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Future sales of Apple goods are set to come from kids who are as young as one and are turning to iPads as a source of education & entertainment say market observers.Black Friday online shopping spend in the U.S. market jumped 26 percent this year with Apple products being some of the most “in-demand” of all of the products on sale.
 
75 percent of Apple retail stores polled was completely sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of the day.

Stores tracked by Munster sold an average of 14.8 iPads per hour, which was up from the 8.8 iPads sold per hour at Apple’s retail stores on Black Friday in 2010.

According to new research among kids age 6 to 12, the iPad is the most-wanted Xmas gift for the second year in a row, according to Nielsen.

According to Scott Browning, the Marketing Director of JB Hi Fi, the demand for child education applications for iPads in Australia is six months behind the USA.

“Education is a big segment for Apple especially among young children. In five years time devices in schools will be the norm. Apple recognise this which is why they are investing in the segment. In education the OS will become agnostic to the point that it will be irrelevant of what OS a child is running on a device. Children are adopting devices earlier than ever before” he said.

Even so, the industry faces hurdles, including setting a price parents can live with and dealing with concerns about kids getting hooked on technology too early.

According to a BusinessWeek most iPad buyers have children in their households. According to BlueKai research, which compiles consumer data, the market’s growth isn’t just generating revenue for tablet makers: its increasing demand for kid-oriented content. Companies ranging from Walt Disney to small start-ups are developing games, interactive books and other software to appeal to children.

According to Forrester Research, 29 percent of tablet owners regularly share the device with their kids. Among mothers, it’s 65 percent. One Apple commercial shows a young child learning to write using the iPad 2.

“Kids just get it — they touch it and it moves,” said Jamie Pearson, founder of BestKidsApps.com, a review website with almost 300,000 monthly page views, 40 percent of which are for apps aimed at kids under 5. “It’s like any other natural language at that age; they just pick it up.”

 

Despite the success of the iPad with kids there are concerns among child advocates who claim that as much as kids enjoy playing with an iPad, parents should limit the amount of time they spend plopped down with the device, said Gwenn O’Keeffe, a paediatrician who has studied the effects of technology on children and works with the American Academy of Paediatrics. Toddlers under 2 shouldn’t play with an iPad unless it’s only being used to display books, she said.

Victoria Nash, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute who also has studied the topic, said some parents use gadgets as a “digital pacifier.”

“We know already that there are dangers with watching too much television and doing too much online gaming,” she said.

Apple has sold about 40 million iPads since the products debut last year, and it may sell a record 20 million iPads globally during the next 3 months, Forrester estimates.

Companies are lining up to capitalise on the frenzy. Disney has released an iPad game linked to its movie “Cars” in which kids can drive a small plastic car along a road shown on the iPad. Bertelsmann AG’s Random House and Oceanhouse Medi have released interactive versions of “Dr. Seuss” books as apps. Other companies such as Callaway Digital Arts and TouchyBooks also are introducing titles tailored to youngsters.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder, saw potential for applications aimed at children. Jobs introduced Callaway Digital Arts founder Nicholas Callaway to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture firm that then led an investment round of almost $7 million in the start-up. Callaway Digital Arts makes titles based on “Sesame Street” and “Thomas & Friends.”

The iPad will be many children’s first experience with a computer, a phenomenon that will affect the design of future consumer electronics, said Tom Mainelli, an analyst with the IDC.

According to Scott Browning we are set to see an explosion in education books for devices as well as early learning applications.

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