So, now that both versions of the iPad are out and available, it's probably time to ask the question: does a device like this replace another computer, or is it an entirely new category? Back during the announcement, Jobs was adamant that it was definitely a netbook replacement ("Netbooks aren't better than anything," he said then), but could it even replace notebook computers? According to a new survey, 44% of iPad purchasers say they won't be buying a notebook because of the device. That's not the only computing category taking a hit, either. The same survey found that 41% said they didn't need an iPod touch because of the iPad, and 27% said they wouldn't even need a desktop computer.
Now, obviously a survey is a temporary screenshot of people who have just spent $500 on a computer. Just because people say they won't need a new computer in a few years doesn't mean that they won't. Likewise, netbook sales are supposedly dropping off already. After reaching a high last year, they crashed in January after the announcement and then again when the iPad released. The statistics student in us points out that cause doesn't necessarily imply effect, though (and sure enough, the iPad wasn't actually announced until 17 days after the NPD data citing the netbook drop in interest). This is early, early research, and the actual effect the iPad will have on other markets isn't clear yet.
As a trend, however, it certainly appears that the iPad will do its best to take a bite out of as many computing markets as it can (and possibly even some of Apple's own device markets). While anecdotal data tells us that the iPad is still mostly a "satellite" computer rather than a full-fledged workstation, this customer survey says that all sorts of users are ready to jump ship on their older technology.