Infectious ... 40 per cent of US teenagers now own an iPhone.

Infectious ... 40 per cent of US teenagers now own an iPhone. Photo: Bloomberg

iPhone fever is not just an adult affliction. It has trickled down to the younger population as well.

Forty per cent of US teenagers now own an iPhone, according to a new survey of 7,700 teens by Piper Jaffray & Co.

The ranks of these young iPhone owners are growing rapidly.

Back in the spring of 2011, only 17 per cent of US teens said they owned an iPhone. By autumn 2011, that number had grown to 23 per cent. In the spring of 2012, just six months ago, the number was at 34 per cent.

"We are reaffirmed that Apple remains the pre-eminent technology brand for teens," Gene Munster, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, wrote in the report.

The report does not specify which generation iPhone teens are most likely to have — and that makes a big difference, price-wise.

Now that the iPhone 5 has been released, you can find an iPhone 4S for about $100, and some deals offer an iPhone 4 for free.

There's also a good chance that many of these teenagers are carrying around mum and dad's old iPhone hand-me-down. Passing along a working but outdated iPhone to a teenager is the perfect justification for a parent to go out and get a new phone.

The survey also found that the number of teens who own a tablet computer has jumped from 34 per cent in spring 2012 to 44 per cent in autumn 2012 — and 72 per cent of those who do own a tablet own an iPad.

That number is expected go up if Apple releases the rumoured iPad mini before Christmas.

"Overall, we expect Apple devices to continue to expand in teen ownership," Munster wrote. "We believe the company is set up well to benefit from loyalty among its younger user base."

Los Angeles Times