Over the last two quarters, Apple suffered the first downturn in iPhone sales and caused quite a stir in the financial community. Some financials analysts said iPhone sales had peaked. Others predicted sales would be flat for the next four quarters. But another theory emerged from some analysts — Apple iPhone sales were only at a lull and there is a possibility we will see the next “super cycle” of iPhone sales starting in 2017.
I suspect, with the introduction of new iPhones this week, Apple could be jumpstarting this super cycle of iPhone sales and upgrades due to potential key product features and the introduction of their “iPhone a Year” program that finally kicks off this fall.
There is one feature the rumor mills have been talking about for some time — the possibility Apple will add dual cameras to this year’s iPhones. If they do, I believe this will be a huge draw not only for early adopters but even for mainstream users who want their smartphone to have the best possible camera.
One of the things Apple did with the first iPhone with a camera was impact the point and shoot camera market. As people with an iPhone found out, the best camera is the one they have with them at all times. That turned out to be the one on their iPhone or smartphone. Since Apple introduced an iPhone with a camera, every year, iPhone users hoped for and expected the camera on their iPhones would get better.
Thankfully, Apple continued to evolve the quality and capability of the iPhone cameras and the current 12 megapixel, one lens, rear camera on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are some of best in any smartphone today.
However, should Apple add a dual lens camera and its quality and capabilities are closer to a DSLR instead of point-and-shoot cameras, the interest in these new iPhones could be significant and drive many to upgrade their iPhones in the next year. Dual lens cameras that infringe on the DSLR market could be a game changer for Apple and DSLR vendors and force all premium smartphones in this direction.
The second feature that could draw interest in upgraders is the rumored removal of the 100+ year old 3.5 mm audio jack. If Apple does remove it, they are saying it is time to start moving the smartphone to a true wireless metaphor and I would not be surprised if this is their first step to eventually adding wireless charging to iPhones in the near future.
Remember, Apple has a history of killing off old technology to drive the industry forward. They did this when they introduced the 3.5 inch floppy that eventually killed off the 5.3 inch floppy drive. They added CD-ROM and CD Read Write drives to the Mac and forced the entire PC industry to follow suit. They created the All-in-One category with the candy-colored Macs in 1998 and now this is the main form of desktop computers from them and the PC makers.
The third thing is, by killing off the subscription model by the carriers, we are moving to what is more like a monthly leasing model for new iPhones. So a new iPhone from any of the carriers will start around $30 or so for the lowest end iPhone and then be priced a bit higher for models with more memory in them. This program, which is touted as “a new iPhone every year”, will be very attractive to a lot of iPhone users. This too could help jumpstart this next super cycle.
The super cycle theory believes the iPhones introduced in the fall of 2017 will accelerate the sales of the next generation of iPhones. The belief is Apple would introduce a new design on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and that model would drive huge upgrades across the board for the following two years. I have no clue what Apple is going to introduce in 2017 but, if that model has a significant design change, it certainly could drive exceptionally large iPhone upgrades next fall.
I personally believe a new iPhone super sales cycle is in the cards and it is possible the new iPhones Apple introduces this week may jumpstart a very strong upgrade cycle that could last for a full three years.