Linux lovers more likely to loathe the iPad

iPad owners tend to put business before pleasure, while critics of the device fit the classic geek stereotype, says a new study

If you're a self-directed, science-minded nonconformist who enjoys playing video games on your Linux PC, you probably don't much like the iPad. If, on the other hand, you're a status-minded, highly educated business professional who enjoys tracking the growth of your stock portfolio between work projects, you may very well be a fan of the device. Such are the findings of a recent study by MyType, a maker of psychological quizzes.

Based on the results of a survey of 20,000 users, the folks at MyType found some common personality traits among people who own or covet the Apple iPad and those who turn their noses up at the device. The former were lumped into an unflatteringly titled category of Selfish Elites; MyType deemed the latter as Independent Geeks.

[ Get the best iPhone and iPad apps for pros with our business iPhone apps finder. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

In general, iPad owners tend to care more about commerce, cash, power, and achievement than their peers, according to MyType's Tim Koelkebeck: "They're high-performance professionals and screen-bound workaholics," which could contribute to their desire for device with such a high level of portability. "People interested in business and finance are much more likely to be iPad owners than those interested in movies, music, books and literature, the arts, the Internet, video games, shopping, food and drink, nightlife or family."

Moreover, iPad users tend to be highly educated, wealthy (helpful for affording a $500 iPad), and sophisticated. Hence the "Elite" portion of the "Selfish Elite" moniker.

The "Selfish" portion stems from the fact that they scored lower on the survey on measures of kindness and altruism. Koelkebeck attributes the tendency to the possibility that they are so highly focused on work that they are less "attuned to the needs of their families and other private, offline pursuits."

The iPad haters, aka the Independent Geeks, fit the classic male geek stereotype: They shun conformity, prize self direction, enjoy video games, and are interested in science, electronics, computers, and the Internet. They're also partial to Linux: "One of the strongest single indicators of being an iPad critic is a preference for the Linux over Windows or Macintosh." (Interestingly, "even Mac users are more likely to criticize the product than Windows users," according to Koelkebeck.)

Perpetuating the geek stereotype, iPad critics also tend to be young, single men with no children and little interest in family.

Their deep interest in pure, hardcore, state-of-the-art technology explains Independent Geeks' disdain for the iPad, according to Koelkebeck. There's nothing particularly new or earth-shattering about the iPad, he says, given that tablet PCs and touchscreen computers have been around for quite some time. Through the eyes of a true tech geek, the iPad is akin to an overgrown, overhyped iPhone that the mainstream is seemingly gaga for, despite its relatively limited functionality (compared to a mobile PC) -- and its closed platform.

Among other interesting findings in the study:

  • People who plead guilty to sins of indulgence are more likely to own an iPad. Those who identified lust as their biggest sin are 70 percent more likely, while self-professed gluttons are 88 percent more likely.
  • People in their 40s, the oldest age bracket in the study sample, are two times more likely to be iPad owners than those in their late 20s.
  • Teenagers are over four times more likely to be critics than adults in their 40s.
  • Macintosh users are more likely to be iPad critics than Windows users. They're also more likely to be owners. Windows users are more likely to simply not be interested.
  • People with kind, humble personalities are unlikely to know what the iPad is.
  • The more children a person has, the more likely he/she is unaware of the iPad.

This article, "Linux lovers more likely to loathe the iPad," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.