Turns out the tech press isn’t alone in lusting after the phone Apple is expected to unveil within the next month. More people are likely to buy the iPhone 5 than were ready to put their money down for an iPhone 4 before that launched, according to a survey of 2,200 potential cellphone buyers.
The survey, conducted last month for ChangeWave Research, shows that 31% of customers who are currently shopping for a new phone consider it “very likely” (13%) or “somewhat likely” (18%) they will end up with an iPhone 5 in their hands. Compare that with the numbers for the iPhone 4 — 12% and 13% respectively — and what you have is a level of pent-up demand that is unprecedented in surveys like this.
Of course, that’s largely a function of the fact that we’ve had to wait so long for the iPhone 5. Its predecessor is nearly 15 months old at this stage; that’s a lifetime in cellphone years. Some 66% of current iPhone owners say they plan to upgrade to the new model, sight unseen. That includes a whole lot of iPhone 3GS users — myself included — who opted to skip a generation.
There’s also some interesting news for Sprint in the survey: Fully 54% of their subscribers say they are “significantly likely” or “somewhat more likely” to buy the iPhone 5, which reports suggest will be launched on Sprint complete with an unlimited data plan, of the kind that AT&T and Verizon no longer offer. But it may be a case of being careful what you wish for. If current iPhone usage is any indication, the amount of bandwidth those customers will suck up may be more than Sprint can profitably afford.