Data suggests Apple’s iPhone upgrade cycle is getting longer

The iPhone 7

The iPhone 7

Apple’s iPhone 7 series smartphones remain the most widely used model of the company’s smartphones even as iOS 12 adoption across the iPhone user base is around 75 percent, according to the latest Mixpanel data.

Apple’s three-year cycle

A cursory glance at the company’s iPhone model data seems to prove what I’ve been hearing anecdotally myself: Apple’s iPhone users are navigating to a 2-3-year upgrade cycle.

That means iPhone 6S users are the ones most likely to upgrade over the coming 12-months, with Apple’s huge installed base of iPhone 7 users more likely to upgrade next year.

It is interesting to note that iPhone SE owners seem committed to their devices.

The installed base for this product (according to Mixpanel) remains relatively flat: 4.62% in June to 4.48% in December. Apple really should meet this clear need for a smaller, cheaper model, I think.

Craig talks iOS 12 at WWDC

Craig talks iOS 12 at WWDC

What about the new iPhones?

Mixpanel claims around 1/20 iPhone users are now on an iPhone XS/Max with around one-third of that number now on the recently-released iPhone XR. That suggests that Apple has sold at last 35 million of the new devices so far, though we’ll never now know for sure.

Mixpanel’s numbers differ slightly compared to the official figures from Apple, but they do provide some solid insight into the general patterns of iPhone purchasing and ownership, I think.

Apple claims around 63 percent of its users are now on iOS 12, but that data relates to October 29.

The general drift of the data when it comes to iOS 12 adoption is that Apple’s audience is moving to the new OS at a much faster rate than it did to iOS 11 last year. In part, I think this is because it makes even older model iPhones work better than before.

The MixPanel data linked to in this story has a whole bunch of other interesting details, do take a look.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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