iPhone Mania Slumps for the 4S, Anticipating iPhone 5
There’s no doubt that excitement for the iPhone 5 has slipped over the past few months. Ever since the announcement and release of the iPhone 4S, the interest in the iPhone 5 has been put on the back burner for many tech enthusiasts out there who assumed that the iPhone 5 would be shelved for a year or so.
But now that we’ve turned over a new year — the year in which the iPhone 5 is destined to be released — it may be that iPhone users who skipped the 4S, as well as non-iPhone users who are holding out for the iPhone 5, are gearing up for its eventual release. In an interesting poll reported on by CNET, iPhone demand — while still dramatically high — is beginning to decline: “According to ChangeWave Research, which conducted a survey of 4,000 North American consumers last month, 54 percent of those who plan to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days will choose the iPhone. . . However, demand for Apple’s iPhone is on the decline. Back in September, ChangeWave found that 65 percent of consumers were planning to buy an iPhone by the end of 2011–11 points higher than now.”
CNET reports that the decline in interest for the iPhone is mainly a result of its best Android competitor gaining ground on it in the marketplace: “According to ChangeWave, it’s due mainly to the recently launched Galaxy Nexus. That device, which boasts Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and comes with a 4.65-inch display, is Samsung’s flagship device right now, and arguably the best iPhone competitor the company offers.” I simply do not agree with that finding. While it is easy to imagine that new Android devices are detracting from iPhone interest, it is worth noting that the iPhone 4S is still a very new product in the smartphone market, and it’s flagship feature — Siri — remains unmatched as far as cool, fun, sellable features go.
Instead, I believe that iPhone 4S interest in waning, in anticipation for the possibility of an iPhone 5 being released less than a year after the 4S. We reported on sagging iPhone 4 sales back in the late Spring and early Summer of 2011, due to the sense that the iPhone 5 may be released either at the 2011 WWDC or the end of the Summer. The same may be beginning to happen in 2012 as well: while many tech analysts believe that the iPhone 5 will be released in the Fall of 2012, there are still others who believe that this year’s WWDC is a viable forum for its announcement, and would also realign Apple’s typical iPhone release schedule.
In addition, our own inside source, who was correct in predicting that the 2011 iPhone would be a refresh of the iPhone 4S, has been told by his own inside sources that Apple is planning for a “June 2012 release.”
What to take out of this new poll is not that Apple is losing the smartphone wars to the Galaxy Nexus, but rather that smartphone users in the know are keenly aware that, now that we’re in the year when the iPhone 5 is to be released, it may very well be worth waiting — yet again.