Apple iPhone install base is still heavy on the iPhone 4/4S, giving prospects for massive upgrades ahead
Some analysts have low expectations about how the iPhone 6 (or whatever it ends up being called) will sell following its anticipated announcement later this year. However, there is another metric we should consider, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
When people think of Apple, they think of the iPhone, plain and simple. Analysts at Morgan Stanley made a chart compiling the ownership of iPhone users by device generation. We will first note that the survey and research shows some errors. The iPhone 3GS or older is not compatible with the incumbent networks of Verizon or Sprint, so we will chalk that up to common margins of error when it comes to surveying.
What is most interesting is that the bulk of iPhone owners are still using the iPhone 4 or 4S. They were either locked into contracts or were simply not endeared to upgrade to the iPhone 5 generation of devices. The thinking of some of these folks on Wall Street is that Apple is going to have a bumper harvest when the iPhone 6 drops and those folks on what will be three-generation-old equipment will finally upgrade.
Given the percentages with the United States’ two largest carriers, that accounts for many tens-of-millions of units that may be upgraded. Apple has been playing the iPhone evolution conservatively. If this data user data is accurate, then these are potential sales that are arguably Apple’s to lose.
source: Business Insider
1. ihavenoname (Posts: 1560; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
I've noticed the same thing. When I sit at the bus, or train, or restaurant, or walk at the street, almost everybody or at least couple have 4/4S. (I live in Helsinki, Finland). Well, on the other hand GS3 and 920 seem to be very popular also after 520.
35. icyrock1 (Posts: 306; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)
Yep. Same thing here in the US. While us more Tech savvy users like having the latest and greatest, -we are the minority-. Lots of people are just fine keeping the same phone for two or three years.
2. likemorethan1 (Posts: 48; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)
In the end, they're like Steve's legacy though
3. networkdood (Posts: 6329; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
My wife had the Verizon i4, but, after awhile there were some apps that were not working - now she has an AT&T i5C and is happy, again...oh well, no one is perfect.
4. baldilocks (Posts: 561; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)
That chart isn't even correct. The iPhone wasn't even available on Verizon, let alone Sprint, until the iPhone 4.....
7. Maxwell.R (Posts: 186; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)
Hence the part where we wrote: "We will first note that the survey and research shows some errors. The iPhone 3GS or older is not compatible with the incumbent networks of Verizon or Sprint, so we will chalk that up to common margins of error when it comes to surveying." Also, AT&T and Verizon did trade some properties which meant that some customer base might have had AT&T sourced iPhones from a previous generation. Still, it is more likely a survey error, "Which iPhone do you have?" "I don't know, I get 3G with it." - etc...
12. a_merryman (Posts: 744; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)
That they could make such blaring mistakes such as saying there were iPhones before the 4 on VZW and before the 4S on Sprint kind of calls into question the integrity of the survey and analysis. Heck, if this is the kind of rigorous research needed to work at Morgan Stanley I should see if my 8 year old cousin could get a job (I kid).
But really, it does seem that it isn't unfair to call into question the actual stats they give us for the rest if that is the type of stringent quality control they put in place. Not that I would imagine the analysis or data would change very much, I myself am still on a 4S as well as 2 other family members. So I personally am waiting to upgrade, even if that is just anecdotal evidence to support their claims.
13. Finalflash (Posts: 1983; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
I dont see how they couldn't just be unlocked devices on different networks. People with jailbreak and unlocked phones could easily use those networks (gsm).
16. a_merryman (Posts: 744; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)
VZW and Sprint use CDMA (and LTE now), the first iPhone to have CDMA included was the iPhone 4, and that still didn't work with Sprint. Sprint didn't get an iPhone until the 4S. Even if the person had an unlocked iPhone 3GS on AT&T, they still wouldn't be able to take it to VZW or Sprint as it doesn't have the necessary network technology in it.
50. chebner (Posts: 150; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
You are correct that Sprint didn't get the iPhone until the 4s was released but Sprint did get the 4 at the same time or a short time later. My daughter has an iPhone 4 on Sprint; she's had it about 18 months.
It was painfully slow when she got it but she insisted on an iPhone and I wasnt going to shell out $200 on a 4s for a 5th grader. Trying to convince her to go Android when she upgrades. She likes the look of my ONE M8.
36. tedkord (Posts: 5897; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
They always sold previous generations, so once the 4 released did they release the 3gs with Verizon bands? I'm asking, I honestly don't know.
44. a_merryman (Posts: 744; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)
No, they just continued selling those phones as is. VZW only had the 4 to start out with
45. Jommick (Posts: 213; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)
It could also be there's a good enough portion of people who literally took a CDMA antenna and replaced the GSM antenna in their 3GS - far less common than 3% though
5. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
As the iPhone 4 and 4S are often free on contract, I wonder how much of the iPhone 4/4S installed base is just people who couldn't afford the 5/5c/5s.
41. Jommick (Posts: 213; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)
It's quite a bit. A large percentage of my sales are people who want an 8gb iphone 4/4s. Heck, there are still people who get the iphone 4s for $0,99 USD.
6. ThePython (Posts: 483; Member since: 08 May 2013)
I'm not surprised at all. Most iPhones I see here are either 4/4s. Although I do see the 5/5s from time to time. Never a 5c. Lol.
15. xoxoGeorges (Posts: 208; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Only time I've seen the 5c is in a store lmao.
27. dontneedtoknow (Posts: 154; Member since: 17 Feb 2014)
It's really popular with teens! Most people at my school have iPhone 5c. I have seen more than 30
8. PermanentHiatus (Posts: 267; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)
Poor iPhone 4 and 4S users, can't connect to LTE :(
9. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
Who cares? The carriers have ruined LTE with high prices, ridiculous data caps and rapacious overage fees.
37. tedkord (Posts: 5897; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Being as I'm on Verizon, I'd care. I've lived through Verizon's 3g, it's worse than the dialup I had at home a decade ago. I was getting like 5kbps max. Every once in a while I hit an area with 3g, my phone is unusable.
48. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 1060; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
in australia 4g(LTE) is faster then anything we are able to get at home lol !
39. xche78x (Posts: 101; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)
yeah ISP's are crap, having a very small limit (data cap) defeats the purpose of having fast internet connection. worse are the philippines telco's in asia, they cap their slow 4g lte (1.0-2.5Mb) to 1.5gb a month data download, imagine a single HD documentary to watch on youtube then its almost no internet with 2g for the rest of the month... 3g is spotty too, you get 2Mb connection on some areas then almost zero on some areas.. one can even get zero internet even if the 3g signal is on full bars... 3g has 800mb daily cap which is better than 4g lte's cap. All phillipines telco's cheat their customers with having expensive, inconsistent and intermittent service. Support is next to non-existent unless you are a business plan subscriber. One you signed their contract you are doomed to pay for incompetent service and are forced to pay termination fee if you want to sign out of their sucky internet connection... many people who signed up for 3-5Mbps LTE home service for globe only get average of 0.02-0.6Mbps, calling tech support will only make you pull your hair and vomit in disgust....
my iphone 4s is getting sluggish even though i only installed few messaging apps.... probably time for upgrade when ip6 comes out
10. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
LOL...South Korea already have LTE-Advance, so don't be proud of having LTE. And also, some countries still don't have LTE.
LTE is not everything.
20. power_x (Posts: 252; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
In Egypt they don't even have proper 3G networks
49. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 1060; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
well it depends on where you are and yet they've started implementing LTE networks !
11. Sauce (unregistered)
LTE is glorified unreliable 3g .
14. Finalflash (Posts: 1983; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Are you joking or something? 4g is bloody amazing here in the UK. My bro is on EE and his 4g is always great but kinda slow at 30 mbps. I went with 3 since I live in London or Manchester usually and the 4g is usually a ridiculous 40+ mbps. Even my 3g is about 20 mbps though but with unlimited 4g I literally watch HD videos exclusively anytime.
21. skinny95black (Posts: 113; Member since: 06 Jan 2013)
You got spoiled with here in sudan 3.75 Is maximum and the download rate with it is 100 kb when you're lucky it's sometimes it's not even 1 kb download speed on a phone doesn't matter that much as lobg as it good eniugh to load pages anf download perfectly
25. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1313; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
You must not be on Verizon. If it wasn't for my data cap I would be downloading between 15 to 20 gigs a month.
29. Sauce (unregistered)
Im on Verizon. I'd rather have consistent slow 3g than unreliable uncovered LTE.
38. tedkord (Posts: 5897; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Do you live in the Ozarks? I literally get LTE 99% of the places I go where I live. It's actually more reliable than the 3g was back in the day. (I'm on Verizon)
19. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3434; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
The biggest problem with those is the ridiculously small screen lol.
22. superfans (Posts: 153; Member since: 30 Jul 2012)
LTE r not available in many countries. In my country , LTE is not often stable and LTE coverage is only available around the big city and my phone often show LTE but as slow as 3G. LTE is pretty useless here , might be useful in the future but nt now as the carrier are trying hard to expand LTE coverage.
17. shuaibhere (Posts: 1737; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
Imo these are people who can't afford ip5/5s.....
So even if they upgrade they will not go with ip6....they'll settle for ip5...
42. PBXtech (Posts: 994; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
Why not. The older models will always be on discount. If I was going the iPhone route, I'd get the model 1 year older instead of paying the high price of the newer model.
23. superfans (Posts: 153; Member since: 30 Jul 2012)
iPhone 4s is still the best as 5 and 5s do nt have much improvement. The only problem about 4s is the ram which I often have to close up some apps to free up ram.
24. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1313; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
I don't plan on upgrading my wife's iPhone until next year because I know that Apple will update it and it will run the same. That being said I will take her upgrade and get a Android device. It's the only thing I like about Apple. I hate everything else.
26. papss (unregistered)
My wife had a 4 that I finally got her away from and jumped her to a L1020.. I thought I would never get her to love something other than Apple but I was wrong.
28. j2001m (Posts: 340; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)
Sorry crap post, there are so many 4and 4s as apple have been selling them for years as the low end iphone uprade I.e. when they upgrade they move to some other phone or the cheap iPhone for that year like 6c
31. Stuntman (Posts: 808; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)
This chart is misleading. The 4 and 4S came out in different years. Why combine these numbers together when you list the 5 separate from the 5S/5C?
They should list the 4 separate from the 4S. That way you have the 5S/5C which is this year's models. The 5 which is last year's . Then the 4S which is the year before that. Then the 4 which is the year before that.
33. Awalker (Posts: 653; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
You can combine the numbers by adding them together if that floats your boat. And I think they combined the 4 and 4S numbers because a lot of those users probably don't know which version they have. They got the iPhone that was free on contract.
32. NoFanboy (Posts: 269; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)
Most iPhones I see here are 4s. If Apple plays their cards right all of these people will upgrade to the i6
43. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
I guess if Apple makes the iPhone 6 free, this will happen.
34. Awalker (Posts: 653; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
Most people who are still rocking an iPhone 4 and 4s probably don't have the money to purchase an iPhone 6. I don't think you're going to see a massive upgrade.
40. Apoorvtheman (Posts: 42; Member since: 25 Jun 2012)
Here in india I see a lot of iPhone 4/4s and iPhone 5s then comes galaxy grand,micromax, xperia m and 520
46. kent.carandang (Posts: 8; Member since: 28 Mar 2014)
Fool Apple they should lower the price of the current iPhone flagships so anyone can upgrade...thats why windows phone passes IOS in 24 countries...iOS is very wonderful but I can't afford to buy any one of those...I'm using 520 and I really love it
47. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
yes this is true,, I see tons of ip4 and 4s ...
51. nodnarb (Posts: 33; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)
i'm a college student at a large public school and around campus the 4/4s is still the most popular, but you do see the 5/5c/5s gaining an increasing presence over time. the 5c is decently popular as well because it is cheaper than the 5s. one things for sure, college students definitely love their iphones