The Verizon iPhone Explosion Is Still Coming

A poll (reported by AppleInsider) shows that Verizon iPhone users are waiting for the next iPhone. In fact, a lion’s share of Verizon users are holding out for it. This tells us that the awkward timing of the Verizon iPhone’s launch was the only thing that prevented the sales explosion that some had initially expected.

The poll, conducted by analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, found that 74% of Verizon customers who are thinking about purchasing an iPhone are holding out for the iPhone 5. This is significantly higher than the 53% of AT&T iPhoners who answered the same.

After years of waiting for Apple’s exclusivity with AT&T to end, some expected the Verizon iPhone to be one of the biggest Apple launches ever. But in its first full quarter of carrying the iPhone, Verizon activated fewer of the smartphones than AT&T did (2.3 million to AT&T’s 3.6 million). While it certainly didn’t sell poorly, it wasn’t exactly the lines-for-blocks, immediate sell-out that some had envisioned.

It turns out that Verizon’s customers are smarter than some gave them credit for being. The Verizon iPhone launched in February. This was a full 8 months after the AT&T version of the (essentially) identical iPhone 4 did. While the iPhone 4 is still one of the highest-quality phones on the market over a year into its life, customers have watched Apple long enough to know that something much better is always waiting around the corner.

Had Apple not strayed from their historical release cycle for iPhones, we would have had the iPhone 5 in our hands for well over a month now. Verizon customers were expecting that. Why buy last year’s model in February when you may have the latest and greatest in a few months?

It turns out that it didn’t come in June as they had probably anticipated. Now it looks like the next iPhone has been delayed until either September or October. Apparently that still hasn’t been enough to make most Verizon users bite the bullet on a year-old phone. They want the iPhone 5, and they are saving their upgrades for it – even if it means waiting a few months.

Let’s hope Apple Stores are prepared. As crazy as iPhone launches have been in years past, this will be the first time that it will launch for two carriers simultaneously. When you add to that the throng of Verizon customers who have been biding their time for the fifth generation handset, this year’s launch could entail retail insanity beyond anything we’ve seen.