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iPhone 5S, 5C lure fewer upgrades from prior model, report says

Only 6 percent of iPhone 5 owners have made the jump to the 5S or 5C, says research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C lineup.
Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C lineup.

The new iPhones have apparently convinced only a small percentage of iPhone 5 owners to upgrade.

Polling 400 US phone customers that activated an iPhone between September 20 and October 20, research firm CIRP found that only 6 percent of iPhone 5 owners jumped to an 5S or 5C. In contrast, 12 percent of iPhone 4S owners had upgraded to the iPhone 5 over the same period last year.

Further, among the two-thirds of those polled who upgraded from any iPhone to the 5S or 5C in September and October, fewer jumped ship from the iPhone 5 relative to the number of all iPhone owners who moved from the 4S to the 5 last year.

But the data collected by CIRP also indicated that a larger number of iPhone 5S and 5C buyers came from Apple's platform rather than from Android smartphones or feature phones.

"Ideally, Apple attracts a significant percent of its customers from Android and other systems," CIRP partner and co-founder Mike Levin said in a statement. "At the most recent launch, though, Apple saw an increase in the share of customers that already had an iPhone. Perhaps because of the declining base of non-smartphone owners, a smaller percentage of iPhone buyers upgraded from a basic or flip phone, compared to the year-ago launch."

Do the results signal a spiraling interest in the iPhone? Or do they mean that a fair number of people have passed on the 5S or 5C in anticipation of the iPhone 6?

Apple releases a major new iPhone once every two years, with a minor S upgrade in between. It seems reasonable to assume that the minor upgrades attract fewer people than do the major ones. A certain number of iPhone 5 and Android owners could simply be holding out for the next-generation iPhone.

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