On eve of iPhone 7, a third of iPhones are three-plus years old

Gregg Keizer
7 September, 2016
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iPhone-5-Macworld-Australia4A third of the iPhones now in use are three or more years old, an app analytics vendor said a day before Apple unveils the new iPhone 7.

According to Boston-based Localytics, 32 percent of all iPhones used in August were models that debuted in 2013 or earlier, with that year’s iPhone 5s the third most popular device at 17 percent. Others, including 2012’s iPhone 5 and 2011’s iPhone 4S, accounted for single digit shares.

Localytics measured share by tallying the models among more than 100 million iPhones that reported data to the app developers that use its analytics tools.

The top two models – 2014’s iPhone 6 and last year’s iPhone 6s – accounted for 30 percent and 19 percent of the total, respectively, with the larger 5.5in iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus representing nine percent and eight percent.

Apple’s only previous iPhone this year, the smaller 4in iPhone SE, accounted for just two percent of all models, Localytics said.

The portion of iPhone owners with older handsets is important, as it can be a gauge for new model demand. That demand, however, is harder to predict. In the past, when two-year subsidised contracts were the standard in the US – if not worldwide – Apple’s smartphone replacement business was on firmer ground. But analysts, including those on Wall Street, concerned about flagging iPhone sales, have pinned some of the blame on a lengthening stretch between purchases.

US iPhone owners do keep their smartphones longer than others, according to market researcher Kantar Worldpanel: 25 months, versus 22 months for all US smartphone owners.

Apple will introduce its newest iPhones on Wednesday at an event that will start at 10 am Pacific time (1 pm Eastern). The company will live-stream the presentation from its website.

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