Who Buys an iPhone 4S?

by Guest Writer

Retrevo Gadgetology study about cell phone securityThe iPhone 4S went on sale October 14th. At the announcement for the iPhone 4S you could sense a mild disappointment when everyone realized there wasn't going to be Jobs' trademarked, "one more thing." Aside from the lack of a redesigned case, larger screen, and 4G networking, the new iPhone has some amazing new features. The big question is how is this new iPhone going to do in the competitive smartphone market? This Gadgetology report looks at who is going to buy a smartphone and which phones they are considering.

More iPhone 4 Owners May Upgrade

You might think the iPhone 4S may make more sense as an upgrade for iPhone 3G/3GS owners whose contracts have already expired. However the study actually found almost as many iPhone 4 owners (42%) as iPhone 3G/3GS owners (44%) planning to buy an iPhone 4S. Android owners are less enthusiastic with 12% planning to buy one and surprisingly, BlackBerry owners (24%) were less interested in switching to an iPhone than we found in previous studies. It looks like Apple may be appealing more to its installed base in this version of the iPhone than attracting "defectors" from the other smartphone camps.

More iPhone 4 Owners May Upgrade

Will Anyone Be Camping Out for an iPhone 4S?

anxious buyers waiting outside the stores for their turn to buy oneIt's not uncommon to see long lines outside the Apple store the day a new Apple product goes on sale. Will we see iPhone buyers camped out in front of the store for the 4S or will there be plenty to go around? Initial orders appear to be greatly outpacing iPhone 4 pre-orders, and 53% of potential buyers in this study don't think it will be difficult to get however, with 18% saying they plan to camp out or wait in a long line to get one you could see some anxious buyers waiting outside the stores for their turn to buy one.

Lack of 4G Connectivity Is the Biggest Disappointment

The rumor mill was working hard in advance of the IPhone 4S announcement. Most people thought it would be called an iPhone 5, have a larger display, a thinner case, and possibly high speed 4G connectivity. With such high expectations we wondered how potential smartphone buyers would react. Although the overwhelming majority of respondents said they were not disappointed in the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 owners represented the largest group of discontents which might be explained by the fact that the new iPhone looks almost identical to their iPhone. Of those who did express disappointment lack of 4G connectivity followed by no design changes were the biggest complaints.

Is Anyone Waiting for an iPhone 5?

In a recent Gadgetology report we asked phone owners how they felt about the length of their phone contracts in relation to how fast new phones come to market.

We found most phone owners feel their phones are currently obsolete or will be before their contract expires. Is it possible we could see an iPhone 5 with 4G connectivity and other new features well before a two year contract on an iPhone 4S expires? In this study, nearly half of the iPhone 4 owners think an iPhone 5 will be announced next year and they will wait for one.


Although some expressed disappointment in the lack of iPhone 5 features it appears that interest is high and demand will be strong for iPhone 4S especially among current iPhone owners. It also doesn't appear likely that you'll see many customers camping out in front of Apple stores around the country like we have for products in the past.

Andrew Eisner

Andrew EisnerAndrew Eisner is Retrevo’s resident gadget enthusiast and former Executive Producer at PC World Magazine. Andrew is well versed in technology products, having helped establish Ziff Davis’ premiere test lab, where he led a team testing the latest high tech gear. When he’s not pouring over gadget specs, he can be spotted riding his motorcycle around Bay Area back roads or hiking in the hills while listening to NPR podcasts on his iPod. (More)

About Retrevo's Gadgetology Report: The Retrevo Gadgetology Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com. The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted exclusively for Retrevo in October of 2011, by an independent panel. The sample size was over 1,300 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.

About Retrevo.com Retrevo.com is one of the largest consumer electronics review and shopping sites in the world, helping people decide what to buy, when to buy, and where to buy. Retrevo uses artificial intelligence to analyze and graphically summarize more than 100 million real-time data points from across the web to give shoppers the most comprehensive, unbiased, up-to-date product information they need to make smart, confident purchasing decisions for electronics.

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