iPhone Users: All Play and No Work?

In the past, smartphones were synonymous with business – road warriors with Blackberries. But times are changing. Manufacturers are promoting their devices as tools for overall life management and fun as well as professional tools, like Research in Motion’s "Life on Blackberry" campaign. The iPhone has always been marketed as a multi-function consumer device, but do people really use it more for personal or business applications?

That was one of the questions that we set out to answer with the second wave of our Smartphone Intelligence product, released yesterday. The results of the survey show, once again, that the iPhone is used differently than other Smartphones, even as more similar devices go on the market.

In Q1 we surveyed over 800 smartphone owners, 102 of whom had an iPhone, and asked them questions about how they used their devices day-to-day. We found that iPhone owners are using their devices primarily for personal use, as shown in the chart below.

  • 45% of these iPhone owners said a whopping 76-100% of their time on the device was for personal use
  • Almost three quarters (73%) said that more than 50% of their iPhone time was for personal use

So iPhone owners are using the device to help them in their personal life. To learn more about what people are actually using their iPhones for, we asked them about what applications they added to their device once they took it out of the box.

According to Gizmodo, Apple announced this week that a whopping 1 billion applications have been downloaded. With Smartphone Intelligence data, we can break that down a bit and see what categories of applications iPhone owners have downloaded:

When we asked iPhone owners which 3 applications they actually USE most often, the answers were a bit different. The top 3 applications named in iPhone owners "top 3" were weather-related applications (39 percent); Facebook (25 percent) and Games (20 percent). Specific applications that iPhone owners highlighted were Shazam (7 percent), a music recognition application, and Lose It (5 percent), a calorie counting application. Both applications were featured in iPhone commercials during the time this survey was fielded, indicating the influence of media on consumers’ purchase and usage behavior.

When it comes to the iPhone, marketing and applications are some of the factors in how and why owners use it, and why so much of their time on the device is for personal use.

Apple’s iPhone has changed the game, and in 2009, it looks like more manufacturers will be stepping up to play.