Apple iPhone owners as a group behave differently from other smartphone owners, Forrester Research is reporting in a new study.
While revealing in several ways, the findings most notably lead the research firm to conclude that "the mobile Internet is here to stay," and that the experiences of early iPhone users provide "the best road map for the future of mobile collaboration."
This may stem, in part, from the iPhone users' drive to use their devices, in some cases buying the devices for business use themselves.
The June 11 report pulled data from more than 32,000 working adults in the United States and was additionally informed by studies following enterprises that support the iPhone, including Kraft Foods and Oracle. The study's author, Ted Schadler, emphasizes that at the time of the surveys, the iPhone was available for only six months and for more than $500 - whereas today, AT&T is offering it for $99.
Couching his findings in this way, Schadler revealed that working iPhone owners were more than twice as likely to access the Internet from their phone as working BlackBerry, Palm or Windows Mobile device owners. Only 9 percent of mobile phone owners, and 38 percent of working smartphone owners, accessed the Internet from their phones at least weekly, but 78 percent of working iPhone owners were found to.
iPhone owners also e-mailed and texted more than other phone owners, with 80 percent of working iPhone owners texting weekly, versus 60 percent of working smartphone owners and 36 percent of working mobile phone owners.
Additionally, iPhone owners were twice as likely to go online in public - versus at home or in the office - than other mobile users, and more iPhone users were found to have home networks. They were also 50 percent more likely to read a blog weekly, a third more likely to maintain a social networking profile and 20 percent more likely to use instant messaging weekly.
As a demographic, these early iPhone adopters were dominated by Generation X - almost one in two smartphone owners were Gen Xers, Forrester reported - though people between 18 and 24 years old (Generation Y) were also more attracted to the iPhone than other smartphones.
The iPhone users were also younger than other smartphone users, more educated, more affluent - and paying higher mobile bills than other smartphone users. On average, iPhone users paid $87 a month for household mobile phone bills, versus $76 for smartphone households and $66 for mobile phone households.
Information and knowledge management (I&KM) professionals should note, Schadler pointed out, that more working iPhone owners accessed business networks from home, and fewer of them brought laptops home from the office. This suggests, Schadler wrote, that "staying connected to work resources would fit nicely into a smartphone's job description: Make employee portals and other content resources available through a VPN-connected browser."
Schadler stated that the "killer applications" for BlackBerry devices are e-mail, calendaring and tasks, and that these are important enough to warrant investing in them. BlackBerry has also been found to offer greater enterprise security than other devices.
"However, these are only people-to-people applications, and that's far from the endgame with mobile Internet devices," Schadler writes.
The mobile Internet, and its ability to connect enterprise users to mobile content and collaboration applications, provides businesses with important advantages. And while Schadler writes that the iPhone isn't the only important mobile Internet device for business users, he writes, "...we do believe that it's time for IT professionals in the enterprise to support the iPhone."