There were 728 million iPhones still in use as of April 2017, according to Newzoo. The most widely-active model within that pool of devices was the iPhone 6, which accounted for 21% of active iPhones worldwide. In total, a little over half of the iPhones in use were released in 2014 or earlier.
Depending on how bullish you are on the iPhones expected to launch this fall, this is either an exciting sign or a worrying trend for Apple. Right now, the rumours suggest Apple will launch three phones for the holidays: two standard iPhone 7s upgrades, and a so-called iPhone 8 that’s said to feature a revamped design.
If those phones are excellent, they could coerce the relatively large number of people with three-year-old iPhones to upgrade. That would make Apple’s shareholders happy, as iPhone sales have started to even out in recent years. But if the new iPhones underwhelm — or if Apple prices people out of the more exciting model — the company could have trouble bringing its most important product line back to growth.
To be clear, Apple is going to sell hundreds of millions of iPhones. It’s the iPhone. Even if the average smartphone’s life is growing, many people just won’t stay with the same phone for four years straight. But Apple will have a little more pressure to deliver than usual, particularly in areas where its users aren’t as loyal.
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