Response to thehas been mixed. It looks to be a great phone, but the incremental nature of its advances from the excellent have left some underwhelmed.
It'll sell millions in the US, Europe, Australia and the rest of Apple's established markets. But what about China? Apple has desperately been trying to crack open the world's largest phone market, and experts say the iPhone 7 doesn't look poised to do that.
"It won't move the needle [in China]," says Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah of Apple's market share. He explains that Apple has intense competition from local brands such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. Following Samsung and Apple, those are three brands that round out the global top five, according to Counterpoint Research. It's significant that and earned their rankings almost entirely through sales in China.
"These homegrown brands have already risen to popularity with their innovations...at a price point at least 25-30 percent lower than the iPhone's," Shah said.
The iPhone 7's water resistance and bigger battery life are improvements. But Shah says they're not as significant to Chinese buyers as Oppo's fast charging, high-res selfie cameras, and Vivo's audio-centric tech. Thewill house a dual camera, but that's something Huawei already did on its .
On Wednesday, Apple announced that its upgrade program, allowing buyers to lease iPhones for a monthly fee and upgrade to the new iteration each year for free.
But IDC research analyst Tay Xiaohan says this won't "make a huge difference." He predicts that the majority of sales will come from those who already own iPhones and that the iPhone 7 isn't differentiated enough to snag many Android users.
And make no mistake -- China has been a big focus of Apple's this year. The companyin May, likely to help win favour with the local government, and last month Apple would be opening a research centre in the country. Back in June, at the company's WWDC keynote, there were a few that Apple wanted a bigger piece of China.
Despite the effort, numbers aren't improving. Counterpoint Research shows thatoutsold the iPhone 6S in China back in June, with . This isn't a problem particular to the People's Republic though, as Apple in April reported its and continued that trend the .
But it's not just necessarily hardware that could attract buyers to the iPhone. IDC's Tay Xiaohan says Apple could help itself greatly with software that caters to the Chinese market, mentioning integration of apps like Uber and fellow ride-hailer Didi Chuxing into iOS. Oppo, he says, is an example of a brand that's found tremendous success off the back of aggressive "marketing and branding efforts" just as much as hardware.
Failing this, it could be that China, much like many prospective Western buyers,.