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June 29, 2007updated 19 Aug 2016 10:08am

iPhone research ‘somewhat unlikely’ to surprise you

Some new research into whether or not people are really rather likely, somewhat likely (kind-of), or not on your nelly likely to buy Apple’s forthcoming phone-that-plays-music has just been published by Harris Interactive. My life is now

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Some new research into whether or not people are really rather likely, somewhat likely (kind-of), or not on your nelly likely to buy Apple’s forthcoming phone-that-plays-music has just been published by Harris Interactive. My life is now complete.

The first paragraph of their press release is pretty much all you need to know: “The iPhoneâ„¢ from Apple® launches this week with a level of anticipation rarely witnessed in the consumer electronics industry. 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%) of those who are somewhat likely to buy say they will wait for a price drop and 49 percent say they will wait to find out how good it really is.”

Well who’d have thought it? What shocking news! Of those somewhat likely to buy the thing, only 4% of that 15% say they will get it as soon as it becomes available. What restraint! I can just imagine that 4% of the 15% of the poll sample sitting on their hands at home, trying not to leave the house and head to an Apple store or even go online in case their money burns a hole right through their pocket and forces them to part with their hard-earned cash in order to throw out their current phone and MP3 player for one that can – wait for it – make and receive calls and play MP3 music or video.

The poll sample, to be fair, is anything but representative anyway, because I am certain that the kind of people with the time, energy and willingness to fill in an online poll about their likelihood of buying an iPhone are exactly the kind of people that the gizmo is aimed at. The results have inherent bias, even before we start working out the percentage somewhat likely of a tiny percent vaguely bothered, of a percentage of the population sufficiently awake to fill in an online poll about an electronic gadget that does what devices already on the market can do slightly better than they can (allegedly).

Aongus Burke, senior research manager of Harris Interactive’s Media and Entertainment Practice said, “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.”

I’ve just tried to crawl into my desk drawer and lock it behind me. “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,” Mr.Burke said, “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.”

In other words, not even Harris Interactive’s senior research manager, Media and Entertainment Practice, can find anything interesting to say about this research. So why put out the press release in the first place?

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The press release continues, “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.” Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhh! There’s nothing surprising about these unsurprising, to-be-expected, as-you-would-anticipate, about-as-surprised-as-an-unsurprised-person-on-‘no surprises day’ results.

Hang on a minute, there is still hope! “One finding that may surprise some however [I’ll be the judge of that, Mr.Burke] is how many teenagers intend to buy the iPhone.” Wait for it, wait for it, be patient now, contain your excitement….. “More than one-quarter (27%) of online males ages 13 to 17 years and one-fifth (20%) of online females ages 13 to 17 years say they are at least somewhat likely to buy the iPhone.”

At least somewhat likely! A whopping 27% of 13-17 year old males! A group of people that couldn’t tell you (bless them) how likely they are to clean their bedrooms this week, nor should they be asked to. A group of people who probably couldn’t tell you whether they could afford the up-front cost or the ongoing cellular charges, even if they knew what they were. A group of people who are more than somewhat likely to give utterly random answers to an online poll purely for the joy of knowing that they are skewing the results.

Mr.Burke had not finished though, not by a long chalk: “Just because 85 percent of people in Mid-May said they weren’t going to buy the iPhone doesn’t mean some of them won’t change their minds at some point,” he said. In other words, if you thought the results of our poll were unsurprising, you might just be surprised when the iPhone goes on sale, because it might just show that those who said they were somewhat likely to buy one don’t, and those who said they are somewhat unlikely, do.

In other words, don’t read anything at all conclusive into our incredibly unsurprising survey. Survey results: don’t you just love ’em?

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