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Caustic criticism of Apple over antennagate and the Apple Maps debacle has shaken the famously dogged loyalty of iPhone fanboys for the first time ever, a seismic survey suggests.

In a study of iPhone owners across Western Europe by Strategy Analytics, 75 per cent said they are likely to shell out for another iPhone – that’s down a massive 13 per cent from last year.

US iPhone loyalists’ ardour is also somewhat dimmed. Of these, 88 per cent said they are likely to go with an iPhone again, representing a slide of five per cent year on year.

Paul Brown, director at Strategy Analytics' User Experience Practice, said: "There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers.

“However, negative press prompted by a perceived lack of recent innovation by Apple has meant we are starting to see some growth in the number of previously highly loyal consumers who are now reconsidering whether or not they will purchase a new iPhone for their next device."

News of shifts in smartphone buyers’ allegiances comes as Apple recently announced the forthcoming departure of iOS software head Scott Forstall, for reasons thought to be linked to the savage reception afforded to the Apple Maps software he oversaw.

The move coincides with Apple’s decision to afford more control over iOS devices’ software to much-lionised hardware designer Jonathan Ive.

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