The unofficially named iPhone 8 will make its official debut on September 12 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple’s newly built headquarters in Cupertino. With it also being the 10-year anniversary since the original iPhone was released. This coming Tuesday is shaping up to be a very grand affair.
Now for the 30-billion-dollar question. Will the new iPhone sales be a hit or miss?
While the answer may not be so clear, one thing remains certain; Apple will be facing stiff competition, not only from Samsung but from itself. IDC predicts the used smartphone market forecast to grow to $30 billion by 2020 and Deloitte is forecasting the growth rate of the used smartphone market to be 4-5 times higher than the overall smartphone market well through 2020. These forecasts could explain the lackluster 2016, where the world’s most profitable company saw its flagship device sales fall for the first time in history. However, fast forward to Q117, and the iPhone 7 helped Apple sell more units than any of its predecessors. What changed, or hasn’t changed for that matter? Maybe consumers found the processor upgrade and 3D Touch feature not enough to merit an upgrade from the iPhone 6 to the 6s but found the camera and storage upgrades on the iPhone 7 to be worthwhile.
If this is the case, will the rumored OLED display, facial recognition, wireless charging, and a button-less, bezel-less screen be a catalyst for sales? Some analysts believe the price, which is likely exceed the $1,000 mark, will deter that. No matter how the new iPhone performs, the secondary market is primed for action. If the new iPhone achieves a high sales volume, the trade-in volume of used devices will follow suit. If the sticker shock outweighs the customers’ brand affinity and results in low sales volume, the secondary market will be pressured to increase the supply of remarketed devices to meet global demand. Each action results in the same reaction within the secondary market: growth.
The US and other developed countries are not the only players fueling the growth that Deloitte forecasted, as emerging markets and even third-world countries are contributing with the need to proliferate their regions with technology that at one point, was not economically feasible.
Apple’s test of brand loyalty comes at a time where the industry is at a crossroads, from the technology, the providers, and the macroeconomics point of view. The months after September 12 will help forecast whether we are another year closer to the commoditization of the smartphone or if branding still reigns supreme.