In tech circles, the launch of the next iPhone later this month
is eagerly anticipated — a radically redesigned smartphone that
marks ten years since the launch of the first iPhone.
But it sounds like this hype still hasn’t got through to ordinary
Piper Jaffray surveyed more than 400 iPhone owners, and found
that there’s almost no more interest in upgrading this year than
there was last year, when the new model was a relatively
In a pre-launch survey in 2016, 15% said they expected to upgrade
— versus 16% this year. (24% will “maybe” upgrade in 2017, versus
29% in 2016.)
“We believe the survey suggests that awareness of potential for
this year’s iPhone to be a more robust upgrade is relatively
low,” the investment bank’s analysts wrote in a research note for
clients on Tuesday.
The iPhone hasn’t had a really major redesign since 2014, when
the iPhone 6 came out (the first time it was available in two
sizes). The models since then — the 6S in 2015, and the 7 in 2016
— have followed the same basic formula, with some hardware tweaks
and under-the-hood performance improvements.
Apple is expected to shake things up on September 12 with the
launch of the iPhone 8 (or iPhone X, or iPhone Edition,
depending on which rumour you believe). It is slated to have an
almost edge-to-edge OLED screen, no physical home button for the
first time, facial unlocking technology, a glass back, and a
revamped camera that takes advantage of Apple’s new augmented
(Apple is also expected to unveil an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus — an
improved version of the 7, cheaper than the 8 and without the
Get ready for a bumper year for Apple
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously indicated that leaks and
rumours about upcoming products are causing customers to change
their buying habits.
In May 2017, he told analysts: “In general, we’re seeing what
we believe to be a pause in purchases on iPhone, which we believe
are due to the earlier and much more frequent reports about
future iPhones. And so that part is clearly going on, and it
could be what’s behind the data. I don’t know, but we are seeing
that in full transparency.”
But Piper Jaffray’s research suggests that, for all these
“frequent reports,” the nature of the coming iPhone 8 upgrade
still hasn’t got through to many ordinary people.
That’s not to say the iPhone 8 won’t deliver strong sales, of
course. The September launch will be accompanied by a huge wave
of official publicity, and once the word gets out about the new
features on-the-fence potential customers may well be persuaded
to take the plunge on the new device.
Piper Jaffray’s analysts say they expect to see bigger sales
growth for the iPhone 8 than any previous iPhone launch, with the
exception of the smash hit iPhone 6. They predict 12%
year-on-year sales growth, versus 36% for the iPhone 6.
“In addition to a more robust upgrade in terms of form/function,
we believe iPhone X units will benefit from a large iPhone
installed base that will be ~2 years old (or older) by the late
Sep-17 launch,” the analysts wrote, using the term “iPhone X” to
refer to the upcoming Apple smartphone.
“Specifically, our analysis suggests that at the time of iPhone X
launch there will be an installed base of ~330M users on an
iPhone that’s at least 2 years old (see details in table below).
We believe a sizable portion of these users, in addition to users
with newer devices, will look to upgrade due to the age of their
device and the more significant changes to the device. Our model
assumes Apple sells ~242M iPhones in the 12 months following
iPhone X launch.”
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