The Apple iPad: Do People Like It? Will People Buy It?


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Last week Apple announced one of the world’s worst-kept secrets, the iPad.  Being the gadget freak that I am, of course I watched the announcement stream (amazingly, Apple didn’t stream it directly, so I watched bootleg streams on another site).  I was actually surprised at how pedestrian the announcement was.  It really didn’t seem up to the Apple standard.  It was low-key.

And, of course I planned to do an analysis of what others think about the iPad using Attensity Cloud and Attensity Analyze to extract purchase intent, understand general sentiment and feature-level opinions.  But I went about it in a slightly different way this time.  I looked at it in three different time ranges.  First, I pulled 20,000 tweets two hours before the announcement.  Then I pulled another 20,000 tweets two hours after the announcement, and finally, I pulled 15,000 tweets four days after the announcement.  I wanted to see how the sentiment was trending and what people were talking about before, during and after the announcement, and here’s what I found.

Before the announcement, the sentiment wasn’t overwhelmingly ecstatic, but a significant majority liked the product they would learn was called the iPad.

So, what’s really interesting is, that based on rumors, almost as many people liked the iPad as didn’t like it, and there wasn’t a lot of extreme emotion about it.

Now, when we look at the two hour period after the announcement, we see an interesting change (especially for Apple):

Clearly, in the immediate aftermath, the announcement went well for Apple.  More than double the number of people liked the iPad versus those that weren’t thrilled with it. And more important, the percentage of people that didn’t express an opinion dropped significantly.  And, the number of people that were extremely negative dropped to almost zero.

Finally, let’s see how people feel after they’ve had some time to think about it (four days to be exact):

So, four days later, the sentiment is generally the same, though a few people that weren’t thrilled with the iPad have moved to hating it.  This is a good sign for Apple.  The sentiment is holding positive.  (I will revisit iPad sentiment a few weeks after it ships to see if the sentiment holds once people actually get to start using them.)

Applications Rule

Next I wanted to see if there were any features that were driving how people feel about the iPad. 

For those that like or love the iPad, the top five features they talked about were:

Lack of Flash Support A Big Problem

And for those not thrilled or who expressed very negative sentiment about the iPad:

Already I am starting to see a couple of problems for Apple.  Clearly the lack of Flash support is going to be a problem, and Apple’s lack of support is surprising.  Second, that the perception is that it is just a big iPhone, and that people already have an iPhone.  And, in one place where they might have a strong opportunity, the eBook readers space, people love their Kindles (myself included).   It also appears that they made the same mistake with the iPad that they did with the iPhone:  customers cannot change the battery themselves.

So, Will They Buy??

Finally, are people saying they are going to buy an iPad?  You bet they are.  Overwhelmingly.  But, the purchase intent is starting to drop off.  Here’s how it has looked over the past two weeks:

And what’s interesting is that while there was a major spike in purchase intent on the day of the announcement, it dropped off very quickly.  And, those saying they will not buy has remained constant (and actually more people now are talking about not buying an iPad than are talking about buying one.)

So, I really think the jury is out.  Will I buy one?  Probably, because I don’t have an iPhone (I’m a very loyal, extremely happy Verizon customer and Droid owner).  Will it replace my Kindle? Probably not.  Will it be another fun toy in the arsenal, of course it will!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Phil Talsky
Phil Talsky joined Attensity in 26 and has held several roles in the product marketing organization here. He is currently the technical marketing manager, responsible for technical product deliverables supporting the field sales organization. Prior to joining Attensity, Phil has held product marketing and product management positions with several startups, including Aligo (acquired by Corrigo), Utopy and Baystone (acquired by Remedy).



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