Apple’s holiday quarter last year was impressive, to say the least. On the back of its brand new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple reported record holiday-quarter earnings that included the highest quarterly profit any company had ever reported. The new models finally gave users the option to buy iPhones with significantly larger displays. While the iPhone 5 bumped Apple’s iPhone screen size up to 4 inches from 3.5 inches on the iPhone 4S and earlier versions, the screen was the same width and objects shown on the display were exactly the same size as they had been.
Of course, the problem with setting new records as a public company is that you have to beat them, and that will be no easy task this year.
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In our iPhone 6s review, we called the handset the biggest iPhone upgrade Apple has ever released. This is quite surprising considering it’s an “S” upgrade that uses the same design as last year’s model but updates various internal components. In the case of the iPhone 6s, however, those internal upgrades were huge and they yielded the most powerful smartphone the world has ever seen.
But will that amount to a new sales record?
In the past, Apple has managed to grow its iPhone sales year over year in every single quarter. In fiscal 2016, however, that could be a tall order. Apple sold 74.4 million iPhones in the December quarter last year, up from just 51 million iPhones in the same quarter a year earlier. That huge jump can be attributed to pent-up demand for iPhones with larger displays, but the 6s and 6s Plus don’t have the distinguished honor of being the first new iPhones with meaningfully larger screens.
Apple released the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in the massive China market earlier this year than it did last year, so that certainly should give its holiday-quarter sales a boost. The company says switchers are coming over from Android at a record pace right now, so that should help as well. Just to play it safe, perhaps, Apple is also doing something else different this year: It’s making sure it does everything it can to get you to upgrade.
For the first time ever, Apple is using pop-up ads in its own App Store to encourage users with older iPhone models to upgrade. Here’s the ad in question, which was posted on Twitter by user @Dirk_Gently:
The user in question has an iPhone 5, and other users with older iPhone models have since confirmed the ad, which clearly looks to encourage people with older models to upgrade. In fact, even some people who already have a new 6s model report having seen the ad in the App Store.
The person who first posted about the ad was very annoyed by the pop-up, as is evident by her subsequent tweets, and many others have made clear that they don’t appreciate the pop-up either. We’ll have to wait until late January when Apple reports its December-quarter results to see if the ad might have had a positive impact on other Apple users.