While I don’t own an iPhone, I’ve been watching this phenomenon occur over and over again. People, iPhone owners and non-owners alike, often pick up other people’s iPhone and take a look at what applications are installed on them. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on when I do this and when people do it to each other. It happens across the board even from one iPhone user to another. It’s the social app sharing phenomenon.
The market dynamics of the app store (e.g. what is the top selling app and so on) changes so fast that people rely on other people to see what is hot and happening. And they do that by picking up their phones and unlocking them. The real-world social sharing is probably just as powerful of a discovery mechanism as the App Store.
This doesn’t happen with many other phones. Very rarely do people want to see my trusty Blackberry Curve and it never happens some candy bar phone. So, you iPhone users, watch this happen around you if you didn’t notice it before. It’s most bizarre.