Apple is likely counting on a lot of iPhone 3/3GS owners to jump to the iPhone 4S, but a fair number of iPhone 4 users may also be eyeing the new phone.
A new study from gadget review site Retrevo found that 44 percent of iPhone 3/3GS owners will buy the iPhone 4S. But trailing close behind, 42 percent of iPhone 4 owners also plan to upgrade to the new iPhone.
Those results apparently surprised Retrevo for two reasons.
A fair number of potential buyers were disappointed that Apple didn't unveil an iPhone 5 with a whole new look and feel. But many iPhone 4 users are also still midway through their two-year contracts and would have to pay the full non-subsidized price or find some other way to upgrade, But most 3 and 3GS owners have probably already seen their contracts expire.
Among rival smartphone owners, 12 percent of Android users plan to switch to the iPhone 4S. And only 24 percent of BlackBerry owners are interested in the new iPhone, a smaller number than in previous studies. However the survey was conducted before RIM's recent network outage, an event that may prompt more users to renounce their BlackBerries in favor of an Apple phone.
A new Apple product typically motivates faithful customers to camp outside their local Apple store anxiously awaiting their turn to buy the gadget. CNET is covering today's iPhone 4S launch on both coasts to see just how many people form a long line this time around.
Among those surveyed by Retrevo, only 18 percent said they plan to wait on a line to buy the iPhone 4S, while more than half (53 percent) feel no such urge as they don't think it will be hard to get the new iPhone.
Though many people may have been upset that the new iPhone doesn't sport a larger screen, thinner case, or other long-rumored features, most of those polled seem perfectly content with the iPhone 4S.
A full 71 percent of all smartphone owners and 53 percent of iPhone 4 owners said they were not disappointed with the specs of the new iPhone. Those who were less than happy cited the lack of 4G as their number one complaint. Others said they wished it had a new design and a larger screen.
"Although some expressed disappointment in the lack of 'iPhone 5' features it appears that interest is high and demand will be strong for iPhone 4S especially among current iPhone owners," Retrevo noted in its blog. "It also doesn't appear likely that you'll see many customers camping out in front of Apple stores around the country like we have for products in the past." However the editor qualified that last statement by saying he expects to see at least some anxious iPhone 4S buyers waiting in line at their local stores.