How big is the coming iPhone 'supercycle'?

Analysts have started placing their bets.

iPhone sales go up and down, but the installed base just keeps growing.


Click to enlarge. Not seeing the graphic? Try the website. 

The older phones—the ones with cracked screens, exhausted batteries and apps that can't be updated—will eventually get replaced, if not with the next model, then maybe with the one after that.

In fact, according to the so-called "supercycle" theory, the more sales of the next iPhone fizzle, the bigger the pop for the one after that—the 2017 model the rumor sites are calling the iPhone 8, or the 10th Anniversary iPhone. (Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007.)

How big a pop? Let's see...

  • Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty, the first analyst I heard talk of an iPhone supercycle, didn't say—although she did offer an iPhone unit sales estimate for fiscal 2017 (219 million).
  • Cowan's Timothy Arcuri, who talks not just about a supercycle, but also about a "powder keg" forming in the installed base, has forecast sales of 207.5 in fiscal 2017 and 259 million in 2018—a 52 million pop.
  • Today, in a note to clients titled "Looking to the 8 Super Cycle," Credit Suisse's Kulbinder Garcha sees iPhone sales "troughing" at 207 million in fiscal 2016 and rising to about 250 million in 2018.

More estimates as they come in.


  1. Fred Stein said:
    Love the IB chart for many reasons.
    1) WS sees AAPL as the iPhone co. Thus WS worries about future device sales. Apple is an iOS/ARM platform company, with an IB that doubled in the last five years.
    2) If we add the other iOS devices, the size of IB, look even better
    3) All “hardware” companies (Apple is not just a hardware company) develop large software and services business. WS discounts this because device sales still dominate. Once FY 2016’s results become the comparison going forward, WS will see that Apple gives them both – growing device sales and the platform-based add-on revenue.

    August 31, 2016
  2. Peter Kropf said:
    “Why do people think Apple is doomed? it’s weird.”

    Millions of fans cheered against the Yankees when they owned baseball. ‘Cheering’ against Apple allows people to express their fear of Apple’s continued dominance in favor of competitors 1, 2, and 3. (Samsung et al)

    Today, rooting against Apple, for geeky/investment ‘fans’, has the trope of ‘Doomed’. (And, for the media/blogs, it makes for profitable click bait.)

    September 1, 2016

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