iPhone is the ultimate breakthrough mobile device, users confirm

5 Dec 2008

A revealing survey of iPhone users shows that not only would they recommend the device above all others to their friends, but they are actually inclined to spend more and download more from the web on the device.

The first survey of Irish iPhone users by Mulley Communications found that, on average, Irish iPhone users have spent €17 each, and one user has spent over €300 on applications via the device in recent months.

The survey of 115 users over recent weeks reveals that iPhone users can be defined as ‘always on’ in terms of calling, texting and surfing. They are also very loyal to the device, venturing that they will definitely buy future iPhone devices.

Globally, Apple has sold over 10 million iPhone devices to date, including the first-generation device and the iPhone 3G, which has been available since March. It was the best-selling handset in the US in the third quarter.

Some 72.5pc of Irish iPhone users have the 3G version, and 68pc of owners bought their device from O2 Ireland. The 32pc who bought their iPhones elsewhere got them from an AT&T or an Apple store in the US, before Apple changed the buying rules.

Some 12pc have gone over the 1GB cap from O2, and 12pc moved from using a BlackBerry or another smart phone, such as a mid-range device from Sony Ericsson or Nokia.

The loyalty to the device was demonstrated by the fact that 58pc of those surveyed said they will not be moving to another phone that is not an iPhone in the future. Some 86pc confirmed their next phone will be an iPhone.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com this morning, Damien Mulley of Mulley Communications said he found the loyalty factor staggering. “The fact that people can forgive high prices, high data charges, a crap battery life and no cut and paste is incredible. It’s incredible that these people are recommending their friends move to the iPhone.

“It’s a staggering viewpoint, but it shows there was a huge gap in the market that Apple has filled, and will dominate for a few years yet.”

Asked what factors have created this loyalty, apart from the user interface, Mulley said he believed the fact that many people were already using iPods and iTunes before the device came along was integral.

He pointed out that some 80pc of Irish iPhone users surf the web more with this phone, while close to 43pc check their email on an hourly basis or more frequently.

Despite Irish iPhone consumers spending so much on the phone, they appear to be clever when it comes to saving money for some things, as one of the most popular applications that Irish owners have downloaded is the Eirtext application.

Eirtext allows Irish iPhone users to access their free web-text messages from O2, Vodafone or Meteor.

In terms of how many of the 115 users had jailbroken their phone to allow unofficial applications run on the device, some 34pc admitted to this activity.

The top application on the iPhone in the eyes of Irish iPhone users is Twinkle (40pc), followed by Facebook (15pc) and Eirtext (10pc). On average, Irish users have downloaded 26 applications.

When asked what was their most desired feature to be added to the iPhone, some 30pc wanted a copy-and-paste function, 25pc wanted a better camera and the remainder wanted multimedia messaging (MMS), text-message forwarding and video capture.

According to Mulley, fundamentally what Apple did best with the iPhone was come up with the right user interface. “It made it easy, there’s no bugs. There’s a video on YouTube of a one year old using it. That’s how easy it is. If the interface on the iPhone was akin to something from Nokia or Sony Ericsson, then the iPhone wouldn’t have sold so well.

“When a device is that intuitive, people are more comfortable and will do more with it. They will check their email more often. It erodes the barrier of trust when they start buying things,” Mulley said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years