Analyst firm Piper Jaffray did a survey of 258 Minneapolis cell phone owners about their purchasing decisions, and 20% of those who had heard of it said that the whole Death Grip / Antennaegate situation on the iPhone 4 affected which phone they ended up buying. That’s nice and all, but the real news is that there were three times as many respondents who said that Verizon availability was an influence. The breakdown of respondents worked out to 38% on Verizon and 31% on AT&T, while 40% had considered an iPhone, 8% owned one, and 29% had considered an Android smartphone, and 9% were already owners.
The rumours of a Verizon iPhone have been circling since the dawn of time, and numbers like this solidify why both Apple and Verizon would have a lot to gain from partnering up once the AT&T exclusivity was over with (though of course AT&T thinks that won’t hurt them at all). While the study was taken within a pretty small geographic area, where attitudes were shaped by particular local coverage, it’s been made abundantly clear that despite vigorous network upgrades, AT&T call quality still sucks. Another study even said that one in three AT&T customers owning an iPhone would switch to Verizon should an Apple option become available there.
Carriers aside, 20% is still a sizable chunk of folks who have heard of and weighed in anntennagate when buying their phone. After the dust had settled and Apple agreed to give out free cases, it was hard not to think that the whole thing was just a problem with a vocal minority, but regardless of the death grip’s actual scope, it’s clearly still something that folks worry about. If one were to take Apple’s explanation of the antenna problem (that the on-screen indicator was simply inaccurate) at face value, you could say the death grip was actually more about AT&T’s lack of coverage than the phone anyway.