back to article Brit consumers shun the iPad - for now

The iPad won't be mass market in the UK, according to a market research firm which took to the streets to see what British consumers think about Apple's tablet. Then comes its qualifier - "at least not yet". Researcher Simpson Carpenter teed up four qualitative groups with an iPad. Participants admired the iPad's "cool", but …


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  1. Jonathan White


    Might it not be better to wait until we actually get some pre-order or sales figures before writing that headline?

  2. zenith


    "And when the prices come down, as they surely will"

    Forgive me if I don't hold my breath while we wait...

    1. Wibble
      Thumb Up

      Is it expensive?

      High prices keep it exclusive. Don't want any old chavvy oik having one and devaluing it for those who can afford and properly appreciate it.

      1. Matt 13


        just like high price keeps the iphone exclusve!!!

        in any social situation, be it laundrette, work, trendy bar, the iphone is easilly the most common phone!

  3. MGman

    Everyone that has seen mine...

    ...wants one. So I expect sales will grow as people see them in the flesh.

    It's not out yet, and apart from a few news stories when it launched It's not exactly been marketed much here yet has it? I've not seen an advert on TV for example.

    1. blackworx

      Wanting something and spending £500 on it

      Are different things

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      Everytime i see a Ferrari i want one. Doesnt mean that when the time comes around I'm actually going to go out and buy one...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Let's not forget the "impulsive minority will simply have to have it. For them, it's not about function, compatibility or improvement but about raw appeal, it's sheer magic. Typical of these consumers was this response It's just fantastic. I don't need it, but it's wonderful and I want it.

  5. Jon Morby

    early adopters

    Well you can bet that the keen early adopters (such as myself) have already bought one from the US

    The biggest problem with the iPad so far (personal opinion obviously) is that it

    a) isn't multi user ... so the family can't share it

    b) can't be tethered to a mobile .. so requires yet another sim/contract/paygo approach

    c) doesn't multitask (yet) .. and v4 isn't true multi tasking anyway

    d) costs more than most netbooks and has less features

    Yes its a cool device ... yes I love it ... but it doesn't replace my laptop, and sadly it doesnt do java, flash or anything else vaguely useful

    just my 2p worth

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Seriously it doesnt multi-task? I didnt think it was possible to write an OS that didnt multi-task this century. Brings back memories of co-operative vs preemptive multitasking debates and the glorious Amiga, how things go backwards.....

    2. Yannick

      isn't multi user ... so the family can't share it

      Sure you can, it's not like a tooth brush is it?

    3. David Beck
      Thumb Down

      Why can't it be wifi tethered?

      Why can't the iPad be tethered via wifi. Both Android and Symbian phones have or can have apps to make the phone act as a wifi router. You just need to have a smartphone to do the tethering.

  6. Chimpofdoom!


    'nuff said...

  7. Station Grey


    Frankly, I'd find it hard to 'justify parting with at least £500 for one' too when they cost from £429.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Too expensive, too flashy, no substance.

      You answered your own point. "From" 429.

      2 of the 3 models are more expensive and I wait to see a seller sell them at the £429 guessed price. Knowing Jobs and the make believe exchanage rate (Where things go opposite to the actual banking exchange rate.) £429 is not the price people will pay on the high street / online etc.

      1. Dr Richard

        No, £429 is the starting price..

        And you can pre-order it today at that price from and you will be able to buy it in an Apple store at that price from May 28 ... it is highly unlikely you will get it cheaper from an Apple reseller, and due to worldwide demand Apple may even withold supply to resellers for a few months.

        I also note that Apple are not discounting the iPad (student or EPP sites) by the usual 7to9% that they do for most other kit (iphone has always been an exception to this discounting as well).

        But its still going to be a street price of from £429 not £500.

        1. Euchrid

          re: No, £429 is the starting price

          "I also note that Apple are not discounting the iPad (student or EPP sites) by the usual 7to9% that they do for most other kit (iphone has always been an exception to this discounting as well)."

          iPods as well - actually, most iPods will cost you a penny more if you buy through the HE Store. The HE discount does go a bit higher - with Mac Pros, I think it's about 16% - and includes a three-year warranty. The education discount tends to be just Mac Hardware and software (full verssion, rather than an acadmic one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That would be

        "I wait to see a seller sell them at the £429 guessed price."

        The £429 *actual* price, as shown on Apple's website. Prolly worth a little research before a rant.

        And to save you going off on another one...

        The US prices are without tax, so should be effectively read "ex VAT". Once you add our almost insignificant (not) VAT to the price, then convert to Sterling, you get to about £390 with current exchange rates for the base model and about £640 for the very top one.

        Even Apple have to be allowed to cushion themselves a little from currency fluctuations.

        Yes, they're damned expensive, but we have to look a bit closer to home for who does some of the ripping off.

  8. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Too expensive

    It is a bit too expensive when you contrast the price against the dull generic plasticy rubbish that HP, Dell and others produce.

    It you look at how it fits in Apple's range then it makes more sense.

    It's pretty obvious that if you produce a new category of product that many people won't get it. Such people had no interest in computers until the Internet arrived.

    It's a device for people on the move who want more battery life than a laptop, more screen real estate than a smartphone and the convenience of a very long standby time (near instant switch on).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But it's not a new category of product... it's an adaptation of an already existing product.

      Also, I don't get why people seem to be willing to plonk down for the 3G one... buy yourself a mifi and use it with all of your wifi enabled mobile devices. No need to have a contract per device and a stonking premium for a simple 3G modem, get a dedicated device to provide that connectivity.

      1. Dr Richard

        Because ..

        they also want a full GPS and not to have to carry a separate mifi which only has a few hours use (i.e. a lot less than the quoted battery life of the ipad when using builtin 3G).

        Also it is no compulsory to buy an iPad ..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          and yet

          the batt life of a mifi is rated at about 5 hours for a single connected device (it also charges via USB and so can be plugged into something for a quick n sneaky charge if need be)... perfectly fine for all of your roaming ipad use. If you're in the house, home wifi should be used at all times anyway.

          GPS use... outside of location based services (of which none are really that critical) and maybe passenger use while someone is driving a car, GPS use on the ipad will be quite limited especially when you are likely to already have a GPS in your mobile phone. It just becomes an extra feature with a hefty price tag and little overall use.

          I also never said it was compulsory to buy one, why even bring this up when we're talking about the device itself. I was commenting on people thinking the only version to bother with was the 3G version, which baffles me since you can provide 3G access at a fraction of the cost and in a far more flexible form.

          Sounds like I touched a nerve ;P

  9. Atonnis


    It sounds to me like the British consumers have it absolutely spot-on.

    We're not so obsessed with the consumption of 'media' as the US, in particular. We do tend to be more cynical than our US counterparts and most of us don't have the time, energy or interest in how some pratt on a skateboard broke his leg or watching desperate people putting sad videos of themselves up and thinking they're suddenly a movie producer. The ones of people talking into the camera saying 'leave me your opinion below about this topic' are particularly pathetic.

    We aren't that bothered with seeing the news 60secsof60minsof24hoursaday. We like to see major events unfolding, but considering a truly major event happens on an average of maybe once a year it's not worth the money to buy a device to see up-to-the-second updates on events that happen so rarely.

    Realistically, the iPad just doesn't have enough of a point to it to be worthwhile. If you live in the fantasy world of always working from home by sitting in your IKEA living room, and to you 'busy' means you got up from your sofa, picked up your iPad from the coffee table and read that Susan is landing from her flight in an hour and you can book a restaurant for the two of you an hour after she lands then I suppose it may mean something.

    To those of us who get up, check our home emails in the morning at our desktop (or later at our work desk), travel to work with a book (or drive - focusing on the road), get to our desktop/laptop and have access to the internet from there there really isn't a need for an overexpensive book reader - especially when the battery wouldn't last an entire holiday - a book seems to last alot longer than a battery. Alot of us don't like reading single stories as they come in, but prefer settling down for elevenses or lunch and reading our way through a number of stories, because we can relax. Our emails are on our desktops or phones (if we're on the move) and our software all works with our server systems, printers, network protocols, security and staff. We are able to replace/repair broken PCs without argument, we can use whatever software we want, even the stuff we write (including scripts - the ever-invaluable tool of the network admin). There are vast arrays of software out there that work with our PCs, and including an Apple-locked, carrier-locked device that pumps excessive amounts of information that we don't want at us is just not worth paying for.

    1. Wibble

      Horses, courses...

      However if you commute in a crowded train for an hour each way where it's difficult to get the lappie out in the five-abreast cattle truck they call a carriage, then the iPad becomes a very useful device indeed.

      For a start it's possible to use it standing upright for the regular times when you don't get a seat -- something that's out of the question for a normal-format lappie, even for a 'notebook' sized one. It's also particularly suited for scrunched-up sitting as it's got a very small footprint -- just like a book which you can use in portrait mode. In fact it could probably work standing up on a packed tube train. It'll work in taxis as well as it's simply not got the bulk of a normal laptop; the instant on and off will be great too, just turn it off and pop it into your bag. It'll even work those red multi-occupancy taxis, I think they're called a bus.

      Then there's the software; checking emails is much easier as the application should be better than that on a phone. Reading attachments should work well too -- even Word or PowerPoint files.

      The dedicated software such as downloading subscriptions to newspapers/magazines should be very good too; don't need to grab a paper. Personally I think this is where it will really excel, obviously dependent upon what the media companies produce: early days.

      OK, a bit of a vertical market. But that's exactly what mine's slated for when it arrives.

      The other place where they'll be great is simply having a browser available in front of the telly. Pick it up, press the on button, and browse. Notebooks/netbooks (unless they're Macs) have a considerable startup time.

      It's a complementary device, not a substitute.

      1. Atonnis

        Maybe...but are these practical examples?

        Firstly I cannot agree with the train argument. Would you really pull out an iPad on a crowded train, overground or underground? You seem to know what it's like being on either. The train wobbles from side-to-side (particularly the tube), people grunt up against each other and it's all a tight uncomfortable squeeze. Getting out your inflexible tablet and trying to hold it up when you can barely squeeze your hands up is not realistic. You drop it, good luck getting it back without it being damaged as hell. A book will bend and is much smaller, and easier to hold up, and if the train jolts and someone's coffee goes flying, it's alot cheaper to replace, and people don't snatch books and run off with them either.

        I admit I'm not a newspaper reader - I prefer to escape the world whilst I'm stuck on a train, plus I see the news before I leave in the morning - but I don't tend to see them carried by the standing crowd anyway. You would have to be assured of getting a seat every day to make the iPad worthwhile as a newspaper reader.

        I can see how someone could use such a device on a long train journey, but there aren't THAT many people who do such journeys enough to make it more worthwhile having an iPad over a laptop.

        As a daily periodical reader there are better, lighter options. As regards to email, well you can do as much with it in a practical sense during the commute that you can do with your phone. You aren't going to be answering and tap-tapping away on your emails on crowded trains, and if you're in a position to set yourself up to tap-tap away then you may as well use a laptop or multi-form-factor slate/tablet device, capable of joining your company domain and usable once you get into the office. The recover-from-sleep time for Windows 7 is very very short, unless you're trying to run it on a device designed for Windows XP when SP2 was just released.

        Yes, there is the option for an in-front-of-the-TV device. Personally I have my PC set up with my TV in the background behind my desk. It's easier. I think holding up a device so I can read through it defeats the object of settling down in front of the TV anyway. I'll sit at my desk and play games or browse or anything else and my TV is also there, playing the media off of my PC's hard disk through one of the many vast array of compatible devices that my PC has to stream it's media through a television, coming from my hard disk array. I can see your point, but I don't think it'll ever be worth £300+

        I can only see this device as a substitute for other things. I don't see how it's complementary to anything, it's just another way to do the same stuff.

        I know I dream a bit, but I'd be more eager to see a wrist-mounted device (perhaps with Samsung's bendable-AMOLED touchscreen tech) a-la-Chuck, wide enough that I can browse, bent enough to make the height worthwhile, yet light and easy enough for me to wear it on my wrist and slide my jacket sleeve over the top. Email, contacts, phone calls (through wireless headset or windable wired), web browsing - all easy from my wrist. If they ever come up with kinetic-power technology good enough to power/charge it it would be fantastic.

        So really, for the iPad I can see one or two uses for a very small number of people, the ones who live in a world where they can actually find a convenience for an object that doesn't really deliver anything new...and I mean deliver.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Nail... Head... Hammer...

    "So basically, most consumers struggle to see what the iPad is for"

    Need we say more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      bet they said that about the wheel... or fire...

      1. DrunkenMessiah


        I bet they didn't.

  11. Jimmy Floyd

    By George, he's got it!

    "...interest built on emotional..."

    And with that, good scribe, I think you have hit upon the real reason for the pro and anti-Apple camps. It's pure emotion.

    Why do more women I know have iPhones than men? Because women are more emotional creatures than men and like how it looks, feels and responds to them. Bollocks to parallel processing (and anyway, isn't that when two roads run alongside each other?)

    Why do Reg-reading techies generally have disdain for Apple's products? Because technically and functionally they're fairly average (in certain aspects much worse) than most other gadgets but they do come with a hefty price tag to pay for an emotional connection that doesn't rate too highly anyway.

    Clearly all those years making cute characters in CGI animation at Pixar did Steve Jobs no harm at all.

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    All is forgiven

    Great article & iPad review.

  13. Alex C
    Thumb Up

    But - will it blend?

    Maybe with a little help...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jim Booth

    "Need we say more?"

    Only if you want us to understand what your point is.

  15. colin79666
    Jobs Horns

    I can see the point.

    I can see the point of the iPad and admire the design. There is no way I'd pay over £300 for it though.

  16. Winkypop Silver badge

    What's it good for?

    No, really?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Surely...'re thinking of "War"?

  17. Muckminded


    This all sounds so new and exciting.

  18. The Jase


    I saw a customers one from the States.

    Its hella fast and a decent browsing experience. But £500 is better spent elsewhere.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Fast, decent?

      Slower than a netbook by some way in web benchmarks, and page loading times, and can't use any plugins you may care to need (such as flash)? That doesn't sound like a fast and decent browsing experience.

      Also, yes, 500 quid is a ridiculous amount to ask for it

      1. Campbeltonian


        On the other hand, most netbooks have a widescreen aspect ratio, which isn't suitable for web pages which tend to be vertically oriented.

        Double-tap to zoom is great for readers of sites like the Reg (maybe not so much for the Reg themselves) because you can easily zoom in on the main article div and obscure the navigation and advertising in the side column. As far as I know there aren't any other netbook browsers that can do this... maybe the Android netbooks? Are they still on the go?

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Web page

          Ubuntu and Windows Firefox

          hit F11

          ctrl +

  19. Captain Save-a-ho

    In the dark?

    "Today British consumers are in the dark. They will get the point when they see iPads and other tablets and e-book readers at work and play - bought by the impulsive minority, the tech savvy and the wealthy. And when the prices come down, as they surely will.

    Then they can shun the iPad from a position of knowledge, rather than ignorance."

    Exactly where, in the long list of typical survey comments, did you discern that ignorance was behind the lack of fanboi enthusiasm? I think consumers got the point when the bloody thing was announced and only those "must have" idiot consumers who buy everything Apple raced to buy one. That's not a matter of ignorance at all. On the contrary, that's people making an informed decision. It's not their fault that they didn't require much information from Apple to make it.

    I think the above statements have to be the best example of the complete arrogance of the Fanboi community, which thinks they know better than everyone else. EPIC FAIL.

  20. Ian Ferguson
    Paris Hilton

    Load it up with porn...

    ...and at least half the focus group will instantly see the benefit :)

    1. Alan Newbury

      The title is required

      But with 'that type of thing' banned from the squeaky-clean Apple universe, exactly how do you load it up????

  21. James Hughes 1

    Played with one on recent US holiday

    Was actually quite impressed. Didn't get long, but seemed pretty quick, display was very good, and was generally very nice aesthetically and ergonomically.

    However, £500, as people have said, is a lot of cash when you can get something like a top spec Asus Eee notebook for £250 or a bit more, that comes with keyboard etc, and does pretty much the same.

    I'll wait' if thats OK with Stevie, for a Linux powered once for £200- £250. That would be worth the cash.

    1. Thomas 4

      Pretty much my thoughts

      ....but put me down for an Android one for about 2/3 of the price of an iPad. Really pleased with how well my Milestone performs with all that stuff but the big question is whether an Android or Linux version will cope with music, ebook and video importing.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, my HP TC1100 still rules...

    Over 6 years old but still far superior to the iPad. I was hoping that the iPad would be the replacement but it failed completely.

    My TC1100 has a shiny SSD in it, Windows 7, I can surf, watch downloaded films, do work in one note, I can attach the keyboard if I want and use word or even do development. That is where we should be heading, I wish HP would resurrect the form factor...

  23. Dr. Whoosh
    Thumb Up

    They will sell loads

    I was an early convert to the concept but having bought one (Whilst in the US) I am pleased that for me it has met its promise. It is more pricey than a netbook but when in the hand it feels that it should be. So far I have been browsing, watching video and reading books and it does all of it in an enjoyable way. The difference is that I am doing so in a similar way to which I would read a book, magazine or newspaper rather than using a computer. I like it and I think the experience is going to get better as the apps evolve. I also think that there will be a lot of people like me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      @Dr. Whoosh

      "I also think that there will be a lot of people like me."

      There already are - over 1,000,000 and counting.

      It's the fastest consumer product to make it to the $1B revenue mark in history. I'd say it's a runaway success already, and yet there are still those vocal peope who insist "it's pointless" and "a failure" and <insert stupid I hate that device comment here> all because they either don't get it, or it doesn't address their needs/wants. In either case, it's rude and offensive to run around trying to take others joy away, and just shows their utter ignorance. The fact is, it's a success, people are buying it, it does meet their needs and wants, and just leave them the f**k alone.

  24. John Tserkezis

    I'd rather have something that actually does something.

    "It's just a big iPod Touch ... a big iPhone without the phone. Or the camera."

    And it can't print, and its WiFi is broken, and...

    1. Wibble

      Where's your printer?

      Do you carry your printer with you when you take your laptop 'on the road'?

      I thought not.

      Anyway, Steve says "it will come". I believe him.

    2. CS3000


      ...There's an app for that

      Just had a quick look at the app store and counted about 18 apps for printing from the iPad.

      And I expect it will be rolled into iPhone OS4 in September.

      WiFi is fixed

  25. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

    I see the point I dont see the value

    I would like one I must admit, mostly to display my photography work to potential clients, then as a nice web browsing and email device.

    I see the point of the iPad (or as another Reg user amusingly called it the "iPod Chunky", I want one but I think its £150-£200 over what I perceive to be its value.

    I did ponder that if Apple had made as much money from their app store as the figures show, they might subsidise the hardware a little more to get it into even more homes and increase that app revenue. Something thats not needed outside of the UK maybe?

    So want one, but wont get one unless price really drops.

    1. Thomas 4
      Thumb Up

      "iPod Chunky"

      Ladies, gentlemen and commentards, I think we should adopt this name for all iPad stories. Kudos to the bright spark that came up with it.

    2. CS3000

      Apple makes lots of money from the app store?

      I must have missed those sales figures...

      According to Apple they make a small amount of money from the App Store.

      They make an awful lot of money selling the hardware that can use apps from the App Store though!

      Apple make a reasonable percentage on apps that are for sale on the app store... this must pay for hosting and checking the app is not full of worms. However... they make no money from all the free apps available even though it costs them the same for hosting etc. And there are a lot more free apps downloaded than paid apps.

      Android users just dont get it... What developer or large software company in their right minds is going to invest significant amounts of manpower in developing apps that can be pirated so easily?

      And as for all those Flash Fanbois (god I hate that term) that think Flash can compete with app store apps such as N.O.V.A or The Sims for example you are living with your head up your ass.

      Cant wait to see Flash Player 10.2 on a phone..... Ha!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Looks like they've already sold out of the first batch. The delivery date has now slipped to the 7th of June.

  27. Jonathan White


    Since if you pre-order one right now the ship date is June 7th rather than May 28th, that rather suggests the initial batch have sold out in 3 days and the idea that UK buyers are 'shunning' the iPad is no more accurate than the old 'bomber on the moon' headlines.

    BTW, educational discount for an iPad (even for those of us 'privileged' enough to work in Higher Ed) is exactly 0%.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's if you believe that the Jobsian bunker isn't trying it on again.

      They could easily have done that just to give the impression it's more popular in Britain than it actually is.

      Also, I see the point of the iPad, I understand its uses and what it can and can't do.

      That's why I think it's worth no more than £250

      Anyone who's prepared to pay more are doing so because they have fallen for the marketing myth that Apple owners are some how superior.

  28. Michael Thibault

    Get it? I wish I could!

    The iPad makes computation and the computer separable: couple an iPad with a VNC client and who the hell cares what your 'other' computer is, or even where it is. Effectively, you can bring that punch with you wherever you go, leaving the multi-tasking where it is and where it's likely/strictly necessary. And provide a touch screen to your box to operate it in ways you (likely) couldn't before.

    1. Tim Barrass
      Thumb Down

      Er ..

      Yes -- because that's impossible right now without an ipad.

  29. Paul 165
    Jobs Horns


    According to the email advert Apple sent me, its "a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price" - pretty sure its that unbelievable price that's putting people off!

  30. scoob101

    Ipod chunky wins hearts of posers

    Its just an expensive posers toy / lifestyle accessory / status symbol.

    Its not a sensible peice of computing gear, and it certainly doesn` t solve any pressing usability issues.

    "Style over substance" - isn`t that apple`s new tag line? , alongside "F**k Adobe, I am god", of course ;-)

    Adobe should re-run those iconic 1984 adverts with a couple of tweaks (i.e. Jobs` face projected onto the big screen) .

  31. shakydd

    What an amusing article....

    I know Britain can be somewhat backward technology-wise but we're not that behind. To state tablet computing is new is complete waffle - we've had them as long as the Chinese have been making them and we know what they really offer - i.e. not a lot. The only users who would ever consider them useful (i.e. people who make lots of notes, journalists, etc) don't use them. Why? Because a paper notepad is such much easier and cheaper, less likely to fail, doesn't get too hot, unlikely to be stolen and doesn't run out of battery.

    So what makes the iPad tablet so special? Er, nothing - it's a tablet - made by Apple - so therefore costs a lot of dosh - for not a lot else but it looks cool - woo!!

    The days of yuppies hanging out with oversized mobile phones belong to the Virgin adverts. Anyone seen walking around London showing off his iPad is likely to just get laughed at these days.

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