Being pitched as the game changer for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) lots of expectations were pinned on the newly launched iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Foraying into the bigger screen device market with the iPhone 6 Plus, which boasts of a 5.5” (approximately 401 ppi pixel density), Apple aimed at luring Android users who prefer large screen devices. However, a survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) among 300 US Apple Customers who purchased the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones after the launch on September 19, 2014, portrays a different picture altogether.
The survey corroborated the predictions which stated that Apple will witness a massive upgrade cycle post launch of their new flagship devices. It was proclaimed that about 70% of existing users will upgrade to a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus model. As per the survey, the existing iPhone owners comprised of 80% of buyers upgraded to the new devices after the 2014 September launch whereas only 65% of iPhone users had upgraded after the launch of 5S and 5C in 2013 September. Clearly, the upgrade cycle is quite high compared to last year and replacement sales will occupy a major chunk of the total sales in the FY 2014.
The US, which has a mobile market penetration of 72% with 174 million smartphone users, is nearing the verge of saturation in terms of smartphone adoption. Yet a small fragment of the iPhone buyers consisted of users moving from a feature phone to a smartphone according to the CIRP report.
The trends brought forth by the survey also indicate that in 2014 users migrating from Android are more inclined to buy the costly iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Taking a look at the number of Android owners who bought iPhones this year, we find that 59% of them bought the $649 unsubsidized price iPhone 6 and another 26% of former Android owners bought the $749 unsubsidized price iPhone 6 Plus. Compared to last year when the iPhone 5S was launched only 52% of prior Android users had purchased the device whereas 47% had preferred the iPhone 5C. This year only a meager 15% opted for the low priced iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. The popularity of the higher priced iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus devices can be attributed to a number of factors as we have elucidated previously.
iPhone 6/6 Plus Fails To Lure Android Users:
But the survey also points out that compared to the 23% Android users that migrated to the iPhone within 30 days since the launch of iPhone 5S/5C last year, this year only a 12% of former Android users have chosen the iPhone devices. The figures seem contrary to the earlier study report which indicated that 35% of Android users were willing to ditch the OS in favour of new iPhone 6 devices.
What is more interesting here is that most of these Android-migrated iPhone users relatively bought more expensive iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September as compared to the last year. While iPhone 6 remains the most preferred choice among all Android-migrated users, 85% of all Android-migrated iPhone users selected iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus as compared to mere 15% who bought earlier versions of iPhone – iPhone 5C and iPhone 4S.
The reasons can be the attributed to the infamous Bendgate issue with the iPhone 6 Plus. The device reportedly faced some unwanted bending when subjected to pressure, e.g. prolonged exposure in the back pockets. Though Apple acknowledged that the issue was very rare and their devices have undergone rigorous testing the arch rival Samsung grabbed the opportunity and swiftly came out with a video of their Galaxy Note 4 acing the “gluteus maximus” test. The video became viral among the Android lover community.
Another roadblock in the path for Apple is the bug infested iOS 8 which powers the devices. Within a week of rolling out the OS, the Cupertino tech giant had to roll out another update containing bug fixes. Complaints started pouring in from users who updated to iOS 8 about issues with third-party and native keyboards, iMessage glitches, multitasking gestures, frequent crashes of the Settings app, slobbery notifications, and overall sluggishness. The 8.0.1 update rolled out on 24th September continued to add to the agony of users as they lost their networks and Apple had to instruct mass roll back of the update and is currently working on a new update which hopefully restores normality to the devices.