According to most analysts we’ve heard from over the past few months, Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8 is going to anchor the most significant iPhone refresh cycle we’ve seen to date. As the reasoning goes, current iPhone users are eager to upgrade to a device with a new design, something which the iPhone 8 — with its edgeless OLED display — will easily provide. This train of thought certainly seems plausible, especially given that the iPhone form factor hasn’t seen a drastic overhaul since Apple released the iPhone 6 nearly three years ago.
Interestingly enough, a new investor note from Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz takes an opposing point of view. Arguing that the iPhone 8 release will not spur a massive refresh cycle, Moskowitz articulates that consumers simply won’t be as enamored with the device’s OLED display as many people think.
Moskowitz’s note, originally published via Business Insider, reads in part:
In terms of the year ahead, OLED displays continue to be top-of-mind for investors when contemplating form factor improvements that could drive a growth revival, particularly with the iPhone. With OLED, we struggle to see the incremental benefits visually that would inspire a customer to replace an adequately-performing device. While battery life could improve with OLED, our conversations with industry participants suggest that most consumers will not notice any major “must have” experience changes because of new OLED displays versus LCD. We think that this dynamic, if sustained, could limit the upside potential related to new OLED-based devices that likely sell for a premium, which could keep average selling prices from moving much higher.
This is a baffling point of view for a variety of reasons. For starters, improved battery life and an enhanced display are hardly features to scoff at. What’s more, most iPhone upgraders won’t be trading in their old devices because they’re taken with OLED technology. On the contrary, the iPhone 8’s edgeless display will assuredly be more a lure than the underlying display technology itself.
Not only that, but Moskowitz seems to be ignoring a myriad of other reasons why users might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 8, including wireless charging functionality and, rumor has it, game-changing augmented reality features.