Munster: iPhone 7 vs. iPhone X

“Intent to upgrade” up sharply this year.

From a note to clients by Loup Venture’s Gene Munster that landed in my inbox Monday:

Last week, we surveyed 502 people in the US regarding their interest in purchasing the iPhone X, expected to launch this fall. Among the 234 iPhone owners we surveyed, 23% intend to upgrade to iPhone X, which compares to 15% that intended to upgrade to an iPhone 7 prior to its launch. The iPhone 7 data point is based on a survey we conducted while at Piper Jaffray in July 2016.

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We conducted our most recent survey roughly six months ahead of the iPhone X release. Last year, the survey was done two months ahead of the iPhone 7 release. As we get closer to launch, the rumor mill can positively or negatively impact excitement about buying. If the rumors live up to the early hype, interest will likely increase; if they don’t, interest may decrease. The higher intent to purchase the iPhone X likely also reflects the increasing popularity of the iPhone Upgrade Program. While it’s still early, interest in upgrading to the iPhone X appears to be meaningfully higher than upgrade interest was for the iPhone 7.

Furthering Loup Ventures’ interest in augmented reality, Munster included a question about rumors that the iPhone X might have built-in AR capabilities.

I’m less impressed by that finding. You’d have to ask about the iPhone X’s other rumored features (wireless charging, say, or the OLED screen) to gauge how much AR really moves the needle for these customers.


  1. Richard Wanderman said:
    I agree with your last paragraph. My wife and I will consider the new iPhone (I have a 6s, she has a 6s Plus) but given the way we use our phones, we’re less interested in new technologies, more interested in continued incremental improvements in speed, charging, Touch ID or whatever replaces it. For example, we rarely use 3D touch so until there’s a compelling reason to use that technology it’s meaningless for us.

    She’s decided that the Plus size is awkward for her and will downsize to the “regular” size (whatever that will be) and I”ll get that size again. Both of us will get at least 128GB of storage. We’ll buy them outright and trade in our old phones for credit. I usually buy our iPhones outright but we might consider getting on the Apple iPhone upgrade program if it looks like a good deal to me. Upgrading yearly is not a compelling reason for me though.

    March 13, 2017
  2. Gianfranco Pedron said:
    “… Munster included a question about rumors that the iPhone X might have built-in AR capabilities.”

    Asking people about their interest in “AR” (whatever that turns out to be) is like asking people, back in the day, whether they would they would be interested in an iPod or an iPhone six months before their release.

    March 13, 2017
  3. John Kirk said:
    I have a lot of trouble with these “intent to buy” surveys.

    1) I remember polls that showed that no one was interested in buying the original iPhone. People can’t predict whether they’re going to buy something that they haven’t seen or don’t understand.

    2) People don’t know what they want. Studies have show that when people try to predict what they’re going to want to eat later that week, they usually get it wrong.

    3) People say all sorts of things when they’re spending hypothetical money. There’s a big difference between what we want and what we’re actually going to buy when we actually have to part with our hard-earned dollars.

    I could go on and on. I’m guessing these surveys might have some validity. But I’m going to be very suspicious of their predictive abilities until I see a lot more objective evidence that supports their usefulness.

    March 13, 2017
    • Jonathan Mackenzie said:
      As with any sentiment indicators, if they have any use at all, it’s in comparison to historical results of the same survey. So it’s interesting that the intent to buy was higher this year than last. But interesting is about as far as I would take it.

      March 13, 2017
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    Like all surveys the keys are the demographic being tested and the questions asked.

    I find way too many of these so-called “intent” surveys to be poorly designed, yielding results that never prove prescient.

    I find a simple application of the two year upgrade rate average of the three prior upgrade cycles to be more accurate.

    March 22, 2017

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