iPhone 4 Users May Be Skipping the 4S for the iPhone 5
While early polls showed that just as many iPhone 4 users were planning to purchase the iPhone 4S iPhone 3G/3Gs users, exit polls are revealing that not nearly as many iPhone 4 users are investing in the new model, opting instead to wait for the iPhone 5. An interesting article published by the Huffington Post indicates that Blackberry and iPhone 3G/3Gs users round out the lion’s share of iPhone 4S sales: “According to a recent survey by consumer electronics site Retrevo: Blackberry users and owners of early-generation iPhones like the 3G and the 3GS, mostly. Per Retrevo’s survey of over 1,300 electronics shoppers.”
The new survey that Huffington is referencing contradicts earlier polls that indicated a surprising number of iPhone 4 users who were planning on purchasing the iPhone 4S, in spite of it featuring the same form factor and screen size of the iPhone 4. The early Retrevo study from October 12th indicated that “the study actually found almost as many iPhone 4 owners (42%) as iPhone 3G/3GS owners (44%) planning to buy an iPhone 4S,” and that ”BlackBerry owners (24%) were less interested in switching to an iPhone than we found in previous studies.”
But these initial findings are not proving to be completely accurate in the early going of iPhone 4S sales.
Still, there are elements of the Retrevo poll that hint at why iPhone 4 users — and smartphone users as a whole — may be changing their minds about the iPhone 4S. Huffington points out that, “Retrevo also surveyed its customers’ reactions to the new iPhone 4S and found that 47 percent of iPhone owners were disappointed in the new phone. The biggest reason, however, was not the lack of a new design (disappointing 21 percent of respondents), but rather the lack of 4G capability.” The disappointment over the form factor refresh and lack of 4G has resulted in an overall skepticism about the 4S that most likely would have not been the case had the iPhone 5 debuted in 2011: when asked in October, “Will you be buying the iPhone 4S?” only 24% indicated “yes,” in the survey, with 50% indicating “no” and 26% indicating “not sure.”
It would be interesting to know where those 26% “not sure” respondents stand today with the iPhone 4S, what with the reported battery issues and the prospect of the iPhone 5 being released in June of 2012 at the WWDC. At the same time, it should not come as a surprise that iPhone 4 users may end up passing on the iPhone 4S and wait for the iPhone 5: it has been a pattern among iPhone users to skip an iteration before investing in a new model. For this reason, it would make sense that the majority of iPhone 4S customers would be legacy iPhone 3G/3Gs users.
It’s also easy to account for Blackberry users switching to the iPhone 4S: RIM had a tough year and appears to be in their death knell. Blackberry users are fleeing the sinking ship.
But considering that, of the 110+ million iPhone units sold since its debut, statistics show that the majority of iPhones sold are iPhone 4 models, and that the iPhone 4 is the most popular smartphone in the U.S. market, it could mean that the iPhone 4S will in the end not live up to the hefty estimates predicted by analysts regarding the iPhone 5.
By Michael Nace