With the release of the iPhone X last year, Apple in one fell swoop completely transformed the iOS user experience. In addition to a number of new iOS gestures, Apple with the iPhone X implemented a facial recognition scheme and completely did away with the home button, a mainstay of the iPhone user experience since the very beginning.
For most users, the transition to the iPhone X has been relatively smooth and, per usual, customer satisfaction is said to be incredibly high. All that said, some rumblings from the rumor mill suggest that the iPhone X hasn’t sold as well as Apple was anticipating. It’s worth noting, though, that Apple seemingly disputes such accounts. During Apple’s most recent earnings conference call, for example, Tim Cook said that the iPhone X “surpassed our expectations” and that the device has remained the “top selling iPhone” in every single week since its release.
Suffice it to say, it’s still too early to tell how iPhone X sales are doing given that supply was constrained for a short while last quarter. Moreover, the iPhone X was only available for sale for about 7 out of 12 weeks last quarter. Put simply, Apple’s upcoming earnings report should provide us with a more accurate look at how the iPhone X is doing.
Looking beyond the current quarter and into the next upgrade cycle, a new survey from Loup Ventures reveals that 22% of current iPhone owners are planning to buy Apple’s next-gen iPhone later this year. What’s more, 20% of respondents indicated that they are planning to upgrade to either an iPhone 8 or the current iPhone X later this year. In short, 42% of respondents are intent on upgrading to a new iPhone in the coming months.
As for the iPhone X supercycle that didn’t quite pan out as many were anticipating, Loup Ventures believes that it could very well happen once Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup is revealed. Recall, Apple later this year is expected to introduce three brand new iPhone models, including a 6.5-inch iPhone X plus and a more wallet-friendly 6.1-inch iPhone with an edge to edge LCD display.
We’re not ruling out a supercycle in FY19. Our survey did not capture the latest rumors of an iPhone that is likely 25% bigger than the iPhone X. Typically, measurable increases in the screen size (above 10%) have a positive impact on iPhone growth. We would expect to see an uptick in intent to buy as these larger screen iPhone rumors become more mainstream. We’re taking a conservative approach to our model, and expecting 3% iPhone growth in FY19 compared to 7% in FY18. We would define a supercycle as greater than 10% annual iPhone growth.
As laid out by Ming Chi-Kuo, who has a stellar record with respect to Apple rumors, Apple’s upcoming iPhone lineup will likely look like this.