The survey is by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab, which released only a bare-bones summary in a press release, which said that current iPhone owners in Europe and America were somewhat less likely to buy their "next phone" from Apple, compared to owners surveyed in 2011.
"The iPhone 5, which debuted in late September, launched with a larger screen (four inches), LTE-compatibility and various other improvements -- but apparently those updates aren't enough for some customers who see Apple's competition continue to rise up and offer comparable -- or even better -- smartphones," is how Galbraith interprets the data.
But that's not quite how Strategy Analytics interprets the data. First of all, the survey found that 75% of current iPhone owners are "likely" to buy a new iPhone in the future, down from 88% last year; in the U.S., 88% are likely to buy another iPhone, compared to 93% last year. Second, the survey doesn't mention iPhone 6: It seems more likely to be current iPhone 3G, and 4, and 4S users who are contemplating buying the iPhone 5. And without knowing the margin of error in the survey, it's hard to evaluate just how big this shift is, or what it means.
"There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers," commented Paul Brown, director at Strategy Analytics' User Experience Practice, as quoted in the release. "However, negative press prompted by a perceived lack of recent innovation by Apple has meant we are starting to see some growth in the number of previously highly loyal consumers who are now reconsidering whether or not they will purchase a new iPhone for their next device."
We think that's why companies have marketing budgets: to convince people to buy their product, or buy it again.
The press release doesn't even explain if "negative press" and "perceived lack of recent innovation" are the prime motivators for current owners willing to consider buying a different phone, and were part of the survey, or just represent Brown's considered opinion. And not knowing what the repeat purchase rates are for, say, the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone users, makes it difficult to evaluate whether Apple is in trouble or whether this fall-off is general among other smartphone owners also.
Somehow, a claim of "perceived lack of recent innovation by Apple" becomes "Apple's lack of innovation will turn iPhone 6 into a lousy product."