Bad decisions: Judging the iPhone sight unseen


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Siri, what is the dumbest kind of poll?

Siri responds that the dumbest kind of poll is one about buying intentions for a device that hasn’t been revealed yet. Also, there are several near you. Would you like directions to the one on De Anza Boulevard?

The day before Apple’s iPhone reveal this week, USA Today sagely told us “Consumers in no rush to upgrade to latest Apple iPhone, poll finds.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nick.)

Consumers are also taking a wait-and-see approach to jet packs, teleportation devices and hard-to-discern shapes on the horizon. Is it a deadly pirate ship or a kissing booth manned by Idris Elba? We just don’t know.

USA Today and SurveyMonkey asked an unidentified number of respondents if they were planning on upgrading their iPhones.

The answer, before Apple CEO Tim Cook even takes the stage to sell them to the world Wednesday, is they're in no rush.

It’s not “before he even takes the stage,” it’s “obviously before he takes the stage” or “admittedly before he takes the stage”. People can’t assess what they don’t know. Or, well, they can try, but they can’t do it well.

The Macalope wonders what the results would be if you polled them after the event. But, then, where’s the fun in asking people to make decisions based on actual information instead asking them to make wild guesses?

In an exclusive SurveyMonkey Audience poll for USA TODAY, only 13 percent of respondents said they plan to upgrade within the next three months, with only 22 percent indicating they'd do so in the next year.

This isn’t just about the iPhone despite the headline. Because if 13 percent of consumers ran out and bought new iPhones in the next three months, Apple would have a blowout quarter. Particularly at these prices. Yow.

"There is interest in learning about the new iPhone, but consumers ... aren’t necessarily planning on purchasing it," said Sarah Cho, director of research for SurveyMonkey…

Well, duh.

“Hey, do you want this thing you don’t know anything about?”

“Sir, this is the drive-through at Wendy’s.”

At the same time critics think it’s bad news for Apple that no one wants an iPhone they haven’t seen yet, someone is writing a piece about the mindless Apple fans who’ll buy anything the company ships.

People have been publishing these “nobody wants this thing Apple hasn’t announced yet” surveys for years. Weirdly, Apple somehow manages to stay in business.

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