Apple's most popular iPhone 11 variant in the US may come as a surprise to many

Apple's most popular iPhone 11 variant in the US may come as a surprise to many
The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max are (almost) here, with pre-orders underway for nearly a week now and in-store sales scheduled to kick off tomorrow, September 20. Unfortunately, Apple no longer reports iPhone volumes, focusing instead on revenue only, so we're left paying especially close attention to third-party analysts and market research firms for rough evaluations and predictions of the new lineup's mainstream popularity.

Despite not exactly overhauling the designs of their forerunners, the iPhone 11-series devices seem to be drawing a fair amount of attention thanks primarily to a bunch of major camera upgrades and significant battery life improvements. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the entry-level variant is that it undercuts last year's iPhone XR, starting at a very reasonable price of $699, which basically guarantees its future spot at the top of the world's best-selling mobile device chart

But while the non-Pro iPhone 11 appears to be outselling its higher-end siblings globally already, a new Wedbush research note (via 9To5Mac) points to a somewhat unexpected leader of the individual model rankings in the US so far.

Strong demand reported for the 256GB iPhone 11 Pro

It's true, the configuration highlighted by Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe as the most popular among all iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max models stateside is one that costs $1,149. Keep in mind that you can get the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone 11 Pro for 150 bucks less as well, but that particular variant only comes with 64 gigs of internal storage space, essentially forcing digital hoarders to splash the cash for four times as much room to locally stash their content.

It's a brilliant but incredibly irritating strategy on Apple's part that tends to work like a charm, puffing up its profits as the competition rarely goes below 128GB as the starting point of flagship handsets nowadays.

In terms of paint jobs, space gray and gold are reportedly proving popular with "certain models/carriers" among early iPhone 11 series adopters, even though the swanky new Midnight Green option made serious waves on social media immediately after last week's announcement event. That suggests US buyers might be more conservative than expected, which explains why they don't seem bothered by the fact the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max look almost identical to the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max from 2018.

Stronger than expected overall demand for the iPhone 11 family worldwide

While this fall's iPhone sales numbers are unlikely to break any records, Wedbush is lifting its forecast from around 70 million to more than 75 million "launch units." China could be the surprise growth driver of the iPhone 11 lineup, despite intensifying trade tensions, as anywhere between 60 and 70 million iPhone owners in the region are estimated to be in the so-called "window of an upgrade opportunity."

That basically means these people are using an iPhone that's at least three years old, and although some of them will no doubt switch to the Android side, many are expected to be swayed by the price tag, dual camera system, and eye-catching colors of the "standard" iPhone 11. All in all, there might be as many as 300 million iPhone users around the world in this "upgrade window", which will likely lead to long lines at flagship stores tomorrow and steady demand over the next few months.

Apple could be looking at selling more than 185 million units during the entire fiscal year of 2020 now, which would represent a modest growth over the FY19 results at a time of general mobile industry stagnation. We're obviously talking 185 million iPhone shipments overall, including both new and old models, a number that the Cupertino-based tech giant could use to cement its "next chapter" of growth, i.e. services like Apple TV+ and Arcade.

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