Headline is misleading at best, if the iPhone were to suddenly lose their market to Android phones, most of that subscription revenue would dry up too.
Music and Arcade I'd expect are vastly phone-based. TV might have the Apple TV as a significant subscriber base, and Music admittedly has an android client, but I'd be shocked if iPhone users weren't the majority of all of those subscriptions.
When you upgrade, they want that old device to stay on-the-grid.
I admit, however, that I get a new iphone each time one is released, and I've gotten the newest watch at its release also. My macbook, on the other hand, I do plan on keeping (and not upgrading) for _hopefully_ three to five years...unless of course my wife decides she wants my Air (to replace her ipad) - then I suppose a Pro is in my near future. :D
I am a mobile dev looking at my phone a lot .. and even in that case I am now changing phones every 2 to 3 years.
The ecological waste is one of my main motivations, but tbh I don't really get much from a new phone. It goes so slightly faster and that's pretty much it.
However, the older phones/tablets/devices are best to start and do most of the development on, somewhat like making sure a game runs on an older PC or laptop.
If you tune your app to the lower end (older) devices, scaling up is easier than scaling down. If all you have is the latest devices it will lead to bloated apps and slow games.
Similar to how John Carmack does parallel implementations and starts with the lower end renderers in game engine design .
> However, some of my most effective uses of this strategy have been more aggressive. Over the years, I have done a number of hardware acceleration conversions from software rendering engines. In the old days, I would basically start from scratch, first implementing the environment rendering, then the characters, then the special effects. There were always lots of little features that got forgotten, and comparing against the original meant playing through the game on two systems at once.
> The last two times I did this, I got the software rendering code running on the new platform first, so everything could be tested out at low frame rates, then implemented the hardware accelerated version in parallel, setting things up so you could instantly switch between the two at any time. For a mobile OpenGL ES application being developed on a windows simulator, I opened a completely separate window for the accelerated view, letting me see it simultaneously with the original software implementation. This was a very significant development win.
I'm still running an iPhone SE, but if I were to upgrade it would be for the camera.
The 7 is fine. Went to my partner, could've gone to my teenager, but he's not interested in a phone.
The question I've asked myself a bunch of times in the past and which could be super relevant next year: if there's a 120hz iPad with 5G, I could absolutely live with that as my only device.
I barely want a phone these days and work hard not to pull it out. I do use it for running though (heart rate band). Easily replaced by something else, but I definitely don't want to just buy gadgets on an annual basis anymore.
You’re going to have to explain this one.
But I think what did it the most is that the adults in his life are all self-employed and a bit stuck on their phones/laptops/tablets. I'm thinking this may end up skipping a generation.
I am not trying to be overly moralistic though .. just trying to understand if there is any value people see in getting a new phone each year outside of social/new and shiny.
It made a lot of sense 8 or 10 years ago where each year there was a big leap. But nowadays, even for e.g. camera, the improvements are very incremental at best (when they are not mostly algorithmic so backportable) .
Buying last generation Apple stuff is a safe decision, so the constant upgraders get good prices when they sell their old stuff.
It’s also because spare parts are hard to come by, so Apple consumers cash in by selling their equipment as donors.
Cheap Android phones aren't worth repairing, people are validated to beat them up, their security updates run out within 1.5-2.5 years. Most iPhones are likely still to be on the market and being used after 4 years or more. If you buy an iPhone and sell it on you're clearly displacing another phone from being bought, which almost certainly would have a shorter lifetime before being scrapped.
I'm sure some fraction of people probably do what you day, but as far as I know, it is known that this is the exact opposite of what happens for a lot of other people (even iPhone users): they in fact tend to be more careless and break them more easily because they want to upgrade. 
Anecdotally, on a somewhat related tangent, I have found it curious that whenever I see a phone with a broken screen, it almost always tends to be an iPhone. I have no idea why this is, and I doubt it necessarily has to do with the above effect, but it does make me skeptical of the idea that people take better care of their iPhones because they presumably want to sell it later.
I'm also skeptical that most people go through the trouble of selling their old phones at all, even iPhones. Far, far more people seem to have iPhones than bother to try to sell their old ones, so I would guess a lot of people just do nothing with their old iPhone. Or trade it in. It's not exactly painless for everyone to sell their old iPhones.
Moreover, incentive-wise, like every phone company, Apple has every incentive to make everyone upgrade. Despite the continued support for old devices, you can imagine they pour a lot of time and money into making sure this happens, and judging from how well they've done, I'm not under the impression they've had massive failures on this front.
So I mean, it doesn't seem impossible that what you're saying could happen, and I'm sure it does for some subset of the population, but every evidence I've seen suggests it's far smaller an effect than would be necessary to compensate.
On the face of it, that makes me wonder if they're aiming to expand it to Android users. But I suspect they'd need a real Android integrated app if they want to compete in that space.
I think the title implies "iphone sales" and not the iphone as a device..
All of the evidence from Apples financial statements when the X was introduced is that people did upgrade.
But to your point, the iPhone 6s was when phones got good “enough”, it is still fast and the only reason I upgraded to the 8 plus was for the larger battery and screen.
10 years into the iPhone, it's safe to say this is never going to happen.
I think you should probably look more closely at the iPhone’s global market share.
Developers will support the larger, more profitable markets first. At some point, they’ll stop supporting the shrinking market.
Not only is it easier to build and maintain apps for iOS, people spend a lot more money on that platform. That Android market share is, in large part, driven by developing nations that aren't going to spend a lot of money on buying software on their mobile devices.
That could certainly change in the future, but I just want to illustrate why just talking about the number of devices might not be the best indicator for which platform you should develop applications.
We're seeing the same thing happen in phones; the developed world's market is saturated now and the rate of turnover is slowing, and Apple doesn't have pricing that competes in the developing world.
The point I'd disagree with in your comment is that you say "larger, more profitable" when those two don't necessarily go together. Samsung and Chinese vendors are not making more profit than Apple anytime soon.
As a matter of fact Tim Cook mentioned in the Investor Q&A that iPhone User base has been growing in all of their Operating Segment. ( The word Operation was chosen likely because Apple doesn't actually operate in India, where it has declining usage ). The last reported Active iPhone users were 900M nearly 10 months ago. Apple are highly likely to reach 1B Active iPhone user sometime in 2020.
“At some point, they’ll stop supporting the shrinking market.”
If the market is profitable, they’ll support it. However, as the Macintosh market shrank in the 1990s, for example, some developers fled.
Also, great iPhone only apps will try to capture part of the larger Android market. As more revenue comes from Android, that’ll be their primary market.
Read this story about Steve Jobs and Adobe. It might give you a better idea about what I’m trying to convey:
Rumor is they're dropping 3D Touch in 2019 models, and 2020 might see a screen size reduction on the smaller "X"-sized phone. So it's hopefully something they're working on.
I'm sure they'll still be priced as premium devices and not competing directly against phones that cheap, but if they weren't 5x as expensive it would certainly help.
I mean my partners new iphone has a phenomenal screen but not different enough to cover 600 quid difference in price phenomenal.
Go compare that Nokia to an iPhone 6S if you want an apples to apples comparison.
Be interesting to see a price comparison based upon total expected lifetime and usability of a product and by that, once support/updates and with that, security updates stop. That product is dead beyond some fanbase support. So for the base consumer market that's 99.9% of the end-users, this means there investment can last longer. Which is another factor in why the second hand price of Apple phones is much more stable and depreciate in value more gradually than Android alternatives.
THough there is also only so much tech you can cram into a phone and whilst the basic level of tech has risen and risen, it is worth noting that the mid-range android offerings are tech-wise, pretty darn good. Not saying we have reached peak tech or some form of leveling of, just yet. But the leaps - year upon year in the top end are smaller and smaller. Eventually we will get to the stage in which battery life becomes the factor again, after 2g phones leveled, that is what happened. Be case for smartphones and in some ranges, already starting to happen and an area of importance that will become more and more the main selling point in flagships, maybe not this year, but certainly soon.
iPhone went from world domination to 15% global market share.
According to recent numbers (posted on HN 1-2 weeks ago) 20% last gen iPhone users now have a Samsung.
(Disclaimer: maybe I am misreading those stats, sounds like a too large drop to be correct)
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris
And this is where services and wearables come in to pick up the slack, which is arguably more consumer friendly than building devices that barely last two years.
It's worth noting Apple's US battery replacement fees.
AirPods Case: $49
Not outrageous on the watch, but on the lower-end SKUs it could constitute a large percentage of the original purchase price, especially if they were purchased at even a common discount.
$98 to refresh AirPods is significant. The case battery does tend to degrade a bit more slowly, but my experience is that they don't last all that much longer than the AirPods.
A new wireless charging case is $79, while a standard replacement charging case is $69.
Given that the above hardware has about a 2.5-3-year life on the batteries, it doesn't seem as consumer-friendly as it could.
The $29 battery replacement cost for iPhones seems very reasonable.
They may need an entry level phone to grab any additional market share. Which is dangerous because of potential to cut into higher end sales.
A $139 Nokia 2.2 looks like a better phone than the refurb iPhone 7 does, just because they designed it to imitate the iPhone X's curved corners and camera notch.
Removable battery and headphone jacks aside, it's probably a worse phone than the iPhone 7 is. But it doesn't look like a worse phone.
When Apple's cheaper used phones catch up to the modern phone design style, I think they'll be more competitive. But that's still years away, and who knows what new phones will look like then.
Nobody is making any money selling to the low end of the market.
I take it you mean subscriptions? If so, that's a mischaracterization.
Subscriptions aren't "taking up the slack". They will soon become, if not already, an equal partner in Apple's revenue picture.
You have to love that a big company like Apple can seamlessly shift their business model just a bit, with dramatic results. Many companies their size become protectionist, and then fail.
faceID is nice but touchID is just fine. 2GB of memory is fine too. and while i don't use the headphone jack much any more, it's nice as a backup for when i forget the airpods. i may upgrade next year with the purported 5G rollout, but i'm not even sure that's worth it. LTE is fast enough and its coverage is mostly good enough too.
Plus, I am pretty confident that the speeds that I actually get didn't change by a huge factor when the transition happened. If anything they got slower because of congestion, due to the amazing price drop and crazy increase in user adoption.
The X and beyond are nice, but I think the facial unlock is a pita and stopped my upgrade. I also ordered a purism phone...
If twitter keeps “improving” their app you will.
But seriously though, how is it that the twitter app regularly causes my devices to lock up?
Anyone who brought their phone in to an Apple store was told all they needed was a new battery.
That isn't "planned obsolescence". If you want real planned obsolescence, look at just about every Android phone that stops getting firmware updates after 18 months.
No iPhone means no services and no wearable sales.
The iPad may sell independently of the iPhone and Macs would as well, but they are both significantly smaller than the iPhone market.
Apple appears to believe they've saturated their addressable market, and their best bet for growth is to sell more to their existing customer base.
I suspect we will see a shift in their marketing as well. The general ads which would attract new users to the iPhone platform will reduce, and the focus will be more on getting existing iPhone users to upgrade, or buy additional services/products.
Not only does the iPhone drive other revenue streams, "It also still makes up the largest chunk of Apple's revenue."
It is no longer the only important product, but it is still the most important.
If I decided to setup a lemonade stand in my front yard and sell one glass today (it's already late in the day here) and 100 glasses tomorrow then the growth argument makes me the most important (future) retailer in the world.
Diversification is good for Apple, it's good for the ecosystem and as mentioned elsewhere probably makes it easier for them to produced devices that are less disposable. That's a great story and, given the dollars at stake, an important one. Why bother with the click-bait title that seriously erodes credibility?
I get its a premium product, but they've priced themselves out of so many peoples budgets at this point I think.
But I would absolutely love a $400-500 iPhone and I'm fine if it's missing a lot of features. My phone just isn't my primary point of mobile computing anymore (if anything, Apple Watch fills that role for me now), so I neither need nor want a $1000 phone (even though, being a fanboi, I have one). And the point of putting my CV in the first paragraph is to point out that, hey, even if you don't make money selling me a phone, Apple, you'll still make an arse-load of money off me. And maybe you'll get new customers/revenue to boot.
Which, I'll point out, is also a ridiculously-priced device at $900 for the one I bought.
Apple still sells iPhone 7.
OTOOH, having given a bit of thought, is it just more economical to eat the expensive of the flagship up front and then hang on to it for four or five years (which is what we currently do).
XR: $750 / 6 years = $125/year
8: $599 / 5 years = $120/year
7: $449 / 4 years = $112/year
So assuming you plan to keep the device for its entire lifespan, I'm not sure it actually matters very much what you buy.
Will easily last me 3-4 years.
50/year to own.
iPhone 8 assuming it lasts 4 years without battery/breakage means I could buy new moto x4 every year I own that 8. I get that its supported longer but these devices are heavily used and abused.
Or trailing edges of the 2nd and 3rd generation respectively.
Just make sure you don’t hold on beyond obsolescence.
Sometimes old stuff spikes in value a bit as others want to replace/repair instead of upgrade.
That's quite a shallow self-image
Well, as long as you're happy...
I’m sure from a TCO it will still end up being more expensive than Android but not quite as much when looking beyond initial purchase price.
My previous phone was an iPhone 6. I'm pretty sure it was around March when I got it, and it was the topend phone at the time, so I guess it was March 2015. So that was perhaps 2.5 years; this jives with my recollection of it being out of contract, but not hugely so. But my wife kept using it till May this year because I accidentally left it near her when her phone broke, and she thought it was fine even though to me it was unusable. Perhaps you can call that about 4 years of use.
Before that, I had a Nexus 5. I don't think it lasted particularly wrong. I got it on my birthday, which makes it July 2014. So I presumably replaced it within a year. I think I was unhappy withe the phone for its whole life; in particular, I had been planning to try an iPhone so I don't know why I bought a Nexus. Its battery life was awful. Once the screen broke, and its replacement cost was a massive proportion of its purchase price, I decided to try an iPhone. But my wife used it after hers got stolen till it completely broke apart sometime last year (she used both the iPhone and the Nexus for a time).
Before that, I had a G1. It was probably around 2009 or 2010 that I got it, so maybe it was four or five years. At the time, my coworkers laughed at me for having such an old phone, but I didn't think it was weird to keep a phone so long.
So I guess the phones I buy get used for about four years, no matter who owns (I mean, wrote the OS) them. But I get itchy feet every other year.
On the other hand, One Plus seems to behave somewhat special here. The Samsung phone of my mother might have received one or two minor updates and it's already down to the ground although it's not even two years old, I think.
So, pricing is always relative to the existing technological level and competing offerings. Within a given technological age, Apple chose to always go after the upper third - quarter - or even tenth of the market. It's a strategy that brought them great fortunes, they don't compete on price, not even on capability per unit of price, they sell premium gadgets for those with high disposable income.
And their services themselves have considerable potential given that currently most people just use storage and music.
Rare are the non-iPhone owners who choose Apple Music, or Apple TV... The iPhone is the gateway to that walled garden.
I hope I don’t sound too judgemental, but every time I see a room full of people where most everyone is staring into their phone I question if they are really making best use of their time in the wonderful world that we live in.
There are a lot more use cases that demands phones instead of smart watches.
I guess there's always beats with $300 headphones too.
I would include Microsoft in that, but they started making things again.
The Macs, on the other hand, have so much room for improvement.
Im not chasing innovation, I want something I can depend on.
It's sad that people only really look at the flagship models and go "WOWZER IPHONES COST 1200$?!" The iPhone 8+ is 700$ which is still inline with "Previous Generation Pricing", heck a iPhone 7 starts at 450$ and is an incredible device.
I have a 7 Plus, it's going to be 2 years old this year, still going strong, no desire to upgrade - which is odd for me, I'm the kind of person who has a 1080ti, etc. - but my phone does EVERYTHING I ask of it, and Apple is happily supplying it with updates for at least another few years.
This idea that people have to spend $1200+ dollars on a phone every year needs to die.
The problem is that during that time my iPhone suffered damage, despite a case (some of the damage was acknowledged as inherent flaws, but some were just my fault). And being a 6 I was able to get it repaired for a reasonable price.
That is increasingly less true for newer iPhones. It's $50 more to buy a new iPad than it is to repair the iPhone X screen. You can buy an iPad Air ($499) for less than the cost of any other iPhone X damage ($549).
And if you lose your iPhone, and would like to buy something cheap to keep you going until you splurge for the next generation a few months or a year from now, then your cheapest entry point is north of $500 again.
The economics of owning an iPhone are getting pretty rough, compared to what you get on the Android side.
Checkout the "lower end" iPhones like the 7/8 (wait for apple to release their new stuff in the fall first so it's price drops). They really aren't that slow compared to the new phones, the improvements in phones have REALLY slowed down. I'm the kind of person who has a i7 8700k, 1080ti, 32GB gaming machine, but I've been using my iPhone 7 Plus for two years, and I have nothing to complain about performance wise.
And the iPhone 7 is only 450$ new from Apple. A screen repair from a 3rd party will be less then 100$.
The iPhone 7/8's are also really easy to repair by yourself (can't speak for the higher ones) - the exact screen our store uses for iphone 7 repairs costs less than 25$. Battery is only 12$. I understand that the "average joe" likely shouldn't attempt to repair it, but I figure the typical HN audience wouldn't have much issues - just be slow and follow ifixit.
They're very affordable/easy to repair, and are solid phones, and they'll be getting updates for at least a few more years.
Specially when you can get a pretty decent device such as the Mi A2 for $200 that runs Android One (almost stock).