The iPad is gaining popularity among females.Online content and services portal Yahoo (YHOO) has been tracking Apple (AAPL) iPad usage closely. And the company's blog became one of the better sources of iPad usage and demographics analysis after it released a detailed note about iPad usage on Yahoo properties shortly after the popular Apple tablet was released in May.

Now, two months after the first release comes Yahoo's second installment of what will probably be an ongoing detailed breakdown of analytics. This data, compiled by Yahoo's tracking of iPad users on its properties, is showing some significant changes.

Going Gender-Neutral

The biggest one? Women are quickly cottoning on to the iPad. The user base remains 60% male, but the ratio has gone from 2:1 immediately after launch to 3:2 two months in. This suggests the iPad will go gender-neutral, which bodes particularly well for Apple. That's because gender-neutral products, like the iPhone and the iPod, in the past have been both huge growth catalysts for Apple, and they've created the sustained halo effect that many analysts believe has led to steady growth in Apple's market share for computers (by far Apple's most profitable segment).

Yahoo also tracked a shift in visitation preferences. In the initial survey, Flickr, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo News and Yahoo Sports were by far the strongest properties for iPad users, implying that those categories were the most popular.

In the second round, a different set of categories showed strong growth. Usage of Yahoo Groups, Yahoo Shopping and Yahoo Travel rose by 28%, 25% and 22%, respectively, compared with Yahoo's first batch of numbers. This could be related to the gender shift, as well, but it's a good sign for commerce on the iPad -- a key application that many big retailers are embracing with a giant bear hug. Banana Republic (GPS), for example, went whole-hog with an intricate and richly designed iPad application that takes users into a seemingly 3-D virtual store.

iPad Around the World

These numbers also provided the first glimpse of the iPad's international presence, thanks to the May 28 launch of the iPad in nine countries. Early adopters were, again, largely male, with Japan as the outlier. In the Land of the Rising Sun, male iPad users outnumber females by 4 to 1.

In general, Yahoo found that international users are more likely use their iPads to read technology articles than are domestic users, with some countries showing a three to four times greater proclivity for tech fodder. Across the board, global users showed a similar affinity for finance and investment information.

The upshot of all this? The iPad could yet become the powerhouse shopping tool that many retailers envision. In general, too, Yahoo found that iPad users are roughly seven times more engaged with Yahoo properties than non-iPad users. And these are still early days.

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