War against iPhone and iPad

There are a ton of indicators that the Kindle family is probably going to get a member in 2010 (or early 2011) focused on something other than reading –

  1. Amazon is hiring quite a few gaming executives. 
  2. The Kindle App Store seems far more suited to a phone or a gaming device than a Kindle. 
  3. The patent for gesture recognition is reminiscent of Kinect and doesn’t seem like anything an eReader would use.
  4. The gesture recognition patent also includes images of a device that looks a lot like a smartphone or handheld gaming console.
  5. Amazon’s acquisition of a company that has multi-touch technology (TouchCo) which would be far more useful on a multi-purpose device than on an eReader.
  6. Lab 126 hiring a lot of people from Palm and Handspring early on.
  7. The continued insistence of Amazon that Lab 126 will build other products plus various rumors that Lab 126 is doing more than just Kindle.

Amazon has seen customers buy 2.7 times the numer of books they used to from Amazon once they became Kindle owners. There was probably also an increase in non-ebook purchases from Amazon. Any smart company would wonder what other devices it could make to tap into this loyalty/affinity factor.

Before the Kindle Amazon wasn’t a hardware company but now it most certainly is one. It also needs to be one.

Amazon needs new devices to preserve CD and DVD sales

Kindle provides Amazon a hedge against a decline in physical book sales. It needs Kindle Phone and Kindle Gaming Device and Kindle TV to hedge against a decline in sales of physical DVDs and boxed games and music CDs.  

Amazon has to be worried about the decline of physical media – While its Electronics sales grew by 69% its Media Sales (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) grew just 18% (last quarter’s earnings report, year over year).

Kindle has transformed Amazon from a company that sold a lot of physical books but was in danger of getting left behind if ebooks took over to a company that might dominate all of Publishing if ebooks take over and the current status quo (Kindle and Kindle Store both being #1) remains.

If Amazon can create a Kindle Gaming Device and a Kindle Phone and a Kindle Pad and win one or more out of games, music, and movies it’s suddenly put itself right back into a position of dominance – one that’s even better than its earlier position as the top online retailer of physical media.

The Kindle Ad is more about Apple vs Amazon than iPad vs Kindle

Amazon seems to have decided to send Apple a message – We can play the advertising game too and we aren’t shy of attacking your shiny products.

A lot of people don’t understand that Apple is far more vulnerable to attacks than a normal company. You run a million PC vs Mac ads but most people are still going to buy PCs – they just don’t care that much about social proof and popularity and coolness. However, If Amazon can run enough ‘Loser Guy with Apple Product’ ads they’ll end up taking a lot of the shine off of Apple’s shiny devices.

Apple is very vulnerable to the very strategy that helped it find success – selling coolness in product form and associating rival products with non-cool qualities. The Kindle Ad shows that people are finally becoming aware of it.

The perfect next ad would be an iPad owner talking about how the iPad taps into his creative genius and identifies him as part of the intelligentsia while a bunch of monkeys use iPads in the background while eating bananas and prancing about. Then pan out to show its hundreds and hundreds of monkeys all wearing the same black suits and all using iPads. End with a slogan – Stop monkeying around if you want to read – Get a Kindle 3.