Apple hasn't had any trouble getting attention for its forthcoming iPad among Apple loyalists, but convincing Mac, iPhone, and iPod users to actually buy another device poses a challenge, according to the NPD Group.
Interest in the iPad, which hits store shelves Saturday, was 40 percent higher among existing Apple owners than among non-Apple users, said NPD's survey report "Apple iPad: Consumers' Perceptions and Attitudes."
NPD found that 82 percent of current Apple users are aware of the iPad. Among people with incomes $100,000 of higher, 80 percent said they're familiar with the iPad. And among consumers between 18 and 34 years of age, 78 percent know about the new tablet.
Those results, however, only gauged awareness of the Apple iPad. How many consumers may actually order one? Only 18 percent of all those surveyed said they're extremely or very interested in owning an iPad. That compares with 27 percent of those 18 to 34 years of age, and 24 percent of Apple owners.
Separately, however, some sources have reported that preorders by eager customers have already reached the hundreds of thousands.
A major reason some Apple users may buy an iPad is simply because it's from Apple. Among existing Apple owners surveyed by NPD, 37 percent said they're interested in the iPad because they like the Apple brand. Those in the 18-to-34 age range said they're most excited by the multitouch screen and would primarily use the tablet to play music and surf the Web.
The iPad's $499 entry price is lower than some had been expecting, but it's still seen as too high by many of those surveyed by NPD. Among the 18- to 34-year-olds questioned, 57 percent tagged price as the main reason they're not ready to open their wallets for the iPad. Even 43 percent of Apple owners think the price is too high.
Many of those surveyed may also hold off on an iPad because they see it more as a notebook or Netbook replacement than a unique device in its own right. Among 18- to 34-year-olds, 51 percent said they'd rather use a notebook or Netbook, while 44 percent of Apple owners echoed that sentiment.
"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," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. "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."
Even people most interested in the iPad may not scoop one up right away. Among all those surveyed, only 9 percent said they were extremely or likely to buy the device in the next six months. That was the same percentage for Apple owners, while just 10 percent of those aged 18 to 34 said the same.
Among all consumers, 66 percent said they were not very likely or not likely at all to buy an iPad in the next six months. That percentage held true for those 18 to 34 years of age, while 60 percent of Apple owners felt the same.
NPD compiled its report based on a survey of around 2,000 consumers 18 years or older conducted from February 24 through March 3.
See also: All about the Apple iPad (FAQ)