Analysts have started placing their bets.
iPhone sales go up and down, but the installed base just keeps growing.
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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.