Users avoid iPad 2’s camera, but love to browse the Internet

Jun 3, 2011
Tech

The iPad 2 has a lot of great features, but its on-board rear-facing camera is not really one of them. The lack of quality in the component might be why so few people seem to be snapping photos with their iPads (if you leave off the fact that it’s bulky and stupidly shaped for trying […]

The iPad 2 has a lot of great features, but its on-board rear-facing camera is not really one of them.

The lack of quality in the component might be why so few people seem to be snapping photos with their iPads (if you leave off the fact that it’s bulky and stupidly shaped for trying to frame a shot, and makes no real sense to carry around for a quick snapshot). According to a study from photo sharing social network Flickr, very few users are uploading iPad photos on a daily basis.

In fact, only an average of 36 Flickr users send iPad 2 photos to the social network each day. Meanwhile, Flickr sees 4,000 daily photo uploads from the iPhone 4; 3,000 uploads each day from the iPhone 3G; and 2,000 dailies coming from members using the iPhone 3GS. Even the fourth generation iPod Touch outpaces Apple’s (AAPL) premier tablet, accounting for 455 photo uploads per day – and the iPod Touch 4G and the iPad 2 sport the same camera, with the same resolution: 960×720. If you’re keeping track, that’s even a lower resolution than the iPad 2’s screen.

While these numbers shouldn’t be taken as hard evidence that no one likes the iPad 2’s camera, they are definitely compelling. This is a case in which correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. Without more information about Flickr’s overall user-base, it’s tough to tell what kind of photographers they are and if being more or less casual a shutterbug has an effect on the results. It’s also important to note that the iPad 2 features far fewer camera apps than the iPhone 4. There seem to be a couple million ways to trick out iPhone photos on the fly as you take them (a few notable ones are Instagram, Hipstamatic and 100 Cameras in 1), and the relative newness of the iPad 2, coupled with the awkwardness of using its camera, might be the causes of there being a lot fewer photography options for the device.

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Meanwhile, another study has shown what users do like to use the iPad 2 for: web browsing. In fact, iPad users are tapping into the web at a huge rate, far and away higher than users of other (Android-based) tablets.

A story from 9to5 Mac states that industry analyst firm Net Applications has found that iPads are using web data at a rate of 53 times more than the nearest competitor device, the Samsung (005930.KS) Galaxy Tab.

The survey found that iPads make up nearly 1 percent of all web browsing – 0.92 percent, in fact – across all devices worldwide. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab accounts for 0.018 percent; the Motorola (MMI) Xoom, just 0.012 percent. Both tablets have much smaller install bases than the iPad, though, so it makes more sense to start taking Android tabs together to see how they stack up against the iPad. Angle the data that way and it comes out a little clearer: Mobile devices accounted for 4.79 percent of all web browsing in May 2011, with traditional personal computers taking the other 94.92 percent (0.03 percent went to video game consoles; Net Applications isn’t clear where the other 0.26 percent went).

That means that of the 4.79 percent of web browsing done on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, 0.92 percent happened on iPads. Another 1.46 percent of browsing took place on other iOS devices – leaving 2.41 percent that occurs on other mobile devices such as Android smartphones and tablets.

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Here’s a quote from 9to5 Mac about how Net Applications came by its data:

“As always, their findings stem from tracking browser and operating system usage across their global network of more than 40,000 websites so you should take them with a pinch of salt.”

If Net Application’s numbers are to be believed, yes, the iPad is pretty vastly outpacing the competition, not only in sales but in web usage. But given how many iPads are out there versus Android tablets, and how many mobile devices versus tablets, the numbers aren’t quite as damning as one might initially believe.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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