YouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor

*A recent poll has found that British adults have a high awareness, but low understanding, of the newly-launched Apple iPad.

The iPad, a ‘tablet’ nearly-identical in design to its predecessors the iPhone and the iPod Touch, although several times larger and wider, is a portable device which allows users to surf the net, download multi-functional applications (or ‘apps’), store and view photos and videos, play games, listen to music via the wildly popular iTunes download facility, make notes and store contacts. It is not, however, a phone or a camera, and its enlarged size means it has none of the pocket-sized convenience of its older Apple siblings. It is due to launch in the UK in April 2010.

Features and functions

A major proportion (70%) had heard about, or seen the product, with the figure rising to 78% among 18-24 year olds, but many were confused about the features on offer. 19% admitted to having no idea what the iPad does, while 37% mistakenly believe it makes calls, 38% wrongly think it doubles up as a camera and a massive 48% think that one of its primary functions is as a digital photo frame, which, although technically possible, probably wasn’t what Apple had in mind when enabling the device with portable Wi-Fi and Google maps.

And while among existing Apple users (those already owning three or more Apple products), awareness reached a massive 91%, this same group were just as confused, if not more, about the iPad’s features as their non-Apple user counterparts, sparking speculation that they may be among the most disappointed when the product hits UK stores next month.

Marek Vaygelt, Head of Technology and Telecoms Consulting at YouGov, agrees that misunderstanding of the iPad’s operating system capabilities is greater among existing Apple customers. “Apple customers who own three or more Apple products have a very high awareness of the iPad but are way more likely than the population as a whole to believe it has a multi-tasking operating system. While this is a software rather than a hardware feature it suggests Apple’s core market might want to wait for an upgraded version.”

Despite misgivings about technical capabilities, such is the level of interest in the product that even its very name has seen elevated amounts of debate, with 39% indicting it as ‘unappealing’. This was in comparison to only nine percent quoted as liking the name.

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