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Apple on target for slice of the mobile pie

Apple is set to make its much anticipated entry into the mobile phone market in June, with the launch of the iPhone in the US, followed by a move into Europe at the start of next year. But only around a fifth of US mobile users are likely to buy the much hyped device within the first year, according to a study.

US-based market research company, Markitecture, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,300 consumers on a pay monthly contract and found that 77 per cent of respondents were familiar with the iPhone – a respectable number for a product that has yet to launch.

Among those aware of the device, 41 per cent already had a good impression of the handset based on what they had seen or heard so far.

But when asked about their likelihood of buying the iPhone within the next year, only 6 per cent said they were likely too.

Conversely, two thirds of respondents said there was zero chance they would purchase the product within the first year. Cost was cited as the top reason for not being an early adopter, with carrier issues and or contracts coming second. Apple has agreed a “multi-year exclusivity contract” with Cingular in the US.

But Markitecture points out that while 6 per cent may appear low for a high profile product launch, it may actually be a very strong showing in terms of telco numbers. Motorola’s highly successful RAZR only achieved a 6 per cent market share at its peak, during 2004 the company said.

Similar research has also shown that Apple is on target with consumer demand. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device in January, he said that Apple would be targeting just 1 per cent of the handset market to start with – or a hefty 10 million devices.

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