A new client note from KeyBanc Capital Markets claims the iPhone 7 is selling more units than the iPhone 8 after surveying wireless carrier stores, according to a Reuters report.
The KeyBanc analyst said that a “meaningful portion” of customers were choosing the less expensive iPhone 7 instead of the iPhone 8. If true, the note calls into question Apple’s decision to release two new phones at the same time.
The customers in the report cited a “lack of significant enhancements” to the iPhone 8 as the reason they chose to purchase the iPhone 7 instead. There’s also the price.
The iPhone 7 now starts at $549, and the iPhone 8 starts at $699 — about $150 difference. The two phones certainly look alike, since the iPhone 8 sports the same basic design profile, which has been around since release of the iPhone 6 in 2014.
There are come major caveats to the survey, though. For starters, there are no concrete sales numbers to support it, and the data only included responses from wireless carriers. That means that customers who bought new phones at Apple Stores or online from Apple weren’t included, so there’s likely a big chunk of new iPhone owners that aren’t represented. Those people could be Apple devotees and more likely to upgrade to the newest phone straight from the source.
But there’s still something to be said about the lack of excitement for the iPhone 8, which has been apparent from moment the phone was released on Sept. 22. The reception for the new handset was muted in London, and I visited two Apple Stores in New York City and found more people wanting to talk about the iPhone X than the brand new devices on display in front of them.
Wireless carriers are rolling out new promotions to build more excitement around the iPhone 8 to boost sales. Sprint recently slashed the phone’s price, offering promotions for up to $350 off the starting price.
So what should you do? Imagine the iPhone X is out of the picture (and with rumors that supplies won’t be able to meet demand well into 2018, that could very well be the reality for most buyers), and you need a new iPhone today.
The iPhone 8 is faster than last year’s model with Apple’s brand new A11 bionic chip inside, and it has a better camera, a new TrueTone display, and most importantly, a new glass back design for wireless charging. The iPhone 7 doesn’t have these things — but you save $150.
The iPhone 8 might not be worth the extra cost if you’re already happy with your iPhone 7 — but if you’re upgrading from a iPhone 6 or 6S and money isn’t a concern, the 8 is clearly the superior phone.
Apple representatives didn’t respond to our questions about the iPhone 8 sales concerns, so we still can’t say exactly what’s going on here. The biggest test could be what happens when the iPhone X hits the market next month.
If consumers who are upgrading decide to skip the wait for the iPhone X and chose the iPhone 7 instead, that’s when Apple will really have an issue.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project.
He is a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.