Apple has reached the top of the global mobile phone sales list. Is there really a super cycle to buy an iPhone?

This generation of iPhone has an unprecedentedly strong driving force for replacement.

In the previous article, we said that the iPhone 12 is very attractive for replacement, and the actual results are indeed similar to what we said. According to data released by the data agency Gartner, Apple became the world's largest smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2020. manufacturer.

In the last quarter of 2020, Apple sold 80 million new iPhones, accounting for 20% of the entire mobile phone market, and sales increased by 10 million units compared to the same period last year. This is the first time Apple has surpassed Samsung since 2016.

▲ Data from: Gartner

Gartner stated that the iPhone’s ultra-high sales volume in the fourth quarter is directly related to the iPhone 12 series, and many people believe that the iPhone 12 has caught up with the iPhone’s super cycle of sales and contributed to the sales wave.

So, what is a super cycle, and what magic does it have to make mobile phones a big seller?

What is a super cycle

Generally speaking, the super cycle refers to the phenomenon that users of old iPhones are attracted by the new ones, and large purchases form a wave of replacements.

This is also related to the development of technology. Although today's chips are not developed in full accordance with Moore's Law, the hardware and software as a whole still maintain the improvement of hardware performance, and the software eats more performance to promote product iteration.

Similar developments exist in the iPhone itself. Like the previous iPhone digital suffix and S suffix series, there are obvious iterations of technological upgrades and minor changes in appearance. This has also caused the iPhone to usher in a major product change in 2-3 years, attracting Old users change machines.

Of course, the actual situation does not necessarily change strictly according to Apple’s plans. Take the iPhone 6 series, which has impressed many iPhone users. It is widely regarded as the highest-selling iPhone and one of the highest-selling mobile phones in history. The total sales volume reached 220 million units.

The reason why the iPhone 6 series can achieve such high sales, many people attribute it to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which have raised the screen size of the iPhone to a new height, which is quite different from the previous iPhone.

However, it cannot be ignored that the hot sales of the iPhone 6 series also caught up with the rapid development of the smartphone market. According to statistics released by the data agency Statista, global iPhone sales reached its peak in 2015 from 2007 to 2018.

▲ Data comes from Statista , Apple will no longer announce iPhone sales after 2018

This year happens to be the next year after the release of the iPhone 6 series. Previously, iPhone sales have increased year by year with the development of the smartphone market, and have stabilized after 2015.

The replacement of feature phone users, the flow of Android camp users, and the replacement of old iPhone users with new ones have contributed to the super cycle of the iPhone 6 generation.

Performance, shape, battery life

What factors will cause the super cycle of replacement? I am afraid that it will also be based on the development of smart phones. Different eras have different characteristics of mobile phones, people’s needs for replacement are also different, and the reasons for the super cycle are also different.

Let's set the time back to 2007. The launch of the original iPhone led to the trend of smart phones, and when the iPhone 4 came Apple brought the first self-developed processor A4. Since then, the chip has been updated every year. Smart phones started The biggest factor affecting the replacement is the hardware performance.

Thanks to the leading performance of the A-series chips and Apple's development strategy of integrating software and hardware, the iPhone tends to last longer, and the replacement cycle is often longer compared with Android.

With the improvement of hardware performance year by year, the attractiveness of performance in the hearts of users is no longer so strong. 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 increasing.

▲ Data source: Aurora Big Data

Aurora Big Data's research report released at the end of 2019 mentioned that the proportion of domestic smartphone users with a replacement cycle of more than 2 years has reached 54.4%, and that of users with a replacement cycle of more than 3 years has reached 24.7%.

Of course, the performance improvement also increases the power consumption to a certain extent, which leads to another important factor that affects the super cycle of the replacement-battery life.

In recent years, whether it is an iPhone or an Android phone, the battery capacity has been greatly improved, and even a 5000 mAh mobile phone has appeared, and the battery capacity of the iPhone 4 is only 1420 mAh.

▲ The battery capacity of moto edge s has reached 5000 mAh

Moreover, the increased battery capacity is also consumed by upgraded processors, high-quality screens with high refresh rates, faster networks, etc. The capacity has increased greatly, but the battery life is not necessarily improved.

Fast charging has become a compromise solution. The ever-increasing fast charging power is also attracting people to change phones. Although the iPhone 12 series is not equipped with a fast charging charger in the package, the 20w fast charging and 15w Magsafe magnetic chargers, It is still quite attractive to users who have old iPhones.

Most of the things mentioned above are to encourage users to switch phones through technological elimination, and then form a super cycle phenomenon, and the appearance and related craftsmanship of mobile phones can properly attract users through the selling points of the mobile phones themselves.

▲ Picture from: Apple Explained

Looking back at the development of the iPhone over the years, you will find that it also has obvious design changes, from the rounded shape of the original iPhone, the sandwich design style of glass and metal on the iPhone 4, to the metal integrated body of the iPhone 6.

On the iPhone 12 series, the right-angle frame, flat screen and even the return of the glass back cover. From the first generation iPhone to the iPhone 12 series, there have been 4 phases and 4 design changes.

During this period, the screen has also gained considerable growth, from 3.5 inches to the current iPhone 12's 6.7 inches. Together, they form the shape iteration of the mobile phone, which also promotes the replacement of users.

Today, with more and more functions of mobile phones and more and more time spent on major apps, mobile phones have become one of people’s most intimate electronic devices. People also need to carry it with them to advertise their features. This is also a change in the shape of mobile phones. One of the important reasons that can promote users to renew.

Even because the same mobile phone has a similar shape, it extends a very large mobile phone case market. Their role is not only to protect the phone, but also a fashion accessory.

Whether the mobile phone can be used forever depends on the system and software

After reading the hardware factors in the super cycle, let's take a look at the software. This is also an important factor that people have always ignored. The iPhone's "speed door" has a lot to do with software.

The longer the mobile phone is used, the longer it gets stuck. It may be that the mobile phone manufacturer reduced the performance of the mobile phone through software regulation in order to ensure battery life. This is what Apple did at the beginning. Many users think this is Apple’s planned elimination strategy. This incident is called Speed ​​down the door.

In the end, Apple adjusted its approach, compensated some users, and added a battery health function to the iOS system to facilitate users to check the remaining battery life of their iPhone.

The speed reduction door may be only a special case, but the form of software elimination does exist. The most common system update and maintenance cycle is when the hardware functions of the mobile phone are normal, but because the mobile phone manufacturer no longer provides system updates, Security update.

Obviously, many users are unwilling to accept the forced elimination of mobile phones because the system has stopped updating.

Fortunately, Apple did not do this. If you carefully check the list of models supported by each generation of iOS system, you will find that it is gradually increasing. Of course, this is also related to the year-on-year performance growth of Apple's A-series chips.

▲We have counted the updated iOS systems supported by iPhones of the past generations

Of course, the system maintenance cycle often includes the system level supported by the software. Now you can open the App Store and you can find that the iOS system version supported by apps like "Light Camera" is already iOS 10 or higher, and more popular games, like "Yuan Shen" is only iOS 9.0 and above, and the latest version of WeChat requires iOS 11.0 and above.

However, the iPhone 5C, which was eliminated in the iOS 11 system, was already a product released in 2013, and the number of iOS systems that can be upgraded for subsequent products is also gradually increasing.

In the comment section of our previous article discussing the system update and maintenance cycle, many users said that they are still using iPhone 6S, and at most they only need to change the battery. Even the latest iOS 14 system supports iPhone 6S, but this is a version. A mobile phone released in 2015.

▲ Picture from: cnet

The system update cycle was also one of the reasons why Apple ridiculed the fragmentation of the Android system upgrade. Since Google has open sourced the Android system, major Android phone manufacturers cannot quickly upgrade their products to the new system, not to mention that there are many Android phone models and upgrades. The system is also a large job.

Until 2018, Google launched the Protable mechanism, inviting mainstream Android manufacturers to participate in part of the low-level compilation of the new Android system to speed up the system update process. At the beginning of this year, it announced a joint Qualcomm to promote mobile phones equipped with Qualcomm chips to support 4 years of Android system updates and security. Update and improve the update speed.

Compared with the previous 2 or 3 years, the update cycle has improved a lot, especially for unpopular mobile phones.

▲ Picture from: Tech talk today

On the whole, regardless of Android or iOS, future system update and maintenance will be maintained to a high level, and the replacement cycle of ordinary users will also increase further. The smartphone industry has matured, and smartphones are the entrance to drive Other equipment sales and even sales services have become new businesses for mobile phone manufacturers

Hardware and software obsolescence are being resolved, where will the next super cycle be?

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

In recent years, especially in the past 2020, mobile phone manufacturers such as Huami OV are trying to use the east wind of 5G to impact the high-end mobile phone market. However, after Huawei has achieved certain results, it has encountered a chip supply crisis, and its shipments have also increased. Then it drops.

Of course, the 2020 epidemic has also caused a certain chip shortage, offline stores cannot be opened, etc., which have affected the sales of mobile phones to a certain extent, which also makes Apple's bucking trend even more special.

The market data for the fourth quarter of 2020 is actually a result of the re-ranking of major mobile phone manufacturers rushing to the high end and facing Apple.

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

In the analysis of quarterly data, Gartner also pointed out that 5G and excellent photographic features have attracted many users to buy new phones. I also asked some friends around me. Except for the part that is replaced every year, many people are still because the iPhone 12 is The first mobile phone that supports 5G has replaced the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with iPhone 12.

What’s interesting is that the iOS 14 on the iPhone 12 series just removed the support for the iPhone 6 series, the winner of the last super cycle. It cannot be ruled out that some users have indeed upgraded from the iPhone 6 series and own this phone. Of users are indeed the largest number of iPhone holders in the past.

▲ This year, no one will talk about whether the iPhone 6S is worth upgrading to the new iOS system

At this stage, an iPhone can support up to 6-generation iOS systems, and Android has also been upgraded to a 4-year update cycle. In addition, the performance of the A-series chips has been greatly improved, and battery replacement has become more and more convenient. Performance, software, battery life, system limitations, etc. The hard conditions for elimination are being resolved, and the impact on people is getting smaller and smaller.

And 5G, a new communication technology, also requires a lot of time to develop, not to mention that higher network speeds do not bring a better experience, which still depends on specific consumption scenarios or consumption content.

There are fewer and fewer influencing factors for forced replacement of phones, and technologies that can bring breakthrough experiences are becoming more and more important. With smart phones becoming more and more mature, what is needed to promote the "super cycle" effect? Probably it is an issue that all mobile phone manufacturers, including Apple, need to focus on in the future.

The title picture comes from: unsplash

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