Advance demand for Apple's next iPhone is at an all-time high, said a research firm today, predicting huge sales later this year for what most have dubbed the "iPhone 5."
A survey of more than 4,000 North American consumers by ChangeWave Research showed a record enthusiasm for Apple's next-generation smartphone, with nearly a third saying they were likely to buy one.
"Advance demand for the 'iPhone 5' is strikingly higher than we've seen for any previous iPhone model," said Paul Carton, ChangeWave's vice president of research, in an abbreviated report sent via email.
Of the people polled, 14% said they were "very likely" to buy a new iPhone for themselves or a family member, while 17% asserted that they were "somewhat likely" to do so.
ChangeWave described the next iPhone in broad terms, incorporating the speculation that's centered on a slightly-larger screen and a connection to the faster LTE mobile data networks, as well as the near-certainty that it will be powered by iOS 6, the next version of Apple's operating system.
The 31% total of those who said they were likely to buy the iPhone 5 was 44% higher than the 21.5% who answered the same way in a survey ChangeWave conducted last year just before the launch of the iPhone 4S.
"The biggest finding of the survey is the unprecedented level of advance demand for the next generation Apple iPhone, which based on these survey numbers easily dwarfs the advance demand of any previous iPhone launch," said Carton.
Apple does not disclose individual iPhone model sales, but in the two quarters reported since the Oct. 4, 2011, launch of the iPhone 4S, the company has sold 72.1 million iPhones, its best-ever six-month stretch.
Apple will reveal its second-quarter sales figures tomorrow at 2 p.m. PT during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts.
The survey results meshed with financial analysts' expectations for the iPhone 5, or whatever Apple calls the next model. Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, for instance, has forecast iPhone calls in 2012's final quarter -- the one during the putative launch of the smartphone -- at 44.7 million units, or 21% more than the previous best of 12 months earlier.
ChangeWave also asked consumers their thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, which went on sale last month.
Of the people polled, 2% said they were very likely to buy a Galaxy S III "in the future," with another 7% acknowledging that they were somewhat likely to do so.
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