The iPhone X was in many ways a huge gamble for Apple. In one fell swoop, Apple introduced a design that completely did away with the home button, a cornerstone of the iOS user experience for well over a decade. In doing so, Apple also replaced Touch ID with Face ID, essentially replacing a reliable and secure authentication scheme for a decidedly more complex alternative. Moreover, the iPhone X design itself introduced us to the notch, a design decision that elicited an endless supply of ridicule when the device was unveiled.
A few months removed from the iPhone X launch, the gamble Apple took has clearly paid off. Not only did users adapt quickly to Face ID and an assortment of new gestures, concerns surrounding the iPhone X notch turned out to be less of an issue than initially imagined. All in all, the iPhone X successfully introduced a new template upon which all future iPhone models will likely be based on.
All that said, the iPhone X didn’t manage to usher in the largest refresh cycle in iPhone history, as many analysts initially anticipated. And even though the iPhone X remains the most popular model within Apple’s iPhone lineup, there have been reports that Apple in recent weeks has reduced iPhone X orders due to lower than anticipated demand.
Seeking to figure out why the iPhone X hasn’t shattered sales records like many were anticipating, Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson recently issued a research note detailing a survey of 1,500 existing iPhone owners. The most interesting aspect of the note centers on why iPhone owners haven’t yet opted to upgrade to the iPhone X.
Interestingly, 44% of respondents indicated that they didn’t upgrade because their current iPhone model works fine.
Meanwhile, 31% of respondents didn’t upgrade because they found the iPhone X — with its $999 entry price — to be far too expensive. Also of note is that 8% of respondents didn’t upgrade because they prefer a device with a larger screen.
Olson’s note, which was obtained by Apple 3.0, reads in part:
Given the next release of iPhones this Fall will likely address both of these issues, we are increasingly confident in our FY19 iPhone estimate of 233.8M, which is ~7M (3%) above consensus (227M). We believe FY19 will provide evidence of the “super-long” cycle we expect will play out as users migrate to “X-gen” devices over a multi-year period (details in paragraph below).
In short, with Apple set to release three brand new iPhone models next year, the boom in iPhone upgrades we expected with the iPhone X will truly manifest in 2019. Recall, Apple later this year will reportedly introduce three brand new iPhone models, one of which will feature a gargantuan 6.5-inch OLED display. More importantly, Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup will include a more wallet-friendly device with an edgeless 6.1-inch LCD display.