iPhone Buyers Most Likely To Be Male College Grads - InformationWeek

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iPhone Buyers Most Likely To Be Male College Grads

The people most likely to buy an iPhone make more money and are better educated than the national average, according to Solutions Research Group.

Buyers of the Apple iPhone are most likely to be a male, 31-year-old, college grad with a household income of $75,600, a study released Thursday suggests.

An online survey of U.S. consumers in May revealed that people most likely to buy the combination mobile phone and digital music player scheduled for release at the end of this month make more money and are better educated than the national average, according to Solutions Research Group, a Canadian firm that publishes a syndicated trend study called Digital Life America.

Based on the survey's findings, 72% of people "definitely interested" in buying an iPhone are male. The average age for a likely iPhone earlier adopter would be 31, with 94% between the ages of 15 and 49, and the rest over 50. Fully 58% have completed college, versus 43% for the national average.

In addition, 43% of potential buyers live in New York or California, which is about double the national average. The average annual household income is $75,600, or 26% more than the nation as a whole.

The study also found that 48% of potential buyers do not own an iPod. As to the percentage of potential buyers definitely interested in buying the iPhone from current carriers, 15% were with T-Mobile, 12% AT&T, 7% Sprint, and 4% Verizon. When released June 29, the iPhone only will be available through Apple or AT&T. The price will start at $500.

Kaan Yigit, study director for SRG, said he was surprised at the level of interest, despite the hefty price tag. "At this price point, it's surprising that the level of interest is so high," he said in an interview. "People don't usually pay that kind of money for cell phones anymore. There's certainly a brand halo that Apple brings as a great designer and user-experience company."

Fully 7% of the total number of U.S. mobile phone users said they were definitely interested in an iPhone. That percentage translates into 15 million people inclined to buy the new product. "That's a fairly significant number," Yigit said.

Nevertheless, the most significant impact the iPhone could have is on handset manufacturers, which have to invest more in innovative interface designs in order to match Apple. "The impact overall is in raising the bar in design and user experience," Yigit said.

The iPhone is the most highly anticipated electronic gadget of the year, despite the fact that other companies are launching similar devices with a touch screen " a feature that's been much ballyhooed as Apple's ace in the hole. High Tech Computer in Taiwan, for example, has developed such a handset that will be available in France and Britain this month, and in North America in the second half of the year.

Analysts are split over whether Apple's first entry into the mobile phone market can live up to the hype generated by the company's marketing machine.

As a first-generation product, the iPhone could have bugs in any of a number of areas, such as the touch screen, which is unique for such a device; battery life; call quality; and software stability. A serious problem could lead to negative publicity on the many Web blogs dedicated to Apple products and cause consumers to run for the hills, particularly since the phone will cost either $500 or $600, depending on the amount of memory. That's considerably more than smartphones that can be bought through wireless carriers at a subsidized price.

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