If you’ve been keeping up with the iPhone 8 rumors, you’ll know exactly what to expect from Apple’s big refresh this fall. But for the vast majority of fans, the upgrade will come as a huge surprise.
One survey has found that for ordinary iPhone users, the urge to upgrade is no more significant than it has been for previous, more incremental releases.
The iPhone 8 — which could also be called “iPhone X” or “iPhone Edition,” according to recent reports — could be Apple’s biggest release since the original. An all-new design, larger OLED display, and swanky new features are expected to start an upgrade “super-cycle.”
Many tech fans will already have a good idea of what to expect from Apple’s special event next week, and they will likely have their credit cards at the ready long before pre-orders go live. But most iPhone users still have no idea that they’ll want to upgrade.
Piper Jaffray surveyed more than 400 existing iPhone owners and discovered that interest in upgrading this year is virtually no stronger than it has been for previous iPhone releases. In fact, just 16 percent have already decided they’ll get the new model, versus 15 percent in 2016.
“We believe the survey suggests that awareness of potential for this year’s iPhone to be a more robust upgrade is relatively low,” reads the research note obtained by Business Insider.
The analysts aren’t suggesting iPhone 8 will be a flop — they’re predicting bigger sales growth than any previous model, with the exception of the “smash hit” iPhone 6 — it’s just that consumers simply aren’t yet aware of how significant the upgrade will be.
For three years now, the iPhone has looked almost exactly the same, and the improvements Apple has made internally haven’t exactly been spectacular. As a result, demand has fallen as fans become bored with the design that made iPhone 6 so successful.
But Apple has been preparing a special upgrade for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary this year. Its high-end model for 2017 is expected to bring an edge-to-edge OLED display, advanced facial recognition, wireless charging, and an all-new glass design.
Those who haven’t been following the rumors won’t be expecting any of this, so they probably don’t have plans to upgrade anytime soon unless their contract is coming to an end. But when Apple makes the upgrade official, and iPhone 8 ads start appearing on our TV screens, that’s likely to change for a significant number of people.
“Specifically, our analysis suggests that at the time of iPhone X launch there will be an installed base of ~330M users on an iPhone that’s at least 2 years old… We believe a sizable portion of these users, in addition to users with newer devices, will look to upgrade due to the age of their device and the more significant changes to the device.”
Based on its research, Piper Jaffray expects Apple to shift around 242 million iPhone units in the 12 months following the launch of iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone Edition, or whatever its final name will be.