Apple's big iPhone problem in one chart

The myth of the iPhone is that Apple created a device so superior, so special, that it rises above and beyond the rest of the smartphone market.

That’s why the iPhone is such a success.

But this chart from analyst Sherri Scribner and her team at Deutsche Bank shows something quite different: iPhone sales roughly track the market for smartphone sales as a whole. Where the market goes, Apple goes.

That’s good when a rising tide is lifting all boats. But the smartphone market is slowing down. Everyone who wants a phone has one, and the market for all sales is reaching a plateau. As we reported in December, net adds of new phones are in decline and the major portion of “growth” to be had is in replacing existing units.

That’s a particular problem for Apple because — as the Deutsche Bank chart illustrates — iPhone doesn’t simply track the market, it usually does worse than the market as a whole:

AppleDeutsche Bank

There was a brief bump when Apple released the excellent iPhone 6 in late 2014, but since then the iPhone has reverted to type and once again under-performs the general market for all smartphone sales.

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