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Here’s why most iPhone owners are skipping the iPhone X

Published Mar 5th, 2018 5:58PM EST
iPhone X Sales

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.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.