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Have sales of the iconic iPhone finally reached a tipping point? A new survey indicates that fewer Apple enthusiasts might not be as committed to buying the iPhone 6, or whatever the 2013 version of the device will be called.
The iPhone 5, which debuted in late September, launched with a larger screen (four inches), LTE-compatibility and various other improvements — but apparently those updates aren't enough for some customers who see Apple's competition continue to rise up and offer comparable – or even better – smartphones.
“There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers," said Paul Brown, director at Strategy Analytics’ User Experience Practice, commenting on a new survey conducted by the tech research company. “However, negative press prompted by a perceived lack of recent innovation by Apple has meant we are starting to see some growth in the number of previously highly loyal consumers who are now reconsidering whether or not they will purchase a new iPhone for their next device."
Strategy Analytics' Wireless Device Lab Report, "iPhone Owner Loyalty Declines: Is Apple Losing its Innovation Edge?," found that 75 percent of iPhone owners in Western Europe are likely to buy their next phone from Apple. That might still seem like a big number, but it's down from 88 percent in last year's survey. The number is better in the U.S. – 88 percent – but even that's down from a remarkable 93 percent of those polled in 2011.
“Respondents who say they probably will or definitely will not buy their next phone from Apple is low," added Taryn Tulay, analyst at Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Device Lab. "However, it is the shift in the number of those who are unsure whether they will remain with the same brand for their next phone that Apple should be concerned about."
The iPhone remains the top-selling smartphone around the globe, but as a whole, Android handsets outsell Apple about two to one. Windows Phone – on the back of handsets from Nokia, Samsung and others – is expected to pull into third place in the next few years.