Apple hasn't announced that there will be an iPhone 5 yet, let alone released any details on the refresh of its top-selling smartphone, but a majority of current iPhone users are ready to trade up for the new model, sight unseen.
That's one of the findings in a survey from ChangeWave of 2,200 mobile-phone users conducted Aug. 2-10. The poll suggests that despite all the competition, two-thirds of iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 users want a new iPhone, while 31 percent of all respondents are very or somewhat likely to get one, up from 25 percent in the same survey before the iPhone 4 was launched last summer.
Sprint Customers Ready
And with Sprint Nextel believed to be on the verge of becoming the third carrier to stock the iPhone, 54 percent of Sprint subscribers answered that they're significantly or somewhat more likely to buy an iPhone, as were 53 percent of T-Mobile customers. A merger with AT&T, the first iPhone carrier, would make that possible.
The survey follows on the heels of a July online PriceGrabber poll of 2,852 consumers that found 35 percent plan to grab a new iPhone, with 52 percent of them indicating they'll buy it within the first year of release; 30 percent plan to get one by the end of 2011; and 14 percent hope to buy it within the first month. Seven percent will get online to buy it within the first week. That survey was conducted July 1-11.
Apple has released a new iPhone every summer since 2007, usually in June.
The latest "shows that for most, the iPhone remains the most usable of all the devices," said Gartner Research analyst Ken Dulaney. "The users are extremely happy with the balance of functionality and simplicity and until Apple disappoints them, they remain committed."
In a second survey of 2,297 consumers, Sept. 6-12, ChangeWave found that the resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs stands to have almost no effect on the demand for Apple products.
No Jobs Loss
Only 4 percent said Jobs' resignation makes them less likely to buy Apple products in the future, while 89 percent said the change had no effect.
That's a big shift from 2008, when a medical leave of absence by Jobs led 18 percent to say they would be less likely to buy Apple products if Jobs stepped down.
A third ChangeWave survey, of 1,618 corporate IT buyers, found that 80 percent of those planning to buy tablet computers in the next quarter said they would buy iPads -- unchanged since a May survey.
In further evidence that the iPad still has a lock on the general tablet market, a ChangeWave survey of 2,969 consumers during August found that 85 percent of planned buyers like the iPad, also unchanged since May.
As a result of the ChangeWave data, RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky raised his fourth-quarter iPad estimate to 12.5 million units, up from 10.5 million, and first-quarter 2012 iPhone figures to 27 million, up from 24.4 million, CNN Money reported. Abramsky forecasts 19.5 million iPhones sold in the fourth quarter of this year.
"There's a large number of iPhone users, including me, who have one of the older iPhone units," said analyst Gerry Purdy of MobileTrax. "They are all ripe for upgrading. That's where the large estimate comes from....There are a lot of folks out there that want to upgrade simply out of the basic fact that they have an older phone. Plus, some who have an iPhone 4 will also upgrade and then there are the new buyers. "
Purdy also noted that the coming iOS 5 will likely not be available for 2G and 3G iPhones. "That will cause even more 'trade ups'," Purdy said.