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Apple's top global mobile phone sales list: is there a super cycle to buy an iPhone?

via:博客园     time:2021/3/1 18:46:26     readed:109

This generation of iPhone, the driving force of replacement is unprecedented.

In previous articles, we said that the iPhone 12 is very attractive to be replaced, and the actual results are indeed similar to what we said. According to data released by Gartner, the data organization, apple became the world's largest smartphone manufacturer in the fourth quarter of 2020.

In the last quarter of 2020, Apple sold 80 million new iPhones, accounting for 20% of the total mobile phone market. Compared with the same period last year, Apple's sales increased by 10 million. This is the first time that Apple has surpassed Samsung since 2016.


Data from:Gartner

Gartner said that the super high sales volume of the iPhone in the fourth quarter was directly related to the iPhone 12 series, which was also believed by many people that the iPhone 12 caught up with the super cycle of iPhone sales and contributed to the sales trend.

So, what is the super cycle, and what magic does it have to make mobile phones sell well?

What is the super cycle

Generally speaking, super cycle refers to the phenomenon that users with old iPhones are attracted by new iPhones and buy a large number of iPhones to form a wave of replacement.

This has something to do with the development of technology. Although today's chips are not developed in full accordance with Moore's law, the overall performance of hardware and software has been improved, and the software has eaten more performance to promote product iteration.


The iPhone itself has a similar development situation. For example, the previous iPhone digital suffix and s suffix series have obvious iterations of technology upgrading and minor appearance changes. This also leads to a big product change for iPhone in 2-3 years, attracting old users to change.

Of course, the actual situation does not necessarily change in strict accordance with Apple's plan. Take the iPhone 6 series, which impresses many iPhone users, as an example. It is widely regarded as the highest selling iPhone and one of the highest selling phones in history, with a total sales of 220 million.


Many people attribute the high sales of the iPhone 6 series to the fact that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus have raised the screen size of the iPhone to a new height, which is quite different from the previous iPhones.

However, it can not be ignored that the hot sales of the iPhone 6 series also catch up with the rapid development of the smartphone market. According to the statistics released by statista, from 2007 to 2018, the global iPhone sales reached the peak in 2015.


Data fromStatista, Apple will no longer announce iPhone sales after 2018

This year is just the year after the launch of the iPhone 6 series. Before that, with the development of the smartphone market, iPhone sales increased year by year, and stabilized after 2015.

The super cycle of the iPhone 6 generation is caused by the change of feature phone users, the flow of Android camp users, and the replacement of old iPhone users.

Performance, shape, endurance

What factors will cause the super cycle? I'm afraid it depends on the development of smart phones. The characteristics of mobile phones are different in different times, people's demand for replacement is different, and the reasons for the super cycle are also different.


Let's go back to 2007. The launch of the early iPhone led to the trend of smart phones. When it came to the iPhone 4, apple brought its first self-developed processor A4. Since then, the chip has been updated every year. At the beginning, the biggest factor affecting the replacement of smart phones was the hardware performance.

Thanks to the leading performance of A-Series chips and the development strategy of Apple's integration of software and hardware, the iPhone is often used for a longer time, and the replacement cycle is often longer compared with Android.

With the improvement of hardware performance year by year, the attraction of performance in the hearts of users is not so strong now. After all, the experience improvement brought by performance is not as high as that in 2007, and the replacement cycle of smart phones is also growing.


Data source:Aurora big data

In the research report released by Aurora big data at the end of 2019, it was mentioned that 54.4% of domestic smart phone users had a replacement cycle of more than 2 years, and 24.7% had a replacement cycle of more than 3 years.

In recent years, the battery capacity of both iPhone and Android phones has been greatly improved. There are even 5000 MAH phones, and the battery capacity of iPhone 4 is only 1420 MAH.


The battery capacity reaches 5000 MAH

Moreover, the improved battery capacity is also consumed by the upgraded processor, high refresh rate, high-quality screen and faster network. The capacity is greatly improved, but the endurance is not necessarily improved.

Fast charging has become a compromise, and the increasing fast charging power is also attracting people to change. Although the iPhone 12 series is not equipped with a fast charging charger in the package, the 20W fast charging and 15W MagSafe magnetic suction charger are still attractive to the users of old iPhones.

As mentioned above, most of them promote users to change their phones by means of technology elimination, thus forming a super cycle phenomenon. The appearance and related technology of mobile phones can attract users through their own selling points.


Picture from:Apple Explained

Looking back on the development of the iPhone over the years, we can find that it also has obvious appearance design changes, from the mellow shape of the early iPhone, the sandwich design style of glass and metal on the iPhone 4, to the metal integrated fuselage of the iPhone 6.

On the iPhone 12 series, right angle borders, flat screens and even glass back covers are back. From the early iPhone to the iPhone 12 series, there are four stages and four design forms.

During this period, the screen has also grown a lot, from 3.5 inches to 6.7 inches of today's iPhone 12. Together, they make up the iteration of the shape of the mobile phone, which also leads to the renewal of users.


Today, with more and more functions of mobile phones and more and more consumption time of major apps, mobile phones have become one of the most intimate electronic devices for people. People also need to use it to flaunt its features, which is also one of the important reasons why the change of mobile phone shape can promote the renewal of users.

Even because of the similar shape of the same mobile phone, a huge mobile phone shell market has been extended. Their function is not only to protect the mobile phone, but also a fashion accessory.

Whether a mobile phone can be used all the time depends on the system and software

After looking at the hardware factors in the super cycle, let's take a look at the software, which is also an important factor that has been ignored by people all the time. The "deceleration gate" of the iPhone has a lot to do with the software.


The longer a mobile phone is used, the more stuck it is. It may be that the mobile phone manufacturers have reduced the performance of the mobile phone through software regulation in order to ensure the battery life. That's what apple did at the beginning. Many users think that this is Apple's planned elimination strategy. This event is known as the deceleration gate.

Finally, apple adjusted its practice, compensated some users, and added battery health function on IOS system to make it easy for users to see the remaining battery life of their iPhone.


The deceleration gate may only be a special case, but software obsolescence does exist. The most common system update and maintenance cycle is when the hardware function of the mobile phone is normal, because the mobile phone manufacturer no longer provides system update and security update for the model.

Because the system stopped updating and was forced to let out the mobile phone, this is obviously many users are not willing to accept.

Fortunately, Apple has not done so. If you look at the list of models supported by each generation of IOS system, you will find that it is growing gradually. Of course, this is also related to the increasing performance of Apple's A-Series chips year by year.


We counted the updated IOS systems supported by previous iPhones

Of course, the system maintenance cycle often includes the system level supported by the software. Now when you open the app store, you can find that the IOS system version supported by apps like "light face camera" is more than IOS 10, and more popular games like "original God" are only above IOS 9.0, and the latest version of wechat requires IOS 11.0 and above.


However, the iPhone 5C, which is obsolete in IOS 11 system, is already on sale in 2013, and the number of upgraded IOS systems in subsequent products is gradually increasing.

Before we discussed the article review area of the system update and maintenance cycle, many users said that they were still using the iPhone 6S. At most, they just need to change the battery. Even the latest IOS 14 system supports the iPhone 6S, but it's a mobile phone launched in 2015.


Picture from:cnet

The system update cycle was also one of the reasons why Apple ridiculed the fragmentation of Android system upgrade. Due to Google's open source Android system, the major Android mobile phone manufacturers can not quickly upgrade their products to the new system. Moreover, there are many types of Android mobile phones, and upgrading the system is also a large work.

Until 2018, Google launched the protable mechanism, inviting mainstream Android manufacturers to participate in part of the underlying compilation work of the new Android system, and speeding up the progress of system update. At the beginning of this year, it announced that it would cooperate with Qualcomm to promote the mobile phones equipped with Qualcomm chips to support 4-year Android system update and security update, and improve the update speed.

Compared with the previous two-year or three-year update cycle, it has improved a lot, especially for the unpopular mobile phones.


Picture from:Tech talk today

In general, whether Android or IOS, the system update and maintenance will remain at a high level in the future, and the replacement cycle of ordinary users will also grow further. The smart phone industry has become mature, and it has become a new business for mobile phone manufacturers to drive the sales of other devices and even sales services with smart phones as the entrance

Hardware and software obsolescence is being solved. Where will the next super cycle be

Although mobile phone manufacturers are looking for and developing new business, it does not mean that they will reduce their investment in mobile phone business. Apple's top sales of global smart phones in the fourth quarter of 2020 is the best proof.


In recent years, especially in the past year of 2020, mobile phone manufacturers such as huami ov are trying to take advantage of 5g to attack the high-end mobile phone market. However, after Huawei has achieved certain results, it has encountered a chip supply crisis, and the shipment volume will decline accordingly.

Of course, the epidemic in 2020 has also caused a certain shortage of chips and the inability of offline stores to operate, all of which have affected the sales of mobile phones to a certain extent, making Apple's rise against the trend even more special.

The market data of the fourth quarter of 2020 is actually a result of the re ranking of major mobile phone manufacturers when they rush to the high end and face-to-face with apple.


Judging from the current situation, Apple has indeed caught up with the super cycle in the iPhone 12 series.

Gartner also pointed out in the analysis of quarterly data that 5g and its excellent photography features have attracted many users to buy new machines. I also asked some friends around me. Apart from the part that is changed every year, many people changed their iPhone 8 plus and iPhone x to iPhone 12 because iPhone 12 is the first mobile phone that supports 5g.

Interestingly, the IOS 14 on the iPhone 12 series has just removed the support for the iPhone 6 series, which is the profiteer of the last super cycle. It can not be ruled out that some users have indeed upgraded from the iPhone 6 series, and the number of users holding this phone is indeed the largest in all previous generations.


No one will talk about whether the iPhone 6S is worth upgrading the new IOS system this year

At this stage, an iPhone can support up to six generations of IOS system, and Android has also been upgraded to a four-year update cycle. With the rapid improvement of A-Series chip performance and more convenient battery replacement, the hard elimination conditions of performance, software, endurance and system limitations are being solved, and the impact on people is getting smaller and smaller.

5g, a new communication technology, also needs a lot of time to develop. What's more, higher network speed can not bring better experience. It still depends on specific consumption scenarios or consumption content.

With fewer and fewer factors affecting the mandatory replacement, the technology that can bring breakthrough experience is becoming more and more important. As smartphones become more and more mature, what should we rely on to promote the "super cycle" effect? I'm afraid that all mobile phone manufacturers, including apple, need to focus on this issue in the future.


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