Summary:

Has iPhone hype gone into the stratosphere or is this just a ploy to get a company’s name into the press? A new survey claims to have found…

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photo: Wingsofahero, Flicker

Has iPhone hype gone into the stratosphere or is this just a ploy to get a company’s name into the press? A new survey claims to have found that 39 percent of UK mobile phone owners, and 41 percent of U.S. mobile phone owners, plan to buy the newest iPhone after it gets released. Meanwhile, another new bit of research out today indicates a slowdown in iPhone app purchases, which it is linking to users holding fire until the new device comes out.

The survey, conducted by the mobile advertising company InMobi and covering 1,086 users across an “even demographic split”, notes that not only will 39 percent be flocking to the new device, the so-called “iPhone 5″ (Apple’s official name has yet to be revealed), but that some 48 percent of those consumers will be buying it within the first six months of launch. InMobi’s figures for the U.S. are even higher: 41 percent of U.S. consumers, with more than 50 percent of them in the first six months.

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is widely expected to reveal at least one new phone at an event scheduled for October 4, and it is believed that the devices will go on sale later in the month.

If consumers put their money where their mouths are, these numbers could go a long way to bumping up Apple’s overall market share in the UK and the U.S.. According to figures from Kantar Worldpanel, in Q2 Apple had an 18.3 percent share of the UK smartphone market; another research group, comScore (NSDQ: SCOR), puts it around 20 percent. If people follow through with their purchasing intent, InMobi says this share would go up to 40 percent. In the U.S., the market share would grow to 41 percent.

But if Apple only issues a product update — a 4S version, so to speak — most of these would-be buyers will not materialize. It found that less than 12 percent of UK consumers would purchase the new handset in that case.

Drilling down to the purchasing intent of current smartphone owners, it looks like Apple will be drawing a lot of users away from other brands: 45 percent of current BlackBerry users say they will purchase a next-generation iPhone (55 percent in the U.S.), with that figure halved for Android owners, at 24 percent (27 percent in the U.S.). In fact, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) seems to be suffering most of all in the survey: 18 percent of RIM owners in the UK, and an eyebrow-raising 28 percent in the U.S., said they want the new iPhone even if it is only just a “4S” update and not a completely new generation of the device.

Those using Apple iPad tablets (but not necessarily iPhones) will also be a big feeder: some 62 percent of iPad owners in the UK say they want the new device.

The waiting game. It’s often the case that the mobile phone market sees a slowdown in purchasing when a widely-anticipated device is expected to hit the market: consumers hold off as they wait for the new device to appear.

Now some researchers are even noting a drop in other kinds of mobile activity in the run-up to the expected new iPhone launch.

Data from the mobile marketing company Fiksu shows that in the month of August that organic app downloads — that is, from people visiting the App Store rather than getting the app via another app — were down by 30 percent compared to previous months. It believes that the reason may have been down to people holding off on more content on their current devices while waiting for the new device (and potentially apps optimized for it) to come online.

That may also go some way to explain why it is that Millennial Media also saw flat growth in iPhone ad impressions at the same time: less apps downloaded meant less views on app pages.

InMobi, one of the larger independent mobile advertising networks, earlier this month picked up a massive $200 million investment from Softbank.

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