In recent years, analysts and investors have been expecting a monster-iPhone update cycle that has not yet been revealed. The first false alarm, so to speak, came with the 2016 launch of the iPhone 7. At that time, industry observers believed that the record setting wave for iPhone 6 buyers in 2014 would result in an even bigger upgrade cycle when the first two-year contracts expired.
The next false alarm came with the iPhone X version 2017. At that time, many predicted that the iPhone's new form factor would track a snowfall of upgrades. However, things played out a little differently. The iPhone X did not set any sales records, and the subsequent release of Apple's iPhone range 201
The main issue is simply that iPhone users stick to their devices for much longer stretches of time than ever before. The reality is that the era of users upgrading their devices every two years is apparently long gone. To this point, a new research report from Strategy Analytics reveals that smartphone users generally now stick to their devices for almost three years before being upgraded. It is noteworthy that the upgrade cycle is even longer for baby boomers.
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, the average Apple smartphone has been active for 18 months and 16.5 months for Samsung. 1 in 5 Caucasians plan to keep their phones for three years or more while Baby Boomers increasingly delay their purchase of smartphone for 3 years +.
A longer update cycle for iPhones was inevitable. The days of generous carrier subsidies are long gone and the simple reality is that phones today are simply more reliable for longer than older models. In addition, newer iPhone releases have been somewhat increasing as it has been a while since we have seen a new change in the game hit the iPhone. It is worth noting that this is not a question that uniquely affects Apple, it is a question that all handset manufacturers must compete with.
Strategic Analysis VP David Kerr adds that the upcoming 5G revolution may not help set any new sales records such as raising premium phone prices is likely to be a limiting factor.
"Operators and device brands are facing significant inertia given consumers' perceptions of diminishing innovation or marginal additions in successive generations of flagship devices," Kerr said. “At the same time, the seller's quest for profitability has seen smartphone prices rise to and above $ 1,000. The prices for 5G phones will be a key barrier even though 1 in 4 acknowledge that it is important for their next device. ”
In light of all this, the upcoming iPhone 11 version is unlikely to set any new sales records, though the rumored iPhone 11 Pro – with its array of three cameras – seems particularly exciting. By the way, the iPhone 11 edition creeps up on us. Although Apple has not issued any official invitations to its annual media event, rumors say the device will be unveiled on September 10, with sales scheduled to begin on September 20.
All told, Apple has been handling a slowdown in iPhone sales expertly as it continues to focus on its growing and increasingly profitable suite of services. In addition, the company has seen impressive growth across its portable line as Apple Watch sales continue to grow with each passing year.