Study: half of iPhone users have added unofficial third party apps

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An extensive study released Tuesday by Rubicon Consulting reveals that nearly one half of US iPhone users have taken measures to add applications to the handset on their own, while just a bit more than 10 percent say they've unlocked the device from AT&T's wireless network.



More specifically, the survey of 460 randomly-selected iPhone users last month found that nearly 50 percent have at one point added at least one application to the handset. Among those people who did add applications, the average person added 4.3 new programs, but only around 10 percent say they added 6 or more applications.



However, only 13 percent of those US iPhone owners say they've unlocked the device, suggesting that the upcoming release of iPhone software 2.0 and the official iPhone App Store will address the most controversial aspect of the handset facing US consumers since its release late last June.



A followup question on the most desired features appears to support that thesis, with more than 40 percent of respondents saying that want the ability to easily add third party applications. Better compatibility with Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server and a larger touchscreen were the second and third most requested features.



Overall, those responding to the survey were routinely satisfied the iPhone's music functions, touchscreen interface, general usability, performance, and email application. Battery life and wireless speed were not surprisingly the least satisfying aspects of the handset, with the Safari web browsing interface a somewhat distant third least satisfying.







In fact, the study found that the ability to check and read email -- not surf the web -- is the most frequently used non-voice function on the iPhone, which about 72 percent of users surveyed do on their iPhone at least once a day. Still, 55 percent said they strongly agree that the handset has increased their mobile browsing, despite about 40 percent reporting that the mobile version of Safari has trouble displaying some websites they visit, most notably those using Adobe Flash.







"Apple and Adobe are feuding in public over whether and how Flash can be made available on the iPhone. The dispute punishes users and is damaging to both companies," Rubicon analysts wrote in the summary of their survey findings. "Apple needs to continue improving the iPhone browser, and that means settling its dispute with Adobe."







The study also examined whether the iPhone actually causes people to pay more for mobile data, or if the device is just switching heavy users of mobile data to a new device. Respondents to the survey confirmed the former, reporting that their average monthly mobile phone bill was $78 per month before the iPhone purchase, and $97 per month after the iPhone -- an average increase of 24 percent, or $228 per year.







Based on those findings, Rubicon estimates that AT&T is generating about $2 billion in incremental yearly service revenues from the first three million iPhones sold in the US, with that figure set to increase as more iPhones are purchased and activated. A good chunk of that revenue -- or $1.64 billion -- is presumed to come from the 1.41 million (or 47 percent of iPhone owners) who say they switched to AT&T from another carrier in order to use the Apple handset.







In purchasing an iPhone, about 50 percent of users surveyed said they replaced a conventional mobile phone. Another 40 percent said they replaced a smart phone, with the remaining 10 percent saying they replaced nothing -- suggesting either that the iPhone is their first phone, or that they carry it in addition to a second phone.







Almost 24 percent of respondents said their iPhone replaced a Motorola Razr, while 13.9 percent said it replaced a Windows Mobile device, 13 percent a Blackberry device, 6.7 percent a Palm device, 4.1 percent a Sidekick device, and 3.9 percent a Symbian device.







Rubicon also noted anecdotal reports which appear to indicate that some 33 percent of iPhone users also carry a second mobile phone for traditional voice calling, or for other functions the iPhone doesn't perform well. Among those toting another mobile phone, the Blackberry was the most popular, carried by almost one iPhone user in ten.







The study also found that 75 percent of iPhone owners were existing Apple customers, most make more than average salaries, and half of are under age 30. It also showed that students are particularly heavy iPhone users, most consider themselves technologically sophisticated, and that approximately 60 percent feel their iPhone serves to displace some notebook functions.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    I really have to question, if not the results, then the sample.

    I work in IT for a software firm, and know dozens of early adopter iPhone owners, and don't know one who's jailbroken their phone to add software. All are anxious for June, but none are hacking their phones to add apps.

    Very dubious survey.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    I took this survey. My family has 3 iphones, and mine is the only one jailbroken (to be able to use it on our frequent trips to France without paying the bomb!)
  • Reply 3 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I wonder too--maybe the wording of the Qs was poor, and non-techie people using plain old web apps thought they should answer "yes"?
  • Reply 4 of 40
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    It would be great if the rest of world was included. My iPhone is hack since 1.1.2 (8 gig) and now my 16 gig is also hacked. I agree that for the most part there are some okay apps and some real dogs. Many of the apps out there need to mature and not be installable simply for the sake of filling up the phone.



    I am like many of the other uses that carries another phone to fill the gaps that the iPhone simply can not match. My Nokia N82 smokes the iPhone in terms of functionality, VoIP (Fring, or Gizmo), camera, the ability to send an SMS to more than one person, oh and 7.2 mb/s via HSDPA. I wonder how much money Apple has made on overseas unlocked iPhones.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    banalltvbanalltv Posts: 238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The study also examined whether the iPhone actually causes people to pay more for mobile data ... Respondents to the survey confirmed ... that their average monthly mobile phone bill was $78 per month before the iPhone purchase, and $97 per month after the iPhone -- an average increase of 24 percent, or $228 per year.



    Totally justifying Apple taking a tribute - I mean a slice - of the calls and data.



    How much of the increase in expenditure is down to Apple's slice? Did people's calls and data use also rise by 24%?
  • Reply 6 of 40
    What? More people over 70 then under 18 own an iPhone? I think that is news in it of itself.



    And who the hell puts extremely dissatisfied for just about anything besides battery and data speed?
  • Reply 7 of 40
    johnnykrzjohnnykrz Posts: 152member
    I had a BlackJack with AT&T before my iPhone and I pay about $20 a month less for the iPhone. So it is actually a better deal for a smartphone than AT&T's normal.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    johnnykrzjohnnykrz Posts: 152member
    Also, why would you carry both a BlackBerry and an iPhone? Are there really that many people who need the functionality of both? I could only assume the BlackBerry is work related and the iPhone is personal. But maybe not for much longer....
  • Reply 9 of 40
    WTH, this isn't a friggen notebook people!!! What cell phone has the ease interface and the functionality of Safari? Let me know please, I'll be standing in line to buy it!
  • Reply 10 of 40
    zagmaczagmac Posts: 72member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    I really have to question, if not the results, then the sample.

    I work in IT for a software firm, and know dozens of early adopter iPhone owners, and don't know one who's jailbroken their phone to add software. All are anxious for June, but none are hacking their phones to add apps.

    Very dubious survey.



    I'm confused by the wording choice. Does "unofficial" app being added mean user jailbroke? If yes, results are impossible, since more users have unofficial app than have broken. But I'm wondering if "unofficial" app simply refers to the web apps and widget creation that are offiically supported, just not coming from Apple? Seems a strange confluence of terminology in the discussion.



    But if it's the latter, than all makes sense and users answered acurately.



    As a Touch user who has zero interest in at&t, I'm most curious about how new apps will be priced for us. Didn't mind idea of $20 for last set of official apps. But I wonder if iPhone and Touch users will see same or different price structures for all the new 3rd party ones?
  • Reply 11 of 40
    mh71mh71 Posts: 44member
    I wonder how I would be counted.



    So, for Christmas 2006, my parents gave me a "coupon" for a smartphone. My Mom was actually in the Verizon store trying to buy one for both me and my Dad, but they wouldn't let her because she was not the primary account holder on either account. So, we get a "go buy it yourself" note under the tree.



    Three weeks later, the media frenzy of the century is unleashed. I end up doing nothing until mid-July.



    So I replaced a flip phone with the iPhone.

    I went from $40 to $60 on my bill.

    I went from Verizon to AT&T.



    Two out of three would have happened reguardless of whether the iPhone was introduced. In effect, my iPhone replaced a WinMo smartphone.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    btitusjrbtitusjr Posts: 53member
    I find it retarded that questioning 400 people gives you results for all iPhone owners. They only missed 3 million people that have a iphone.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    $80 to $100 per month for a mobile phone would be insane. I'm only paying $35/month with T-mo... the iPhone is now officially off my wish list.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    jmadlenajmadlena Posts: 43member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by btitusjr View Post


    I find it retarded that questioning 400 people gives you results for all iPhone owners. They only missed 3 million people that have a iphone.



    You do know that sampling is a very normal part of surveying, right? You can't possible interview everyone related to the topic, so you take a sample and extrapolate the likely results. And I believe they included their accuracy (e.g. +/- 3%) in the report.



    Though I do agree they should have taken a wider sample. Too many things can play a part in skewing the numbers.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    jmadlenajmadlena Posts: 43member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    $80 to $100 per month for a mobile phone would be insane. I'm only paying $35/month with T-mo... the iPhone is now officially off my wish list.



    I'm curious, did you not know the cost of the plans before now? It's not like this is new information...
  • Reply 16 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post


    Also, why would you carry both a BlackBerry and an iPhone? Are there really that many people who need the functionality of both? I could only assume the BlackBerry is work related and the iPhone is personal. But maybe not for much longer....



    The very first iPhone I saw in the wild (the week it was released) was with a real estate agent. His boss bought him one to impress his clients. He also carried a BlackBerry which he used while I played with the iPhone. The BlackBerry was a "real phone" (his words). The big issue was the keyboard.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    drjjonesdrjjones Posts: 162member
    macworld is now advertising a 16 gig iphone with video and voice capture and play back for $649

    has gsm , edge, bluetooth , same size and shape . Obviously Hon Hal shipped today.



    no foolin

    go look

    3rd generation iphone but no 3g

    one was cyberworld at $679
  • Reply 18 of 40
    pomopomo Posts: 51member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    $80 to $100 per month for a mobile phone would be insane. I'm only paying $35/month with T-mo... the iPhone is now officially off my wish list.



    I only pay $30.00/month on at&t... well I'm on a family plan, but nonetheless its still 30 bucks/month.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ZagMac View Post


    I'm confused by the wording choice. Does "unofficial" app being added mean user jailbroke? If yes, results are impossible, since more users have unofficial app than have broken. But I'm wondering if "unofficial" app simply refers to the web apps and widget creation that are offiically supported, just not coming from Apple? Seems a strange confluence of terminology in the discussion.



    But if it's the latter, than all makes sense and users answered acurately.



    As a Touch user who has zero interest in at&t, I'm most curious about how new apps will be priced for us. Didn't mind idea of $20 for last set of official apps. But I wonder if iPhone and Touch users will see same or different price structures for all the new 3rd party ones?



    'jailbreaking' refers to a variety of ways to in install 'unauthorized' software onto your phone. Cat & mouse game where programmers find a security hole, Apple fixes hole, rinse and repeat.

    IMHO, somewhat akin to having unprotected sex with a Tenderloin prostitute. Knock yourselves out if that's how you get your kicks. I'll wait patiently for the SDK apps, thank you.



    'unlocking' refers to ways of getting your iPhone to work with carriers other than the nationally approved one that works in contract with Apple.



    The confusion happens because frequently, jailbroken software is necessary to facilitate unlocking. (Someone feel free to correct me if I've not gotten it straight after a year of this stuff.)



    The $20 charge for touch upgrades vs 'free' for the iPhone is simply accounting voodoo. Neither is free. iPhone users pay the charge via their subscription fees, touch users, ala carte.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    $80 to $100 per month for a mobile phone would be insane. I'm only paying $35/month with T-mo... the iPhone is now officially off my wish list.



    This isn't new information. As much as you complain I doubt it was ever on your list.



    I don't know your situation. But I know someone who had a T-Mobile plan from five years ago. Had 1200 anytime minutes unlimited nights and weekends and payed about $40 a month. The catch was that if she changed anything about her plan she would loose that one and have to sign a new 2 year contract.
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