Support for older iPhones helps Apple rake in revenue
A new report about iPhone usage in the United States points out that Apple’s support of older models helps to maintain a healthy second-hand market, challenging Android pricing.
The iPhone has always enjoyed a long lifespan, with users keeping their devices for quite a few years after purchase. Apple’s handling of older models has helped it become the dominant smartphone in use in the United States.
In an article discussing iPhone ownership, the Wall Street Journal attempts to explain how Apple has become the most-used smartphone in the United States, and manages to profit from it.
Referring to reports from Counterpoint Research, Apple’s share of in-use cellphones in the U.S. crossed the 50% mark for the first time. As of December, iPhones made up 52.5% of smartphones in use in the country, with analyst Hanish Bhatia believing the number will keep creeping up until changes are made on the Android side.
The growth is in part due to how Apple continues to support its older smartphone models, with software upgrades issued to devices sold as early as 2017. This policy led to iPhones having a “considerable afterlife,” and being handed down or resold to two or three owners.
The lifecycle starts with the purchase of a new smartphone, often at a hefty premium because users want the most features they can afford, for something they’re going to use for quite a while. They’re also more likely to buy into Apple’s various services, as part of the wider Apple ecosystem.
Parallels are made with the auto market, in that they are “expensive and durable,” but for most, older models are “more than good enough.” Add in trade-ins with carriers and the hefty second-hand market, and there’s another parallel.
Another factor playing into the effect is Apple’s premium pricing, with the cost of iPhones rising to an average price of more than $900 in the 2022-2023 holiday season. This is a 10% rise from one year prior.
Apple does offer new…