Latest metrics say Apple is either doomed by newbies, or poised to kill with pros

Latest metrics say Apple is either doomed by newbies, or poised to kill with pros

Metrics are fun. You can pretty much read into them whatever you like. The latest example if this CIRP study, as reported by Ina Fried of AllThingsD:

“Previous smartphone owners buy Apple iPhones much more than first-time owners,” according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. “Almost 50 percent of previous owners buy an iPhone, while under one-third of first-time owners buy an iPhone.”

So on the Apple is doomed side, we have "Apple failing to wow first time buyers", while on the Apple is winning side we have "disenchanted with other platforms, repeat buyers switch to Apple". Neither, of course, paints a balanced picture of a complex market.

Apple doesn't currently choose to compete in the low-end smartphone space. (The iPhone 4 is subsidized to free, it isn't inexpensive when bought flat out, which is how phones are often bought outside North American markets.) The early adopters and enthusiasts, those who aren't as price sensitive, have long since gotten on the smartphone bandwagon. The next billion adopters will come from the feature-phone crowd, and for them price is one of, if not the most, important factor. At least at first. That swing from 30% to 50% shows that quite a few change their minds after experiencing a low-end device from one of Apple's competitors, and when it's time to upgrade, they go iPhone instead.

(It'd be interesting to see how many first time buyers go for high-end Android devices, like Galaxy S4 or HTC One, compared to lower-cost alternatives. Sadly, Windows Phone and BlackBerry both scored under 10% in both categories, with slightly more first time buyers than repeat.)

If the iPhone 5c rumors are true, Apple might soon start addressing those new customers and emerging markets with a device that's less expensive, if not cheap. Then we'll have to revisit the metrics.

Meanwhile, was your first smartphone an iPhone? Or did you come to Apple after using something else? (I had a Treo 680 before the iPhone.)

Source: AllThingsD

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Latest metrics say Apple is either doomed by newbies, or poised to kill with pros

35 Comments

Nope, not even close. First "true" smartphone (not PDA tethered to a Motorola Razr) was a Imate KJAM followed by a Treo 750w, HTC Touch Cruise, and finally a HTC Touch Diamond (bleh). Then jumped on the Apple bandwagon with a 3G and haven't looked elsewhere since. Well, there was that couple week stint with a Samsung Focus...

I started with an iPhone 3GS. Almost bought an Android, but the one I wanted (whatever HTC's flagship at the time was) wasn't available on Bell, and I didn't wanna give up my corporate plan I had… so I went iPhone and haven't looked back since.

I had the original iPhone, now on my iPhone 5, I'm finding a harder reason to stay with it. I have iOS 7, but it's just an UI over haul with minor changes, I think it's time to move along in my honest opinion. Hopefully I don't get bashed too hard posting my opinion.

Not going to bash you. I'm of the same opinion too. On an iPhone 5, had everyone from the 3G up until now. But finding it harder and harder to want to stay with the iPhone. The smaller screen size, and Apple basically mandating that it will control what customers want instead of listening to them has worn thin (still no Quick Reply from the lock screen for text messages). The only thing really keeping me locked into iOS is the sheer number of apps I've already bought over the years. Would hate to have to rebuy all those with Android.

Just hoping Apple pulls out some other surprises in the next few months, as I'm running iOS7 now as well, and it's ok. Nice facelift, but that's about it.

Anyways, that's just my opinion.

"still no Quick Reply from the lock screen for text messages"

What about sliding over the text message on the lock screen to directly reply to it? You probably know that already and are looking for something else entirely, just thought I'd throw it out there as surprisingly alot of people don't. Kinda one of those small details that's easy to miss, like the shake to undo feature.

I was reading somewhere, it's the "Frosted Glass Effect" the same thing Windows did with Vista and 7, which is totally true.

As for the quick reply bitrate: I what's meant here is not having to FULLY unlock the phone. Just being able to open a mini window, type away and have the screen turn off once you send the text. The same as BiteSMS and other jailbreak tweaks.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my iMac, and Macbook Pro, but it's time for something new. Plus side is, I have T-Mobile's JUMP so I just have to put up with it for 6 months, if I miss my 30 day return period that is.

My first smartphone was the original iPhone. While I did dabble with other devices, the iPhone has always remained the mainstay of the most often used smartphone for its ease of use and great feeling design. Some of the competition has gotten better and made huge steps to outperform the iPhone itself but at the cost of battery life or other issue of never getting timely software updates.

The one main feature that can't be beat is the app variety and amount of content that the iPhone really pushes ahead.

Google Play comes close but with so many different phones and tablets, some software working great on one phone but not the others without a patch (if there will be one). One thing I can count on is my iPhone will run any app I load on it. No fuss or force close dialogs.

My smartphone experience began with a Nokia N900, which was arguably more of an experimental device than a finished product but whatever. Loved that device to bits and might still be using it if my USB port was still functional.

Moved on to Windows Phone, currently dual weilding a Lumia 920 and Nexus 4. I did pick up an iPhone 4S out of curiosity a while back but just couldn't bring myself to play exclusively in the Apple playground and consequently sold it to finance my Nexus 4, which I have no regrets about doing whatsoever.

I came from a feature phone to a Palm Pre to an iPhone 4S. I felt that iOS features had caught up enough to webOS for me to switch over, and I wanted better hardware. Since then, I've got an iPad 2 & my wife got an iPhone 5. I also already had an Apple TV before I got my 4S. Long story short, I'm not going anywhere any time soon.

I started with the og Google phone that was on t-mobile. I then kept that for 2 years and went to a used nexus one then my HTC evo 4g lte on sprint. I love being able to upgrade to the next version of android using rooms like cyanogenmod. I know most people don't do roms but I do and honestly I'm not in desperate need of new hardware. As long as I can get these roms with the next version of android I'm very happy.

I had a Pantech Windows Mobile device. (Pocket PC I guess). It was terrible. Then I went to the Samsung Blackjack. Then an iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, Original Droid, iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III and then back to an iPhone 5. Whew. What a journey.

This is a very interesting senario. Human psychology runs for complexity when one want more. Those are the lot running away from Iphone and embracing android. On the other hand, people tired of complexity search for functionality with simplicity. This lot comes to iPhone from Android. A very natural phenomenon, would benefit iPhone more provided iPhone maintains its simplicity and functionality with world class quality.

I had the first iPhone, then a few more. Then in 2011, I switched to android. Love it. I see it both ways. I've seen iPhone users get bored and switch to android. And I've seen people buy dirt cheap android and get frustrated and switch to apple.

My 1st smart phone is Nokia Express Music. Then switch to low end Android. Then to medium range Samsung Galaxy Wonder. Finally get a high end Samsung Galaxy S4. Major reason is screen size. If Apple not going to size up the new 5S screen, it may hit another wave of tough time to 5S sales.

A long time ago I was given a simple Nokia by my school so I could be reached in case of a first aid emergency. It could only do calls (+ sms, but I never used that) and had a battery life of a week. After careful consideration I got for myself a Sony-Ericsson P910 for all its features and because it had a keyboard which seemed handy. By the time I was considering an upgrade, Apple had announced that the iPhone 3 would be available in NL. Most important for me was the GPS. I have never looked back and am now on an iPhone 5. A year ago I handled an android device but couldn't figure out even the most basic functions without help from its owner. Not my cup of tea. I was given a Windows phone by my school BTW (they got rid of most internal land lines), an utterly unworkable machine which I returned after having routed its calls to my iPhone. Now my school has bought into the MS Lync thingy (IT is barricading itself in its Windows castle) and will give all staff a smartphone which will not be an iPhone. I'll see what that brings, maybe a backup phone to my iPhone. If the past is any guide, there will be manuals for the complicated obligatory interactions with the schools PC's and the need for a lot of support by IT........

I had a nokia 6600, 6680, N72, N91, 9300 communicator, 5800, E61, N97, then I finally got the iPhone 3GS, now I'm using an iPhone 5

Discounting the prehistoric Nokia 6800 and my most loved Nokia 7710 (large full touchscreen with stylus, customized apps), that I owned prior to the present era of smartphones, the first smartphone I owned was Samsung Galaxy S (GT-I9000), the international version, purchased in Sep 2010. To put briefly my experience: I had a blast for first 6 months, followed by torment and hell for the next 18. The only reason I suffered so long was that I cant afford to buy flagship device and throw it away in a year.

After that I swore not to buy any android device for next five years. I wrote a detailed factual experience of the device which none of my friends - the new wannabe smartphone owners - paid heed to. Windows wasn't there in picture in 2012. I bought an iPhone 5, its been an year, and i have no reason to complain.

I, like most people, owned a BlackBerry as my first smartphone. Been on Android since the Moto Droid days.

I had several Windows Mobile smartphones dating back to the Motorola MPX200 (loved that thing) and its full sized SD card slot. Was on a BlackBerry before hitting the iPhone 3GS when it lost carrier exclusivity in the UK (took that long!)

Because I'm on Verizon my first smart phone was a BlackBerry Curve, BB Storm, Droid then Droid X then when VZW got the iPhone 4 I jumped on it. I always wanted the iPhone but I wasn't going to change to AT&T just to get it.

I am with you. On Verizon. Apple and Mac computers since 1983. Had various iPods. Had a first gen iPod touch and a feature phone. Toyed with getting the first HTC incredible, but didn't like what I saw from their skin and android in general. So went to the palm Prē plus. Loved that phone, except for the fact that I had it replaced twice in the 8 months I had it. Would fry itself after a few months. But then the iPhone 4 came and I was up pre-ordering the night is February 2/morning of February 3 2011. Have the 5 and moved my wife from a feature to iPhone 4S last year. Two iPads, Apple TV, yeah, I'm all in.

Ian have missed it, but this is just talking new to the platform. What are each of the platform retention rates?

Sent from the iMore App

My first smartphone was a Palm Centro. Loved that device. Had about 5 other phones before actually buying an iPhone

First smartphone was a Blackberry Pearl. Then iPhone 3G. Then Blackberry Bold 9700. Then HTC Desire. Then HTC Desire HD. Then Samsung Galaxy S 4G. Then Blackberry Bold 9780. Then Blackberry Bold 9900. Then iPhone 4S. Then Galaxy Nexus. Then Samsung Note. Then iPhone 4S again. Then Blackberry Bold 9900 again. Then Blackberry Z10. Then Blackberry Q10. Now iPhone 5.

Yep. Each of the operating systems have their own thing I love about them.

Started with Samsung Instinct, I think it was called, on Sprint. The First iPhone killer. Palm Pre was next. Lack of support, poor build quality and crappy Sprint service led to AT&T and 3GS. Apples ecosystem really can't be beat. IPhone 5 has it all. Great build quality and with iOS 7 getting close to webOS in functionality.

I struggle with staying with Apple or leaping over to Android. While Apple is easy and efficient the Android devices seem to provide more freedom for me. I wrestle with going with the 5 or my S4 daily.

It depends of what you expect from your next device. If you have a computer science grade, you can do much more things with a android phone thanks to the alternative roms, or develop your own stuff. But if you are looking for something that works pretty well, don't want to search answers all night long on the android forums, and are willing to pay often 1$ for great apps (for your children for example), choose an iPhone. My last phone is my 7th phone, I've never have changed a battery. It's cool with most Android phone to be able to add a memory card to increase the space, but it's not possible to move most of the apps to a memory card. The last features of the Galaxy S4 are cool, but you have to disable all of those features for a great battery life. You pay more for an iPhone but the service is pretty great in the Apple Store and the components are better to last 3 or 4 years.

My first smartphone was the iPhone 3G. Honestly, it was a different world for me after I had a smartphone. Sadly, more and more data is being used by smartphones and data plans are getting smaller and smaller.

I came to the iPhone from an HTC EVO 4G. The 4S has worked just fine for me since 2011. If Apple brings the iPhone 5C to the USA in a 32GB version, I'll consider it. If not and the 5S is little more than an iPhone 5 with slight upgrades, I may go for an Android Phablet. I'll weigh the pros and cons whenever the next iPhone is launched, next month, perhaps.

I started with a Blackberry Pearl when the first iPhone was available only at an unsubsidized rate. Then I upgraded to the Palm Pre. I loved the OS, but the phone flat out broke less than two years later. Then I went for the HTC Evo, which I rooted, modded, and tinkered with for two years. Finally I got fed up with phones that require a huge amount of work to make usable. I finally picked up the iPhone 5 (and ditched Sprint while I was at it), and I don't foresee switching brands again anytime in the foreseeable future. Everything works without having to worry about it.

Sent from the iMore App

I started with "smart phones" in the days of Treos and iPAQs. My first modern smartphone was an HTC Incredible. I loved that phone - so much more capable than the iPhones all my workmates had. They made fun of me for having a "hacked chinese porn phone" but I usually had the last laugh as they started getting features that I had been enjoying for a year or two. There's so much parity between platforms now that no one cares any more. On my desk now is a Samsung GS3, iPhone4 and a Blackberry Z10. Part of my job now - a tiny part fortunately - is helping to develop and test mobile management policies for our enterprise so I get to play with different toys. Each has their strengths but I'm most comfortable on Android. It just works. The iPhone is our on call phone and the simplicity and reliability makes it perfect for the "I need to be always available for this one task" situation. The Z10 is our first BES10 managed device and I'm testing it to see if Blackberry has a chance of making a comeback in our enterprise. So far I'm not convinced. The touted Hub is not as good as Crackberry Kevin says it is but Balance is absolutely awesome. No Starbucks app? No Citrix reciever? Short battery life? These are the kinds of things that will hold Blackberry back in the business world - but I digress.

I came to the iPhone 4S from an HTC Desire. Now I own an iPhone 5, it works fine for me until now. I hope that the next iPhone 5S will be available with 128 GB and the ac wifi, but not with a bigger screen. I've installed iOS 7 beta 5, the control center is great and the battery life seems to be better that the last version of iOS 6. Can't wait for the new iPhone !

Data plan prices deterred me from getting a smartphone for a very long time. My first (and only) smartphone is my iPhone 5.
Android was never really a consideration. I ran desktop Linux for a few years and had learned my lesson about "those who can tinker, will" -- and usually break things. Plus Android doesn't even offer the same reassurance about malware that Linux does.
If you asked me 3 years ago what smartphone I would buy, I would have said Windows Phone. I followed Windows Phone so closely that I may as well have owned one. Unfortunately for Microsoft I ended up with a hand-me-down iPod Touch that taught me the value of apps about 2 years ago. When I went to buy my first smartphone, I took a hard look at the WP app store. It wasn't that WP didn't have specific apps I had grown accustomed to. It was that developers seemed to be flat out snubbing WP. From Google to Pandora to Wunderlist. I ended up deciding that maybe Microsoft could use a couple more years to fix the story there.

i was an original android adopter, from the G1 days right up until the Evo3D. what brought me over to apple was iTunes match and iCloud. I never could do backups on an android device without rooting it first which became more more complex over time. i liked the concept of iCloud for backups, and it basically removed the need to ever physically connect your phone to your computer (which was something i was not a fan of). iTunes match also appealed to me as the better cloud music storage option compared to google play.

I always tell my friends and family, you like your Android phone now, it seems cool when you first get it, but just wait.. You'll hate it, and then you'll want an iPhone. That's not for everybody though, just you're average consumer type person who isn't the tinker, hacker, super nerd type. For The tinkerers and the hackers android can be a great platform to get away a lot with, but I'd still argue you can do all those things with an iPhone and net great results.