Apple’s iPhone 4S might be tempting buyers to drop their other phones

Oct 17, 2011
Tech

It seems that as the iPhone 4S continues to sell like crazy, the latest iPhone might be poaching customers from other mobile platforms, such as Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry. At least, that’s according to a story from Reuters, which conducted an informal survey of some 127 iPhone buyers and found that at […]

It seems that as the iPhone 4S continues to sell like crazy, the latest iPhone might be poaching customers from other mobile platforms, such as Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

At least, that’s according to a story from Reuters, which conducted an informal survey of some 127 iPhone buyers and found that at least a portion — 28, in fact — were jumping ship from another kind of mobile device and switching to Apple’s brand.

Now, admittedly, the numbers in this story are pretty much useless, and the evidence Reuters found is purely anecdotal. The news service spoke with iPhone 4S buyers in the U.S., Japan, Australia, Germany, France and Britain, and it found some interesting stories among those switching to the iPhone from another camp. Most of the people Reuters spoke with were upgrading existing iPhones, but a big portion of buyers Reuters talked to were also new customers.

Pre-orders already sold out

We’ve heard that Sprint, Verizon and AT&T had sold out their pre-orders of the new iPhone, and Apple saw huge lines last Friday when the device was released. Online, Apple’s pre-orders for the iPhone 4S filled up quickly (it sold a million on the first day the orders were available, a week before the phone’s launch) and latecomers will be waiting at least a week or two for their new iPhones. Many of these sales are coming from iPhone owners, and undoubtedly many are also coming from Sprint and Verizon, since both carriers are new or relatively new to offering the iPhone to customers. But it’s also possible that other companies’ misfortunes are Apples’ gain. Sprint reported it had made sales records with the iPhone 4S by 1 p.m. on Friday.

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RIM’s BlackBerry device owners have been suffering lately from a massive outage of service all over the world. As Reuters reports, massive issues like that one are likely sending people who have been BlackBerry loyalists to check out new devices, and the hype surrounding the iPhone 4S is likely enticing many of them.

Nokia’s uncertain future; WP7 still small

Apple probably is also benefiting from Nokia’s recent sweeping changes to its business. The company announced just a few months ago that it would be abandoning its Symbian and MeeGo operating systems in the future and selling phones running Windows Phone 7 instead. The uncertain future of Nokia devices, or just the fact that Microsoft’s Windows Phone system is largely unknown among many consumers, may also be sending customers elsewhere.

These recent changes in the business work heavily to Apple’s favor when it releases a new, popular device to a lot of hype. BlackBerry users and Nokia owners due for an upgrade are probably seeing a big opening. And even users of Google’s Android operating system aren’t immune to the promise of iOS 5 and new features such as Siri. And then there are current iPhone owners, who are subject to the “stickiness” of Apple’s operating system. The more content those users own from iTunes and iOS, which only works on other iOS devices, the more likely they are to keep buying iPhones in order to keep their apps and music handy.

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All this has apparently combined in different measures to create what might be Apple’s greatest ever iPhone launch for the 4S. We’ll have to wait for some further analysis of the numbers when Apple and its carriers release them (should they choose to), but at least right now, the iPhone 4S is a force to contend with in the smartphone world.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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