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Phones

iPhone owners explain why they didn't upgrade to iPhone X

Commentary: In a note from a Piper Jaffray analyst, many say they're happy with their current phones.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


It seems that not everyone craves Animojis.

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Not everyone loves the iPhone X.

Not everyone thinks it's the smartphone of the future.

Many, as I've discovered wandering around America asking real people what they think, believe it's a good phone. A good expensive phone that's not quite as exciting as Apple would like to make out, as one T-Mobile salesman told me.

Now, Michael Olson, an analyst at investment bank Piper Jaffray, has presented a survey of 1,500 iPhone owners who gave their reasons for not pandering to the marketing. 

According to the survey results, which I first stumbled upon Monday on Philip Elmer-DeWitt's Apple 3.0 blog, 44 percent of iPhone owners said they hadn't upgraded for a very practical reason -- they're happy with their current phones.

This again is something that I've heard from those at the sales coalface. A Target salesman in Fort Myers, Florida told me: "I hardly ever get people in here who want a new phone. I have to really work to get them to buy something new."

Many in the Piper Jaffray survey point to the financial aspect. Thirty-one percent concluded that the phone was too expensive. At $999 for just the 64 GB version and $1,149 for the 256 GB, you can see their point. 

If you're going to spend that kind of money you want to believe it's something truly special. It seems these people didn't get the feeling.

Another 8 percent offered an interesting reason for not upgrading -- they prefer a bigger screen. Some might find this odd, as, for example, the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, while the X, which might look smaller, has 5.8-incher.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Piper Jaffray, which has often been optimistic about Apple, sees good news here. "We are increasingly confident in our FY19 iPhone estimate of 233.8M, which is ~7M (3 percent) above consensus (227M)," Olson says in the note.

He believes the delayers are waiting for Apple to release new phones this year that will satisfy their criticisms.

Word is, indeed, that Cupertino will present three new phones before the end of 2018.

Apple currently offers a bigger range of phones than it ever has. It's a reflection of the maturing nature of the phone market -- smartphone sales dropped for the first time ever in the last quarter of 2017.

At heart, though, things have changed. There's no shame in being seen with an older iPhone anymore.

It's almost cool not to succumb to every new, new thing.

First published on March 5 at 4:09 p.m. PT.
Update at 4:40 p.m. PT: Changes the sourcing now that we've seen the Piper Jaffray survey results first-hand.

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