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‘Unprecedented’ demand for iPhone 5 prior to launch

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If you read tech news as much as we do (or are a fan of Android), then you are probably nauseated by the merciless bombardment of iPhone 5 rumors that land daily, sometimes hourly. But the constant speculation about Apple’s next-generation handset doesn’t appear to have affected enthusiasm for the mythical device — in fact, new evidence shows that the extra-long wait this year has helped push demand to unseen heights.

According to a recent survey, conducted last month by RBC Capital and the ChangeWave Research Alliance, the iPhone 5 could be the most popular iPhone model to date. Of the 2,200 consumers who filled out the survey, a total of 31 percent said that they are either “very likely” (13 percent) or “somewhat likely” (18 percent) to purchase the iPhone 5. That compares to 25 percent who last year said in the same survey that they “likely” planned to purchase the iPhone 4. ChangeWave says the demand for iPhone 5 is “unprecedented” in this type of survey.

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The high number of consumers who plan to purchase the iPhone 5 is likely due to the fact that it’s been 15 months since Apple released its last handset — that’s centuries in the smartphone market, when other manufacturers are pumping out devices at a near-constant clip.

Another factor is that people who own previous iterations of the iPhone are among the most likely to purchase the iPhone 5, with 66 percent saying they plan to do so — this, despite the fact that nobody knows for sure what Apple plans to release. In other words: Apple customers trust Apple to keep making great products, and the iPhone 5 will be great, they’re sure of it.

The study also found that of Sprint and T-Mobile customers who took the survey, more than half said they would purchase the iPhone 5, if it were to become available on their network. Luckily for Sprint customers, that’s looking increasingly likely. T-Mobile — well, not so much

For those of you who aren’t sure whether you want an iPhone 5 or not, here’s what we expect Apple to release, probably sometime in the first half of October: faster A5 processor (same as in the iPad 2), possibly dual-core; 8-megapixel camera and high-definition video recording capabilities; 3.7-inch, edge-to-edge screen; and a “teardrop” design that’s thinner than iPhone 4.

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