92% of iPhone users will stick with Apple when upgrading

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iphone 8 display
iPhone 8 could arrive on time after all.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Even the biggest of iPhone fans would admit that the device has become somewhat boring in recent years, but that hasn’t had any impact on loyalty to the Apple brand.

According to a new study, a whopping 92 percent of iPhone owners who plan to upgrade within the next 12 months will choose another Apple smartphone. That’s the highest retention rate among any smartphone maker, and it suggests iPhone 8 will be huge.

Thanks to less than spectacular upgrades, the iPhone lineup has suffered a brief decline in demand. But rather than jumping ship in pursuit of competing devices, fans are waiting for Apple’s next big thing.

In a research note published on Wednesday, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty explained that customer loyalty for Apple far outweighs that of any other brand. Its 92 percent retention rate, up from 86 percent last year, exceeds Samsung’s 77 percent and LG’s 59 percent.

It seems Huberty’s previous prediction of an iPhone “super-cycle” this year could be right on the money. With that in mind, the analyst has raised her price target on Apple stock from $161 to $177.

Apple is expected to make incremental improvements to the iPhone 7 series for an “iPhone 7s” this year, but most of us are excited for the rumored iPhone 8. The device is expected to bring a new design and significant changes to celebrate the iPhone’s tenth anniversary.

Those changes could include an OLED display with an integrated Touch ID scanner, dual front-facing cameras with iris or facial recognition technology, and of course, Apple’s next-generation A11 processor. Some rumors have also hinted at new augmented reality functionality.

Apple will be hoping that the device can reinvigorate the iPhone brand and ignite explosive growth once again. And with 92 percent of upgraders planning to buy another iPhone within 12 months, it looks like that plan is well on track.

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