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Study gives insight into iPhone users

In recent online survey, a quarter of respondents say the Apple device is displacing a notebook computer.

Rubicon Consulting

About half of them are under 30 years old, 15 percent of them are students, and they now have bigger mobile phone bills. Who are they?

iPhone users, according to a recent online survey conducted by research firm Rubicon Consulting. Rubicon conducted the survey of 460 iPhone users in the U.S. last month (PDF). (The margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.)

What's the most popular data function on the so-called "Jesus phone"? Reading e-mail. Respondents also said that their monthly mobile phone bill had increased by an average of 24 percent, or $228 a year.

Also among the findings, writes Rubicon:

• The iPhone is expanding the smartphone market. About 50 percent of iPhones replaced conventional mobile phones, 40 percent replaced smartphones, and 10 percent replaced nothing. Among conventional phones, Motorola Razr was the phone most often replaced. Among smartphones, Windows Mobile and RIM Blackberry were most often replaced.

• A third of iPhone users carry a second phone. There have been anecdotal reports of iPhone users carrying a second mobile phone, either for basic voice calling, or for other functions like composing e-mail. The survey confirmed those reports.

Rubicon Consulting

• A quarter of iPhone users say it's displacing a notebook computer. 28 percent of iPhone users surveyed said strongly that they often carry their iPhone instead of a notebook computer.

On that last point, Rubicon said it wonders whether third-party software will make the device "an even more attractive notebook replacement."

About 43 percent "strongly supported" Apple making at least one major change to the device, whether it is changing its size or adding a keyboard, for example. Rubicon said that there must be people out there who haven't bought an iPhone yet because they'd like to see such changes. (Check out Larry Dignan's post over at CNET sister site ZDNet for some colorful bar and pie charts.)

Rubicon Consulting

Improved browsing is almost certainly on the way too, said Rubicon. About 40 percent said the iPhone "has trouble displaying some Web pages." Without good browsing, smartphone companies run the risk of being overlooked by mobile carriers and users alike, the firm said.

On a lighter note, I'd suggest there's one important feature that the iPhone is missing but, fingers crossed, will show up on the 3G version expected later this year: "when moved from hand to ear, makes Lightsaber sound effects." I'm sure George Lucas and Steve Jobs could work something out.