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'Mapsgate' fails to dislocate iPhone 5 demand

Widely reported geo-glitches 'not a problem', say buyers

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Were you steered away from the iPhone 5 by Apple’s ‘Mapsgate’ controversy? Were you tied by the introduction of a new, incompatible Lightning cables? If so, you're not like most potential buyers of Apple's latest phone, it seems. New research suggests these issues have had little or no impact on demand for the iPhone 5.

In September, ChangeWave Research, a US pollster, asked almost 4300 consumers in North America and beyond - most, however, were Americans - about what phones they plan to obtain, if at all, during the following six months.

Almost a third - 32 per cent - said they were very or somewhat likely to opt for the Apple device, either for themselves or for a family member. If it’s good enough for a close relative, it’s safe to assume it’s good enough for the buyer too.

Looking back a year to October 2011, the month of the iPhone 4S launch, and ChangeWave’s numbers show only 12.5 per cent of respondents were as keen on the latest Apple handset in the month of its release.

Of course, even the latest numbers show that 60 per cent of responses were not after an Apple. Of those who said they were unlikely to avail themselves of an iPhone 5, not one of them blamed the cost of buying Lightning adaptors for old add-ons. Likewise, no one laid the blame on the much-reported Maps glitches.

The researcher asked iPhone 5 owners - and folk with other handsets since upgraded to iOS 6, of which the new Maps app is a part - about these issues, and almost all of them - 91 per cent - said Maps had caused them little or no bother.

Only three per cent of respondents said Maps’ issues were a big deal for them. Add in those who thought it was a problem, just not a massive one, and you see a much lower level of dissatisfaction with Maps than was the case with the ‘Antennagate’ reception woes surrounding the iPhone 4 back in July 2010, ChangeWave noted.

You can argue that making calls is a more oft-used feature of a handset, even a data-centric smartphone, so failures there will register more highly with users. But the numbers still suggest iPhone users aren’t being as troubled by Maps’ failings as the headlines would have us believe.

Or that there's a lot of fingers in ears and 'la-la-la can't here you' on owners' lips.

The biggest reason for not buying an iPhone 5 then? No, it’s not the brand, or perceived hardware and software problems, but simply that folks’ current handsets are doing a good enough job. ChangeWave didn’t say so, but still being tied into a contract is likely to be a strong factor too, whatever brand of handset an individual happens to favour. But maybe the iPhone 5 simply hasn't excited would-be either. ®

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