When Apple first announced the magical and revolutionary iPad back in early 2010, Steve Jobs made a point of saying that the new device was a category on its own – filling a gap between the smartphone and laptop computer.

This niche made ReadWriteWeb wonder if iPad usage is actually any different to that of traditional computers, such as, laptops and desktop machines. Do users tend to use iPads at different times of day, or does usage change over the weekend?

The results, gleaned by studying a week’s worth of Bitly click data, make an interesting read, and it turns out that yes, we do use our tablet devices differently….

The study looked at usage patters throughout the day, as well as the week, in an attempt to see if users are clicking links on either a tablet, computer or smartphone.

As is to be expected, usage of the smartphone and computer tends to follow the working day, with usage rising slightly in the mornings, before work. Throughout the day we see clicks steadily increase, before both smartphones and computers see a steady decline as the world returns home from work.

“Device usage is at its lowest during the early hours of the morning and rises as the world wakes. After 10 a.m. there is a slow increase during the workday. As we might expect, usage drops in the evening. Android devices follow a similar pattern. BlackBerry and iPhone only slightly rise after 9 a.m. and drop off in the late evening. Surprisingly, smartphone usage and browser usage are not that dissimilar.”

What’s particularly interesting is the usage of iPads, specifically the peak times.

According to ReadWriteWeb’s data, iPad usage doesn’t see the steady increase witnessed with other devices. Instead, the rise comes much later in the day, with usage at weekends much higher than other platforms.

A sure sign iPads are being used as recreational devices, rather than work tools.

“The iPad’s usage pattern is drastically different. Usage dips after breakfast, remains low during traditional working hours and does not peak until much later in the evening. During the weekends iPad usage between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. is higher than it is during the week at those same hours. No other device sees a heavy increase of use during the weekends, showing that the iPad is used as an entertainment device and differs from both smartphones and browsers.”

While Apple will no doubt be pleased to see that buyers are enjoying their iPads around the home, they will no doubt be hopeful that they can persuade people to use their shiny tablets in the workplace, too.

Perhaps a snazzy new iPad HD will suit the enterprise more?

Do you take your iPad to work during the day, and if so how, does it help you in your job?

  • Scott

    It’s hard to think that “another” new device could make a new category. Maybe something between an iPod and an iPhone ?

    • Scott

      ^Edit: “…Between an iPod Touch and an iPhone?..” You get what I mean.

  • Simon

    Interesting, but why on earth does the “hours of day” axis on the graph go up to 25, it just looks daft!

    • charlie

      you dont have 25hours in a day in england? now thats daft!

  • Sisko

    there are 25 hours a day? For iPads only, maybe 🙂

  • Ernesto Castellanos

    It’s the way the units are set up. It goes by 5 units (or 5 hours). 5, 10, 15, 20, 25. You can’t stop at 24 because that would make it 4 units and not 5. and that would be an incorrect graph.

  • Simon

    Don’t be ridiculous, there’s no valid excuse for an axis denoting “hours in a day” to go up to 25.

    Label the graph in increments of 4 or 6 hours if completeness of scale is an important issue, or just keep it at 5 and cut the graph off at 24, it really wouldn’t matter.