The survey conclusions were regurgitated without any analysis by about 95% of the news stories on the first day.
The iPad is the portable equvalent of a small computer that runs multimedia apps, and only secondarily is it used for reading e-books. Has anyone ever expected that it would sell less than a dedicated e-reader which is by design a niche product?
Never mind that although it was roundly predicted that the Kindle (UK: K3) would be 'killed' or even entombed by the iPad (or, earlier, by the Nook) by the end of 2010, the Kindle is an item for which demand is so great since April that columnists often mention the error of those predictions and the now-obvious happy co-existence of the two types of very popular gadgets.
Add that the consumers surveyed include those who would have little interest particularly in getting an e-reader and are drawn to the web-surfing, video, and games features of the iPad (per just about every other survey I've seen, most put the e-reading feature last).
In other words, does any serious survey pit two entirely different types of gadgets against each other and declare a 'loss' for the one that offers one finely tuned capability at considerably less cost for those wanting that one capability?
The basic question (as asked in this survey) of what "e-reader" a person might be interested in buying assumes that each participant is actually looking for an e-reader rather than showing an interest if asked -- though many will certainly be interested in an all-in-one. Should they stop making dedicated, inexpensive printers because all-in-one printer/fax/scanners gaining ground on the less-costly, dedicated ones ?
Should Canon stop making sub-compact cameras because the iPhone has a very good little camera in it? Would a serious survey ask people to choose between an iPhone camera and dedicated cameras?
Actually, the comparisons are based on expected hardware sales rather than on the actual way the hardware would be used.
TECHGEAR/TIM CONNEALLY'S PERSPECTIVE ON THIS
Here's some of what TechGear had to say about the survey:
' ... ChangeWave said Amazon's Kindle holds a "rapidly diminishing lead" over the Apple iPad in the e-reader market, and that the iPad's overall presence in the space has doubled since August.[Yes, the iPad sold 3 million in 80 days -- and after that, Amazon's can't keep Kindles in enough supply for shipping to other countries without large delays.]According to buying intent stated by consumers, ChangeWave also concludes the iPad "will be the biggest beneficiary of the expanding e-Reader market this holiday season, followed by the Amazon Kindle."
Naturally, this has led to headlines today declaring that the Kindle is somehow "losing" to the iPad.
Unfortunately, the entire survey is based on an unsound premise, because it seeks to compare hardware e-readers with software e-readers.
. . .
Interestingly, the survey goes on to illustrate exactly why the iPad and smartphones should not be placed in the same category as hardware e-readers.
ChangeWave asked consumers "which of the following types of content do you currently read with your e-book reader?"
Unsurprisingly, the majority of Kindle users said they're reading e-books, while iPad users said they tend to read newspapers, magazines, blogs and RSS feeds.
In short, this shows not that the iPad is stealing market share from the Kindle. But instead that consumers who read e-books are buying e-readers, and consumers who read colorful and web-derived content are buying tablets. '
Yes, and one tablet in particular, but people are really taking to the Samsung Galaxy 7" despite Steve Job's insistence that people are not interested in that size tablet (rather like his earlier insistence that the Amazon Kindle was not going to work because "people don't read anymore." And there is coming a rain of capable tablets in a month or two.
UPDATE 12/2/10 - Already there is the Archos 101, a 10" tablet for ~$294.
COMMENTERS TO THE TECHGEAR STORY
Here are some really blunt and insightful comments to Conneally's story:
From a purist point of view the ipad (I own one) is a horrid e-reader. It is too heavy to hold for long periods of time. Plus, the screen is way way way too glossy in certain places which makes reading a pain in the eye socket. As far as ibooks goes, it is miniscule compared to the nook and Kindle stores. Then there is the cost of the ipad - OUCH! '
E-reader versus tablet appliance with a very large difference in price between them. Not the most well-conceived study, but the point is really to get the name of the research firm out there by pushing something with these popular keywords down the wire.[ Exactly what came to my mind because it is such a carelessly designed study, but today's focus on getting stories out quickly more than anything else means the survey makers will get their name out there when stories are done for "first" announcement and then auto-duplicated wildly rather than the news-seconders actually looking at the story to see if there's anything there.___
Nice to finally find a breath of sanity in this debate :-) I use both and they are definitely horses for courses. The Kindle is vastly superior for prolonged reading and reading text (it's much lighter, easier on the eyes, has better batter[y] life and enjoys sunlight). The iPad is much better for browsing the web and flicking through items that require colour. '
In the meantime, ChangeWave itself describes the following questions answered, in its brief online report
' Going forward, e-Reader demand remains strong for the holidays, with 5% of respondents saying they are Very Likely to buy an e-Reader and 10% Somewhat Likely over the next 90 days. '
Here's their full Consumer Electronics Report ($1,500).
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