Survey: Strong Demand For Next iPhone

Iphone5-AThe iPhone has not lost its hold as an object of desire for mobile consumers. A new ChangeWave survey (registration required) shows "unprecedented" demand for the next incarnation of the Apple smartphone expected later this year.

With 14% of respondents saying they’re very likely and 17% somewhat likely to buy the “iPhone 5” in the future, early interest in purchasing the next-generation iPhone is much higher than for any previous iPhone model. A similar question asking about the iPhone 4S when it launched in October 2011, for example, found 10% very likely, and 11.5% somewhat likely to buy the device. The iPhone 4S is considered the most successful smartphone release to date.

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Exactly when the iPhone 5 will be released and what new features it will offer are unknown. But survey participants were given a description that includes a larger screen, improved camera, a new iOS 6 operating system, and 4G LTE capability. The forthcoming device is expected to cost $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model, with a 2-year contract.

During Verizon Wireless’ second-quarter conference call last week, the company’s chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, hinted at the possible release of the iPhone 5 in the fourth quarter when he referred to a “big smartphone” release Verizon expects during the period. During the second quarter, the carrier activated 2.7 million iPhones, up from 2.3 million in the prior quarter.

The ChangeWave survey also confirmed surging demand for Samsung phones, with nearly a fourfold increase in intent to buy the brand’s smartphones to 19% since March. Samsung overtook Nokia in the fourth quarter as the world’s largest mobile handset seller.

Asked about their plans to purchase the newly released Samsung Galaxy S III back in June, 2% said they were very likely to buy the Android-based device, and 7% somewhat likely

Among other key findings:

*In contrast to Apple and Samsung, demand for Motorola devices (4%; down 2 points) and HTC (3%) remains sluggish, while RIM (2%) is mired at its all-time low.

*Nokia (2%), is seeing a slight uptick in consumer smartphone buying, with a one-point increase in the last three months. “While it's only a one-point increase, it remains a hopeful sign for their new Lumia device as well as their strategic partnership with Microsoft,” states the report.

The ChangeWave study, in partnership with 451 Research, was based on a survey of 4,042 North American consumers from June 18 to 25.

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