%@! The ETF, Most Apple Fans Break Contract For Newest iPhone

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Photo by hoshi7 - http://flic.kr/p/9CeAL7
Photo by hoshi7 - http://flic.kr/p/9CeAL7

Not even the threat of costly early-termination fees are enough to keep many consumers from jumping ship for the newest iPhone. Some 45 percent of cell phone owners have broken their carrier’s contract in order to grab Apple’s iconic smartphone, according to a new survey showing just how loyal many people are to the Apple brand.

According to Consumer Research Partners, 45 percent of people surveyed broke a contract with their current or former wireless carrier in order to pocket the iPhone 4S. More than 70 percent of that group paid more than $100 early-termination fees on top of the $199 to $399 price of the handset.

The findings also show the majority (71%) of iPhone rule breakers are upgrading from an earlier model — just 18 percent were switching from an Android or other smartphone. This only reinforces the belief that Apple revenue is all about the upgrade, rather than Android owners suddenly falling for the sleek and sexy iPhone.

About a third of the survey respondents said they left a carrier to buy the 4S. AT&T seems to be the largest benefactor, registering 49 percent of the iPhone purchases, versus 34 percent for Verizon Wireless and 17 percent for Sprint.

Coming from a mixed marriage (my wife has the iPhone, I own a relic from the past), I can understand the strong urge to break the bonds holding you into the feature phone wasteland. The result of just 18 percent of switchers coming outside the iPhone ecosphere is a bit surprising, but the price has to be a large reason why people buy an Android handset. If price is upper-most in your mind, you likely are more willing to stay put, but the pain must be nearly unbearable.

How about you? Did you break your contract to get the iPhone 4S?