Published last night, fresh research from the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) offers us a few insights into the behavior of iPad users, suggesting the device may well diminish newspaper print sales in future. Overnight reports also confirm we've been on track with our predictions for the iPad 2.0, which, it appears, will indeed host cameras front and rear.
iPad 2.0 suppliers named
I've been predicting the next-gen iPad will boast cameras while also being thinner and lighter. In the traditional pre-launch pattern for any Apple device these days, some leaks have begun. Most recently, fresh images purporting to depict cases for the new device have emerged, equipped with apertures for the camera lens.
Suppliers for the new device allegedly include Wintek Corp., Simplo Technology Co. Ltd. and AVY Precision Technology Inc., as well as camera module makers Genius Electronic Optical Co. Ltd. and Largan Precision Co. Ltd.
"It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February," said Steven Tseng, an analyst at RBS in Taipei. "I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April." (Reuters).
Who are the iPad users
According to the RJI, iPad users are news addicts who turn to their iPads for extended periods. They tend to be well-educated, affluent men between the ages of 35 and 64 -- classic early adopters, in other words.
Existing users are extremely happy with the Apple tablet, confirming similar findings in a relatively recent Changewave survey. The RJI explains:
The notion of using the iPad as a casual connection to the wired world is the killer feature for many, which suggests at least some may take a chance on subscribing to their favorite news sources and publications.
Bear in mind that the research reveals that over half of iPad users claim a household income in excess of $100,000 per year.
Is iPad the new TV?
iPad is grabbing attention in a big way -- over three quarters of users surveyed said they spend at least 30 minutes on their iPad, with just under half of users spending an hour or more looking at news and current events.
In other words, the iPad already competes with TV, PCs and newspapers for user attention. 84.4 percent of 1,600 iPad users follow breaking news reports and current events, and see this as their main use of the device.
Books and magazines are already being read by 81.5 percent of users, while 80.8 percent browse the Web and 75.8 percent of users check their email.
The RJI has another interesting finding:
"The vast majority of those who read at least an hour's worth of news on their iPads each day more than nine out of 10 said they are either very likely (71.8%) or somewhat likely (21.2%) to use a newspaper's app for reading news and feature stories as opposed to using a Web browser to navigate the newspaper's website."
Savior of print?
This suggests that iPad users will be interested in dedicated apps from trusted publications in future, hinting a trend toward apps and away from the Web. iPad users are increasingly less likely to read newspapers, the research suggests, the more prevalent iPad use becomes the less newspaper media is read.
This could be good news for Rupert Murdoch and News International, and any other publishers turning to the ultimate niche marketing tool.
Nearly six-out-of-ten iPad users surveyed, who already use their iPad for more than an hour per day and also subscribe to newspapers, say they are very likely to cancel their print subscriptions within the next six months.
However, newspapers will have to be wary with price. Value-conscious consumers expect prices to be lower than the equivalent print subscriptions.
The RJI promises more detailed analysis at a later juncture, and there's plenty more to read through here.