GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives has predicted that the new iPhone models expected to be launched this year could kick-start a new sales boom of up to 350M units over the next 12-18 months.

There is, he says, ‘a massive iPhone upgrade opportunity’ in the making …


The prediction was made in an investment note seen by Business Insider.

His argument is that many existing iPhone owners decided against upgrading last year because the iPhone 8/Plus was too similar to earlier models, and the iPhone X was too expensive for many. But this year’s iPhone line-up is likely to bring the iPhone X design to a more traditional $700-800 price-point, with an ‘iPhone X Plus’ also likely to drive significant demand among those willing to pay more.

The new phones “will help capture the underlying demand [for] upgrades among customers that have decided to bypass the … cycle this time around, with price points and features that catalyze fence-sitting iPhone customers onto their next smartphone,” Ives said.

China is a particularly big opportunity, suggests the note.

There about 100 million iPhone customers in the country, and about 60 million to 70 million of them are due for an upgrade over the next 18 months

The thrust of the argument is nothing new. Anytime iPhone sales are (in Apple terms) relatively modest in one year, analysts unsurprisingly predict that there will be substantially greater upgrade potential the following year.

But it’s an argument that does make particular sense this time around. Although the iPhone X was enormously successful in absolute terms, it’s also likely true that Apple was hoping for more – and bringing the same design in at a lower price will almost certainly be the catalyst for many upgrades.

Photo: Reuters/David Gray

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