Apple iPhone Owners Favor Personal Uses, Not Business
Do you treat your iPhone as a guilty pleasure? You’re not alone.
A new report from Compete surveying the behavior of 600 smartphone users found that 73 percent of iPhone owners used their mobile devices primarily for personal reasons, like entertainment. By comparison, 59 percent of owners with other types of smartphones — from manufacturers like HTC, Research in Motion and Nokia — primarily used their devices for business and work-related needs.
As I discovered after recently moving to New York, the iPhone can double as a digital Sherpa to help navigate unknown terrain with the ease of a local.
According to the results of Compete’s survey, I’m not the only one relying on the iPhone’s broad selection of location-based applications and services for my day-to-day activities. The firm found that getting local forecasts, turn-by-turn directions and nearby restaurant recommendations were the most popular location-aware iPhone applications.
“Traditionally, you had a smartphone because you needed to do mobile e-mail,” said Danielle Nohe, a research director at Compete. “But now people using it for personal productivity. There’s a broader range of people who have reasons to use a smartphone.”
For example, some iPhone owners might opt to use their handsets instead of an in-car navigation system. Some might even use their iPhones instead of a netbook, a point Timothy Cook, the chief operating office of Apple, made during the company’s second-quarter earnings call last week.
In general, Ms. Nohe said iPhone owners are more likely to plunk down the digital change to buy more applications — and they have some 25,000 applications to choose from, thanks to the wildfire popularity of the App Store among developers.
The mobile platform market is rapidly changing as other companies like Google, Research in Motion, Microsoft and Nokia start stores to sell third-party mobile applications. But Ms. Nohe said they still had some catching up to do in terms of application popularity.
“The iPhone is still light years ahead of anything else,” she said.
When I sent an e-mail message to Ms. Nohe about why the iPhone would lend itself more to being a personal device or for pleasure rather than business she sent me this:
I think that the iPhone had enabled this behavior by the applications that developers have built to sit on top of the device. And this comes through in the marketing as well, especially the TV commercials. Applications featured in Apple commercials are not focused around capabilities of the device (i.e., speed, battery life, factory installed applications), like we have seen historically from OEMs and carriers, but rather on the applications built by 3rd party developers.
And, it’s these applications that make the device sticky for the consumer -– something they can’t get through the day without. In Q1, we asked iPhone owners to list the top 3 most used applications -– 39% say weather-related apps, 25% put Facebook, 7% list Shazam, and 5% cite LoseIt. Besides all being featured in Apple commercials, these are applications that lend themselves to providing pleasure in the personal, not business side of life.
Readers, weigh in. How do you use your smartphones, iPhones or otherwise?