We Go to Bed With the iPad

I’ve been thinking for awhile that the iPhone 6 Plus is an attractive device. Because it’s large, I could use one in some instances that I would watch video content, read a book, or play a game. Some of these I wouldn’t do on the iPhone 5s, or wouldn’t enjoy doing them on the phone as much as my iPad.

The iPad Air is a fun device for leisurely consumption. It’s light enough that reading with it one-handed is no easier or harder than handling some of the hardback books I’ve read, which is to say I’m okay with the weight and bulk of the device.

But the 6 Plus is lighter. It’s handier. It’s sometimes pocketable. The iPad can’t say that. For reasons like these, I’ve wondered when usage statistics would be released that prove everyday users are using their iPads less and their large phones more. Well, that time has come.

CGP Grey shared an article from GetPocket.com. Pocket is a ‘save for later’ app. Based on 2 million article and video views in the app from various devices, they were able to pinpoint how usage of iPhones and iPads has changed.

It used to be that 55% of the time, people read Pocket content with their 5/5s. 44% of the time, people read with their iPad. The model of iPad? Unimportant to this particular study.

At present, now that many of these users are running Pocket on iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, they are seeing an important shift away from the iPad usage time. At present, 80% of the reading is with the 6 Plus over an iPad.

I expected this all along. People may love or hate the new form factors, but what’s interesting is that now, versus before, people have the choice to use a device that suits their tastes. The granularity to which we can pick between features demonstrates that if we could read articles and watch YouTube videos on an iPhone 6 Plus versus an iPad, we would. You’ll use the iPad far less often.

Another detail arose from Pocket’s study:

In fact, the bigger your phone’s screen, the more you’ll read / watch as a whole. We saw that users with both an iPhone and an iPad consumed significantly more content as soon as they upgraded to an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Those with the 6 now open 33% more articles and videos inside Pocket than they did with a 5/5S, and those with the 6 Plus open 65% more items than they did with a smaller phone.

(The emphasis is Pocket’s blogger’s — not mine.)

Pocket is one of these apps thats across all the platforms. It’s available on Mac, PC, Android tablets, Android phones, and all Apple mobile devices (let’s not forget the old iPod Touch, eh?). Some of the time, people are using the web interface on their notebook and desktop computers. Sometimes, their web app/site. But as for the people that favor their iOS devices, the divides are clear.

The iPhone 5 and 5s are not as useful for reading and watching content. You may be happy with how it fits into your pocket, but you would read and watch more with a larger device. In fact, not only would you perform these actions more often with the larger phones, but you would actually read and watch more over the course of your regular week. That could be a big deal to the individuals that spend more time reading and watching content on-the-go.

And there is this:

That being said, there remains one place where tablets still hold reign: your nightstand. Regardless of which iPhone they have, users still reach for their iPads around 9pm for some late-night, bedtime reading.

This makes sense, even if it’s a little sad. The iPad has such great potential, but it’s not in our pockets like the phone will be throughout the day. Then at night, we don’t carry the phone in our PJs. It’ sitting on the nightstand charging, while we tap on the iPad in bed.

If you want to learn more from the study, be sure to read Kait’s article on the Pocket blog.


Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.