40% of non-tablet owners still think they need a physical keyboard

Reflecting shifts in both the competitive landscape and consumer demand, the tablet market is poised to accommodate new form factors and accessory options that will bring these devices closer to the capabilities of notebooks, according to a new report from The NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence. The report, “Tablets: Resizing the Smartphone, Redefining the Notebook,” examines the impact of upcoming competitors to Apple’s iPad (including Android 4.0 and Windows 8), competition versus ultrabooks, accessory options, and implications of the growing tablet market for wireless carriers, cable operators, and content providers.

While the introduction of Windows 8 tablets later in 2012 will not steal significant share from the notebook market, according to NPD, it will be a strong factor behind the blurring of PCs and tablets. Many Windows 8 tablets stand to have larger screen sizes and some will have the ability to function as a full PC, causing PC vendors to rethink some marketing and sales strategies.

“PC vendors must balance the opportunity to sell an integrated Windows 8 device that can potentially operate in both tablet and clamshell form factors with the opportunity to sell secondary companion tablet devices that may be smaller and less expensive,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of NPD Connected Intelligence. “Among consumers who are looking to purchase a new tablet, screen size and keyboards, two main components of a PC, are important characteristics for these future purchases.”

According to the report, 40 percent of tablet purchase intenders who have a screen size in mind would prefer a screen smaller than 10 inches. Access to a physical keyboard is desired by 40 percent of consumers who plan to purchase a tablet. Of that 40 percent, most prefer an integrated keyboard over a detachable or docking keyboard.

“This data point is among those ‘interested in owning a tablet.’ They don’t currently own a tablet, but they indicate being extremely, very or somewhat interested in owning the device,” NPD Group’s Sarah Bogaty told us via email.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, and in 1915, 40% of non-automobile owners still thought they needed buggy whips.

Non-tablet owners have little or no idea what they need in a tablet. The more iPads that get out in the world, the better, as people will try them and find out that, no, they really don’t need an integrated physical keyboard. In the next year that 40% figure will decrease significantly. Then, the compnaies that prey on ignorance with junky hybrid tablet/convertible laptops will lose another sales tool.

(If you do find you need a keyboard for your iPad sometimes, then simply get a ZAGGfolio or something similar from numerous other companies.)

It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. – Steve Jobs

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. – Henry Ford


      1. I’m not around you, but I have a Wacom CS100K Bamboo Stylus for iPad, wonderful for occasional sketching and for poking tiny buttons on neolithic web pages.

      2. I type better on my iPad then my real keyboard.
        My finger is my stylus. Switching tools is a drag.

        No physical pen and no physical keyboard – that is what defined a mobile device.

        22 years in design and prefer the mouse over the stylus for 85% of my work. Even in Photoshop. A pen is an absolute joy painting in ArtRage – but I don’t earn ‘butter or bread’ from my paintings.

    1. I know 5 other people besides my self with iPads. None of them, my self included, own an iPad stylus.
      The only thing even remotely like a stylus I would consider getting for my iPad is this “cooking stylus” I saw in the store. Lets you touch your iPad when cooking so you don’t get crap on the screen. I tend to use my iPad as a recipe book.

      1. It just depends on what industry you’re in… I’m willing to bet Sal is some sort of designer, or works with designers. I use one myself, but only when drawing. I would love for apple to build in an API that allows programs to use a wacom type stylus with more sensitivity and precision. Using a stylus as a primary input is definitely a fail, but having one as a secondary device would be insanely great.

        1. Interesting…I’m curious to know which part of my statement you feel has a correlation to sexual orientation. Your statement lacks specificity. Is it the fact that I know five people. Perhaps you feel my sexuality is somehow related to the fact that I don’t own an iPad stylus? Quite a mysterious statement. Please do elaborate.

    2. Thats progress the Google way, 1 step forward 2 steps backwards.


      The original Google Phone was disregards it’s plan for a physical keyboard when the iPhone came out.


      Samsung claims the pen is all the rage but they need the stylus to legally differentiate it from the iPhone.

      Motorola insists the mobility package distributed to Samsung by Google must comply to the Palm Pilots years. The pen is back.

  1. I can understand wanting a keyboard. We’ve had a great deal of keyboard indoctrination over the decades. Even youngsters just starting out probably used keyboards in elementary school on up.

    The thing is, none of this matters. Keyboard/no keyboard, stylus/no stylus are personal preferences and not what the iPad is all about.

    The iPad represents a fundamental shift in the way we use computers, going from stationary desktops to highly portable cloud clients. More portable and immersive than even the stunning MacBook Air. (I want one so bad).

    I wander with my iPad. I take it everywhere. It’s my 80% computer now. Whether or not I use a keyboard is irrelevant.

    1. Can you not use Apple’s Wireless BlueTooth Keyboard synced to the iPad?

      I believe i did exactly that the day I bought my iPad.

      Also, there are other keyboards if people really need a physical key to press that add this function to iPad.

  2. I can type just as fast on my iPad’s virtual keyboard as I can on a physical one. I teach iPads to seniors and I had one lady in the prelim phone interview ask me if she could get a mouse for an iPad if she bought one. When I told her her finger(s) performed that function she complained her arthritis would make using her fingers difficult. She dropped my class. Should be noted she loves using her 32GB iPod Touch 4th gen with a stylus. Go figure. Rolleyes.

  3. MDN’s take makes sense.

    This NPD survey will be critical in the development of new offerings by non-iPad tablet makers. Many of them will devote considerable resources to “innovating” solutions with a physical keyboard. Initially, they will likely gain at least some traction from those 40% from the survey, who will insist on buying a buggy whip bundled with their “Ford model T”. Very quickly, though, many will find out from the initial buyers how rarely (almost never) that physical keyboard is actually used, and will just go with the real thing (iPad), rather than a competitor with some integrated keyboard offering.

    1. Ditto here. I have been touch-typing since high school, and having to watch my fingers as well as what I’m typing slows me down tremendously. Given that I have the Square credit card reader as well, a stylus makes sense to let my customers sign. But the key point is that a keyboard and stylus are, finally, truly OPTIONAL peripherals, and no longer needed to be able to get pretty much everything done on an iDevice that you can do; there is no longer a need to saddle everyone with these increasingly-specialized devices.

            1. Probably, and the average stroke distance is much smaller, and texting doesn’t rely on the slow-me-down touch-typing method of old, and texting with its myriad abbreviations is pidgin stenography. I believe the 100 wpm, but I promise you they are not writing lengthy articles with it but quick tweets about Justin Bieber or crib notes in Home Ec.

    2. Why do you need to type 110 wpm? On the iPad?

      For most of what I need to type, and ALL of what I need to type on the iPad, the 40 wpm are more than sufficient.

      That’s not to say that there are still professionals who want and need to type fast… but those kinds of workers don’t do it on the iPad. It’s the wrong kind of tools for such jobs.

    3. I just ordered a Zaggfolio to go with my iPad 3 that’ll be coming tomorrow. I am not exceptionally good at typing on my iPhone keyboard but I use it all the time. I guess I kinda splurged on the keyboard ’cause I know I’ll use it when I have to be discreet and not use the iPad 3 speech recognition ;^)

      I say, buy the iPad and if you want an external keyboard, go for it.

      And as a really funny aside, last night my wife was ordering some restaurant coupons on her iPad. She ran into some problem with the web page so I handed her my MacBook.

      Soon she starts squawking about the web page still not working so I look over and see her pressing the MacBook screen with her finger trying to click a link. LMAO!

  4. I’ve thought about a Bluetooth keyboard but I’m holding off until my new iPad arrives. I’m interested to see just how effective the voice dictation system is. If it is decent, then Apple has probably just knocked that 40% factor down several notches.

  5. Anyone with a current iMac or Mini will already have a perfectly good keyboard. If I need one, I’ll use my Mini’s, but it’s unlikely. I may well get a stylus, just for retouching stuff on photos.
    I write quite large amounts on my iPhone with no real issues, mainly because the spell-check is so good.

    1. A super comment. Yes, I agree spell checking is exceptional fantastic on the iPad and does assist in typing faster and more accurately.

      In comparison, I have an Android phone (kill me). It sucks to type on. The spell checker I really dislike. The spacing between keys causes troubles, added functions keys get in way. Their virtual keyboard is not as good as Apples’.

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