iPhone buying interest continues to drop, says survey

Fewer people now expect to buy an iPhone in the next three months compared with those polled in February, says analyst Gene Munster, as iPhone 6 fever heats up.

Apple's iPhone 5S. CNET

The number of people looking to buy an iPhone over the next few months has dipped yet again, according to a new survey from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Polling 1,016 consumers in the US last week about their intended smartphone purchases over the next three months, Munster's team found that 34 percent expect to buy an iPhone. That number is down from 39 percent in February, 44 percent last December, and 50 percent just after the launch of the iPhone 5S last September.

The dip in percentage is par for the course this time of year, however. Interest in buying the current model iPhone typically wanes as buzz about an upcoming new generation pops up. This time around, iPhone buyers are likely holding off purchases in anticipation of a larger-screened model.

Recent reports say Apple will bump up the display size for the iPhone 6 to 4.7 or 4.8 inches from the current 4 inches. Though these reports are still mere rumors, it seems a safe bet Apple will increase the screen size of the iPhone as consumer demand rises for big-screen phones. Other reports suggest Apple will also launch a 5.5-inch iPhablet.

Munster said he expects the unveiling of the iPhone 6 will boost buying interest to 50 percent or even higher given the anticipated new form factor.

Apple is set to kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 2, where it will likely take the wraps off iOS 8, giving us a hint of what products to expect later in the year. The new version of iOS could offer improvements to Siri and Apple Maps, according to the analyst, as well as an Apple fitness app. Such an app could be a "significant sign pointing to an Apple watch" in the second half of 2014, Munster said.

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