iPhone as popular as Nokia in US, survey shows

Despite being four months away from release, Apple's iPhone is already among the four biggest brands in the high-end cell phone market, according to a new US consumer survey sponsored by Goldman Sachs.

Potential mobile phone buyers ranked Apple almost equal with Nokia, even though they gave their opinions before Apple had even formally announced the iPhone. Nokia is the world's largest mobile phone maker.

So powerful is the Apple brand that to date, the company has only screened a single iPhone advert, which gave almost no information and did not even name the product.

That ad, however, did run during the widely-viewed Oscar awards ceremony, and was preceded by a firestorm of media attention – after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs announced his company's long-expected entry into the mobile phone market.

The iPhone's three Oscar-night ad spots cost about $1.7 million each, according to press reports. Lacking the hype that surrounds Apple, rival Nokia has to work considerably harder to maintain a similar hold on consumer attention. The company spends $6m every day on sales and marketing of its mobile phones (It's unclear how much of that is spent in the US, which provides 8 per cent of Nokia's sales).

Apple is on target to claim a significant chunk of the high-end handset market, which provides 40 per cent of all mobile phone profits worldwide, according to analysts from Goldman Sachs and branding research consultancy,Wolff Olins.

“The strength of Apple’s brand in particular makes it a dangerous rival,” the analysts write in a new report based on the results of a consumer survey.

Consumer survey

Researchers asked US consumers: “If you were to choose a multimedia phone from the following manufacturers, each with exactly the same features, which brand would you choose?”

Thirty percent picked Motorola, the US's leading cell phone brand, 15 percent favored Nokia, while Apple and LG were the favorites of approximately 13 percent. The survey also found that almost half of US cell phone owners plan to buy a new phone within a year.

The iPhone brand appears to be strongest in the US. When asked the same question, more than 40 percent of UK consumers went for Nokia, while only five percent chose Apple's product.

“We believe Apple’s biggest challenge will be its aggressive effort to break the stronghold of the US operators on distribution and ownership of consumer services,” say the survey's authors.

“In direct contrast to Blackberry and other vendors, Apple’s deal with Cingular allows it to distribute the product in its own stores, and will predominantly drive traffic towards Apple rather than Cingular’s online content and services, in our view.”

If Apple succeeds in breaking US mobile carriers' grip over mobile phone sales, it is likely to reap very high profit margins, they believe.

Perhaps indicating the importance of this battle, the company's Oscar-night ads are a first for Apple – the company has never before advertised a product which was not ready to hit retail shelves.

Update June 18: 19 million in the US are highly interested in buying an iPhone, according to research firm M:Metrics. This is almost double the projected number of shipments during the next 18 months. Apple has announced a release date of June 29 for the phone.

iPhone costs >$500

When they find out what the iPhone costs, maybe they're change their minds
iPhone costs >$500

The iPhone's cost

$500? Bet you it'll go for <$200 with a contract by year end.

The Steve Jobs Hype Halo (TM)

The guy just hops on stage.
Waves the phone around.
Grins like a crackhead.
Pops his eyebrows up and down.
Tells you almost nothing.



Steve Jobs is the God of Salesmen

I don't think I'll buy the snake oil he's selling, but I'm really enjoying the show!

Give it time

Hey Anonymous- When the iPod came out everyone said that was way too expensive. But over time Apple was able to lower the cost of the iPod and they will do the same thing with iPhone. You can cry about the $500 price tag now, but when you can get an iPhone for 300 in a couple years, you will see the 'long term' effects of Apple's strategy.

As for Anonymous #2- Did you even watch the keynote!? Steve Jobs went into pretty good detail about the iPhones interface and functionality. He did a great job, as always, presenting the new products Apple is bringing to the market. Why would you say something like that? You people come off as ignorant asses.

Have fun with your Treo, Anonymous!

iPhone fact and fiction

You think Steve Jobs went into detail about the iPhone, but what he said was really a list of shiny bullet points. He didn't answer the serious questions people still have about the iPhone.

Well, this an interesting

Well, this an interesting communication "technique". Not talking to people about product problems has real bad public consequences. He Steve should have known this by now.

Nokia has never been popular

Nokia has never been popular in the US market, especially in the High-level market, moto and blackberry have been dominating the scene. iPhone > N95 all the way :)