If you see someone whipping out an iPhone at the next table or across the room at your next social gathering, chances are you’re looking at a member of the modern leisure class. When the iPhone made its debut last summer, people camped out in front of Apple stores across the United States to be among the first to experience Apple’s groundbreaking communication device. When Apple updated the phone and released its next gen gadget in more than 20 countries last Friday, again Apple retail stores and cellular provider outlets around the world received hordes of customers clamoring for the new phone — and Apple sold a paper million of them in three days.
Five days into the launch, all models of the phone were sold out in 21 states in the US and people were still lined up, waiting upwards of three hours to buy a phone in markets where they were still available. Steve Jobs called public reception of the new iPhone “stunning.”
Who are these people? A technology analyst for Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster put out a report this week estimating numbers and interests of the early adopters of iPhone 3G based on a survey done with 280 people waiting in line to buy the phone in New York. Earlier this year, another trends analyst, M Metrics published a report saying iPhone users tend to do more entertaining things on their devices such as watch video and visit social networks than those who own other smartphones. AdMob similarly confirmed that, at the time, iPhone users were still a relatively small part of the overall mobile phone market in the US, though, according to Munster’s research the percentage of iPhone users is growing.
A look at what’s popular on Apple’s iTunes AppStore sheds more light on the pursuits of iPhone users: every single one of the top ten free and paid applications downloaded from the AppStore in its first week in business — more than 10 million, according to Apple — is a game or entertainment/social networking application. That is, except for the free Weather Bug coming in at #8, which, I’ll surmise people may be looking to for confirmation of their plan to spend the day at the beach or somewhere equally leisurely.
Apple has big plans to storm the beachead of Microsoft’s hold on the Enterprise market and sure enough, the Mac moved past Acer into 3rd place among PC makers in the US market during the 2nd quarter of this year. But Apple’s share of the desktop market remains below 10% and the iPhone’s initial integration efforts with Exchange have run into significant headwinds at the Enterprise level.
For now, it seems pretty obvious the iPhone is a darling of those with time to spare.