The buzz around the iPhone 4 has brought the debate about phone features front and center once again. Just what are consumers looking for when they purchase a cell phone? We tackled this question by examining how consumers rank the features they want on their next phone. Our Technographics® data shows that even with all the excitement around the iPhone and its features, consumers overwhelmingly value affordability above all else.

Out of over 14 different features we asked our consumers about — ranging from the ability to connect to a PC to the operating system of the phone — we found the number one feature they're interested in, regardless of generation, is the low cost of the phone itself. Over 70% of each generation considered this the most important. Brand rounded out the top 5 and proved more important to Gen Yers (43%) than Seniors (24%). Other interesting features that didn't make the top 5 included touch screens which ranked 11th in terms of importance, while having a full physical (QWERTY) keyboard ranked 6th. Blackberry seems to have a pulse on both markets with the impending launch of its newest phone which offers consumers the best of both worlds.

One popular finding to note is the importance of the quality of camera on the phone – especially among Gen Y consumers (55%). As Ian Fogg concluded in his “Connected Cameras Are The Future For The Post-Film World” report, camera phones have benefits above traditional cameras, especially because of their accessibility for “in the moment” pictures. This is where iPhone will maintain its attractiveness among consumers. It is at the forefront of developing this insight, most recently through improving its regular back facing camera, and adding a front facing video chat camera.