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Friday, 18 May 2007 13:24

iPod owners receptive to iPhone

A European survey of adult mobile phone users found nearly half of the respondents that also owned iPods would consider an Apple iPhone next time they buy a mobile

Not surprisingly given the brand's popularity in Europe, Nokia was the vendor most likely to be considered, with Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola among the leaders.

Although Apple was well down the list - behind LG but ahead of RIM, HP and Palm - "Almost half the respondents who owned an iPod rated Apple as more likely than not be considered for their next phone, compared to just 20 percent for those who didn’t have an iPod, and they were five times as likely to give Apple the highest rating," said Pete Cunningham, senior analyst at research firm Canalys. "There is a lot of loyalty there that Apple can tap into."

Given that the iPhone is probably at least six months away from its European debut, Apple must be feeling pretty good about these figures. But there is a cloud on the horizon: will the iPhone impact iPod sales?

At one level, it doesn't really matter. It would be surprising if an iPhone wasn't more profitable for Apple than an iPod, especially when you include any trailing commissions from its carrier partner(s).

But another survey carried out recently in the UK by Shiny Media found that while 62.5 percent of respondents said they didn't think the iPhone will damage sales of iPods, only 28.5 percent said they would buy another iPod after purchasing an iPhone.

While the iPod is so far ahead of its rivals in terms of market share, that doesn't matter too much. But if sales dropped by ten or 20 percent in the wake of a successful iPhone launch, and a competing music player started to gain ground in its own right (perhaps Zune Mk II?), sentiment could easily swing away from the iPod.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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