iPads are a nefarious ploy to keep us locked in our toilets

One in five men think tablet computing’s best used on the bog.

Why not? If it’s going to kill off traditional print like it hasn’t so far that’s one of the most common places to find a newspaper, with certain titles offering the doubled benefit of being a rough but informative loo roll. It’s not advised to wipe with a Xoom even with the clean-friendly screen.

According to strategic content agency Seven, tablet computing, most noticeably the top contender so far the iPad, actually is slowly but surely changing the way people access information. Of the 1007 sample surveyed by YouGov, probably while comfortable on the loo, 51 percent claimed they preferred reading on Apple’s iPad over a regular magazine.

But print media is by no means long in the tooth. In the same survey, it found that among people with iPads, usage of print media only declined two percent overall. In fact, of the users surveyed, only 31 percent have downloaded a free magazine app. Even lower is the group that has bought a paid-for magazine app, chiming in at 15 percent. That said, over half – at 52 percent – said they would be interested in reading magazines on the iPad. We guess they’re not good enough yet compared to what’s out there on the web.

Having an iPad means people are more likely to watch movies by four percent and more likely to shop, up seven percent, probably thanks to a range of well presented consumer shopping apps. Meanwhile email was up 20 percent among iPad owners and playing games was up by 40 percent, signalling a trend in casual gaming outside of specific console devices.

So basically men are playing games and emailing each other from the toilet. We always suspected tablets were a nefarious means to keep us locked in the bathroom.

Seven’s further delving into the world of iPad user habits revealed that they are influenced into buying apps mainly by either word of mouth or by Apple’s App Store’s self promotion. In terms of the most powerful channels for driving awareness of apps – featured categories in the App Store rate highly at 49 percent of buyers, followed by charts in the app store at 47 percent and reviews at 33 percent. Top is still word of mouth at 53 percent. Social media ranks lowly at 12 percent.

The research underlines a kick in the teeth for casual desktop or laptop computing. Those with iPads registered laptop use as down by 36 percent overall while desktop use was down 31 percent.

All interesting figures but as with every market survey, they can be contorted to deliver the message you want. Statistics say 84 percent of respondents would download an app from favourite brands if it was free and non-subscription, a figure researched by YouGov but cited by a brand content creation group, Seven, that does not tell us the questions before it that could have ended surveys.
Why do people read on the shitter anyway? Brands, take note! According to founding editor Keegan Wilson of literary magazine Pop Cult, it’s because modern life is hectic and the bathroom is a sanctuary.
“It is perhaps the only place left in modern society where we are ever truly alone. Reading, because it requires the reader to focus, sit still and be quiet and exercise their imagination, is very much like meditation in that respect,” Wilson says.
“You can only properly meditate without distraction and many people will meditate in private. Reading also needs to be done without distraction, especially if you want to get the most out of what you’re reading. So by positioning ourselves as ‘essential reading material for the bathroom’ we are helping the reader find ‘nirvana’ through words and stories. This is something I reference from time to time in the editorial introduction. I guess, the short answers is to say: it gives you peace in a busy world.”

Meanwhile, a partner at HRM Coaching, Patrick White, who has a PHD in Organisational Behaviour, reckons there’s a chance that iPads and Kindles will become a bathroom accessory.

Speaking about reading on the toilet, he says: “Reading on the toilet is mainly a male preserve.

“A study in Australia showed that the secondary readership by men of women’s magazines was such that it nearly equalled the initial readership by women. The research showed that this was predominately done while they were in the toilet. Here they could ogle at the various models appearing in such magazines fully dressed or in lingerie at their leisure.

“This way they were not directly seen to be openly reading a women’s magazine. A comment such as “Is this all there is to read” would be uttered just as they went in.”

He agrees with Pop Cult that the bathroom is a sanctuary: “In my early career after the drive home from work I was always meet at the door by my young children all wanting to discuss their day and show me the work they brought home from school.

“This was too much for me so I developed the habit of immediately going to the toilet when I arrived home. After a quick read and a calm down I would then emerge to face them.”

Food for thought indeed! As businessmen are, ahem, slated to adopt the tablet compter – could it be possible the likes of Apple is breeding a nation of suited business toilet-dads with iPads? It surely could.

*EyeSee Picture is of an iPhone recovered from the bowl, relatively unscathed.