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iPad Unsurprisingly Registering Most Popular With Affluent Young Adults Already Owning Apple Products

A new market research study of approximately 2,000 consumers released today by NPD unsurprisingly reveals that awareness of Apple's forthcoming iPad tablet is highest among current owners of Apple products, with 82 percent of them aware of the new device. Subgroups of consumers with incomes of over $100,000 (80 percent) and in the 18-34 age group (78 percent) also registered at the top of the list for iPad awareness.

According to the report, 18 percent of surveyed consumers are interested in owning an iPad, with 24 percent of Apple owners registering interest. Respondents cited the Apple brand and the multi-touch screen as the top draws for the iPad, with most interested consumers looking at the device for music and Internet connectivity.

"The most interested potential iPad customers see it primarily as a music device, or for its internet access capabilities," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "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. 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."

Among the key 18-34 year old demographic, 57 percent of consumers cite the iPad's pricing, which starts at $499, as the key barrier to purchasing the new device. Almost as many consumers cite a preference for netbooks or notebooks over the iPad as their reason for not purchasing an iPad.

Overall, NPD's study found that on the order of 10 percent of surveyed consumers are planning to purchase an iPad in the next six months.