iPhone 5: One-Third Of Consumers Can't Wait - InformationWeek

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01:44 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

iPhone 5: One-Third Of Consumers Can't Wait

The hype surrounding the unannounced Apple iPhone 5 has grown so intense that 35% of people polled by PriceGrabber say they already plan to buy.

Reports about the next-generation iPhone continue to roll in. Verizon Communication's new CEO, Lowell McAdam, suggested during the company's most recent earnings call that he expects the device to arrive in the next few months. This gels with months' worth of reports pegging a September launch for the iPhone 5.

He said, "We are probably what I would view as maybe a quarter behind what we had talked about in January. We expect that probably sometime in the fall, and I think you will see a significant jump there when we get to that point."

Apple has not shared any specific information with Verizon, based on his statements, but what he said implies that Verizon thought the next-gen iPhone would be ready by summer. "We had assumed that we would see an iPhone early in the summertime as it's been usually, and that's going to be a little bit later in the year now."

According to a story posted by BGR.com on Monday, AT&T is preparing for a September iPhone launch as well. BGR noted, "We have been told that AT&T has begun informing employees across the company, and those who work in retail locations, to finish any sort of employee training as soon as possible. AT&T is asking managers to finish training in order to have employees available for the influx of foot traffic expected in September."

In years past, AT&T has banned employee vacations for periods surrounding the launch of new iPhones. We have yet to hear a confirmation that AT&T has taken a similar step for late August and early September of this year. If and when it does, we can all but confirm the launch period of the new device.

These and other reports have contributed to a fever-pitch level of hype surround the next-gen iPhone, which hasn't been announced or acknowledged by Apple. A recent survey conducted by PriceGrabber shows that 35% of respondents plan to purchase the iPhone 5. Of these respondents, 51% indicated that they will buy the smartphone within the first year of release, 30% will purchase it before the end of 2011, 14% will buy it within the first month, and 7% will buy it within the first week. Frankly, I am surprised the numbers are so low for those looking to buy during the first week given how crazy iPhone launch days have become.

What are consumers looking for in a new iPhone? They want the battery life to be better (59%), and they want it to cost less (55%). Interestingly, less than half of respondents said that 4G was important at 46%, though 45% want a bigger display. About 42% said they'd like the iPhone 5 to have a better camera.

Personally, I have no beef with the iPhone 4's battery life. It easily lasts a full day even under intense use, and that's fine with me. You can certainly add me to the percentage of respondents hoping for a larger display, though. I am hoping Apple bumps the iPhone's display up from 3.5 inches to at least 4 inches. As for 4G, well, I'd prefer that it have LTE on board, but I suppose it isn't the end of the world as long as it supports the fastest version of AT&T's HSPA+ network. A better camera? Sure why not.

All this for less, though? I doubt it.

"Our survey data confirms the strong following Apple has built around its iPhone, with more than one-third of consumers planning to upgrade to the latest model only a little over a year following the release of the iPhone 4," stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "Anticipation and brand loyalty are certainly high, but in today's 24-7 work culture and uncertain economic environment, consumers are cautious to look for a reasonably priced phone that will perform optimally over an extended time period."

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