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Pent-Up Demand Awaiting for Apple iPhone

The iPhone from Apple launches today with a level of anticipation rarely witnessed in the consumer electronics industry. According to a new market study, following the first wave of early-adopters will be additional clusters of pent-up demand to sustain ongoing sales.

While fifteen percent of online Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they are at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone and one percent are absolutely certain they will, only four percent of those at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone say they plan on getting it as soon as it becomes available.

More than half (55 percent) of those who are somewhat likely to buy say they will wait for a price drop and 49 percent say they will wait to learn about the user reviews. These are some of the results of research conducted online by Harris Interactive among 10,410 online consumers ages 13 to 64 between May 8 and 23, 2007.

At the time of this survey, 38 percent of online 13 to 64 year olds said that they were at least somewhat interested in getting the iPhone. After being presented with a full description of the iPhone that included the price tag on the respective 4GB and 8GB models and mention of iPhone's exclusive relationship with AT&T as its carrier, 15 percent of respondents overall indicated that they are at least somewhat likely to buy iPhone, with one percent saying they are absolutely certain to get it.

Fifty-five percent of those at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone say they will wait for the price to drop before buying, 49 percent say they will wait to see how good the iPhone is, and 20 percent will wait until their current cell phone contract runs out.

"This kind of drop-off between 'interest in getting the iPhone' to 'likelihood of buying one' is not all that unusual for products like this in this price range," says Angus Burke, Senior Research Manager of Harris Interactive's Media and Entertainment Practice.

"Similarly, the fact that most people who might buy the iPhone won't do so right away shouldn't be seen as surprising or troubling for Apple given the amount of interest Apple has generated for this product -- a lot of people are going to be paying attention to how it performs while keeping an eye out for those price drops -- as well as being mindful of the expiration date on their current cell contracts."

For those accustomed to research on early adopters of new technology, some of the findings on who will buy the iPhone will not come as a surprise. Seventeen percent of online males say they are at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone, compared to 13 percent of online females.

Twenty percent of online adults 18-64 with annual household incomes of $200K or higher say they are at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone, compared to 15 percent of those with lower household incomes.

One finding that may surprise some, however, is how many teenagers intend to buy the iPhone. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of online males ages 13 to 17 years and one-fifth (20 percent) of online females ages 13 to 17 years say they are at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone, compared to 14 percent of all online 18 to 64 year olds.

Beyond demographics, those most likely to buy the iPhone are significantly more likely to own many other portable devices, including the BlackBerry and Apple's own video iPod. Of those very likely or absolutely certain to buy the iPhone, eight percent already own a BlackBerry, compared to two percent of all study respondents; 22 percent already own a video iPod, compared to seven percent of all respondents.

Among those online who are very likely or absolutely certain to get the iPhone, more than half (58 percent) say web browsing is a key feature that they are looking for. This compares with 48 percent of those likely or somewhat likely to buy the iPhone citing this feature as a reason they will get it.

I therefore believe that the iPhone could be the much-needed stimulus that the U.S. market has been waiting for -- to finally start the process of catching up to the Asia-Pacific and European market leaders of mobile value-added service (VAS) adoption.

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