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Analyst’s data shows iPhone 5 could double Apple’s mobile market share

by Phil Hornshaw

We’re not sure if the iPhone 5 is coming out in September or October, but the data from at least one mobile industry analyst suggests that when it does, it’ll see some big sales.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks that the iPhone 5 could have a profound effect on Apple’s market share in its war against other mobile operating system providers like Google with its Android, Research In Motion with its BlackBerry or Microsoft with its Windows Phone 7. Based on a survey the firm conducted, Munster says the new iPhone could as much as double Apple’s cut of the market in the U.S., up to as much as 64 percent.

The information comes from a relatively small survey of 216 mobile phone customers, according to a story from Mashable, in which 64 percent said that the next mobile device they purchase will be an iPhone. If you can extrapolate that to the population of all smartphone buyers, that’s a whole lot of people buying from Apple, and about twice as many as currently own an iPhone.

The survey is rather small to be considered a really valid take on the mobile landscape of the country, but it does provide some interesting ideas. We know that the iPhone has a lot of interest in the market and other studies have shown the next version will carry many customers, perhaps more than Apple currently has. And Apple seems to be expecting a pretty great launch of the iPhone 5 as well, according to rumors that have trickled down from the devices’ overseas manufacturers.

Piper Jaffray’s survey found that of the 216 responders, 29 percent currently owned an iPhone; 28 percent had a BlackBerry and 17 percent owned an Android device of some kind. But when all were asked what phone they’d purchase next, the results were kind of staggering: 64 percent opted for Apple, while only 11 percent said BlackBerry and 17 percent said Android.

And as we’ve heard previously, Apple’s got a lot of brand loyalty. Here’s a quote from Mashable’s story:

Of the iPhone owners in the survey, 94% said they’d buy another iPhone; the rest would opt for Android phones. When it came to Android users, 42% said they’d switch to the iPhone. But the biggest group of defectors is BlackBerry owners: 67% of them plan to switch to an iPhone.

Part of that loyalty is probably the iPhone’s “stickiness” – the amount of content Apple sells to iPhone users encourages them to keep coming back in order to use it. Piper Jaffray also expects 55 percent of Verizon customers who don’t have an iPhone to snag one, with 75 percent of those people waiting on the iPhone 5. Meanwhile, 53 percent of AT&T customers are waiting for the iPhone 5 before purchasing.

It’s probably good not to take any of these numbers as gospel, since a few are a bit suspect. Take the number of Android users in the survey, for example: 17 percent is far under pace for what slice of the market Android currently occupies, while 29 percent for Apple is a little too high, as we understand it. Obviously this isn’t an accurate representation of the whole country.

But the numbers do pose some good questions, as well as suggesting that the iPhone 5 is at least on people’s minds. It might not be capable of driving Apple’s market share through the roof, as Munster predicts, but Piper Jaffray’s small study suggests there could be a definitive boost for Apple come fall.