This Saturday the Apple iPad will hit stores and some customers who pre-ordered the new device already have the anticipation of knowing theirs is in the mail about to arrive on their doorstep. While it is still too early to predict if this glorified e-reader is a game changer, one thing is certain… it’s creating buzz.

Apple predicts it will sell up to 10 million iPads worldwide in 2010 but the price tag and similarity to other notebooks and netbooks have consumer wary about purchasing the new device.

The NPD Group, a market research company, just released a report on consumer interest in the iPad. Its findings are worth noting. Current Apple owners are the most aware of the iPad’s existence, 82%; while 80% of consumers who make more than $100,000 a year are watching the product with interest.

But interest does not always translate into sales. According to the report, “Only 18 percent of all consumers surveyed expressed a real interest in owning an iPad while 27 percent of 18-34 year olds and 24 percent of Apple owners said they were extremely or very interested.”

From NPD’s research, most people want the iPad as a music device or as something with internet capabilities; seeing it as a product similar to a super-charged iPod Touch.

“Considering what people are planning to use the iPad for, it’s not hard to understand why people who have these capabilities on other devices, such as the iPod Touch or a notebook/netbook, may not want to spend $500 or more on a similar device,” says Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD. “This points to the need for Apple to close the content deals that focus the iPad on what is likely to be its best long-range value proposition around high quality media consumption.”

The price is deterring some people, especially the internet-savy 18- to 34-year-olds. Approximately 57% of that buying group said the $500 price tag will keep them from owning an iPad. Of Apple owners, who are used to paying more for their technology, 43% said the retail price is too high.

Overall, NPD found only 9% of surveyed consumers likely to buy the iPad within the next six months. Of those not looking to make the buy soon, 66% of all consumers and 60% of Apple owners believe they are ‘not very likely’ or ‘not likely at all’ to purchase an iPad.

And yet… with all that said, rumors have it Apple sold out of its first round of iPads just via pre-orders.

What do you think? Is the $500 price tag too much? Is the iPad not unique enough to convince you of the sell?

 

Katie Hinderer

Katie Hinderer is a freelance writer and social media enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism from Marquette University. Over the years she has transitioned from traditional publishing...