Blaming it on Apple, 57% of consumers will never buy an iPhone 4

A new study shows that consumers have an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” debacle, likely moreover because of Apple’s bewildering apathetic response to the problem than the actual problem itself.

UK-based research group Opinium questioned consumers about how they felt about the iPhone 4 in light of the weeks-long media disaster over the fact that calls could be dropped so easily on the device. A whopping 57% said that they now have “no intention” of buying an iPhone 4.

25% of the survey respondents said they were “less likely” to buy one. Of course, this doesn’t take into account how many of the 100% of survey takers ever had an interest in the phone in the first place.

That’s where a more interesting statistic comes in: of those who owned an iPhone 3GS, 45% said that the whole ordeal has led them to shy away from the iPhone brand and go somewhere else for their next handset. That’s nearly half of the existing user base of the previous iPhone model.

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, said that the issue was exacerbated by the media and the way in which Apple failed to show any concern for its millions of loyal customers. “Our research shows that by not dealing with a such a major issue well through the media, that brands, no matter how big, can have their profile dented in the public’s eye,” said Endersby.

In the wake of the first “Death Grip” reports, Apple gave everyone a cold shoulder, accusing consumers of doing something wrong and taking an iron fist approach to not offer any remedies to dissatisfied customers. Apple CEO Steve Jobs later – weeks later – changed his mind, but by then the damage had already been done.