Older iPhones comprise almost half of Apple’s U.S. handset sales

By , Jul 22, 2013

iPhone 4S (three-up, Weather, Reminders, Twitter).

Apple’s iPhone 5 accounts for just over half of the company’s smartphone sales, with 48 percent coming from the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, according to new research. That compares to the iPhone 4S which comprised about 75 percent of Apple sales almost a year after launch.

The figures illustrate how a larger portion of Apple’s smartphone revenue is being generated by lower-cost iPhone models, a concern for investors heading into Tuesday’s third-quarter financial report…

Although the iPhone 5′s share of sales briefly rose to 68 percent in October 2012, the level fell to 50 percent by December, rising to 52 percent in June 2013, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, via AllThingsD.

The iPhone 4S – which had 23 percent of iPhone sales in October 2012 – rose to 30 percent of Apple handset sales by June of this year.

Likewise, the iPhone 4 saw its portion of Apple sales double between October 2012 to June 2013, according to the CIRP figures.

iPhone 5 appears to have settled in at about half of all iPhone sales, nine months after its initial launch. In contrast, the earlier flagship model, iPhone 4S, accounted for almost three-quarters of iPhones sales almost a year after its launch.

Furthermore, iPhone 4S had 90 percent of all iPhone sales in the period immediately after launch, compared to 70 percent for iPhone 5.

In other words, the iPhone 4S saw greater initial demand and longer-lasting demand than the iPhone 5.

But why?

CIRP (US iPhone sales split)

One reason for the difference may have been due to the view by consumers that the iPhone 4S had enough new features to be worthy of upgrading the handset.

In another sign that iPhone 4S owners felt there wasn’t enough reason to upgrade to the iPhone 5, the majority of people buying an iPhone either came from Android (26 percent) or from simple feature phones (24 percent.)

Only thirteen percent of iPhone buyers were upgrading from the iPhone 4S.

The findings come as U.S. carriers attempt to spark more smartphone sales by offering more flexible upgrade terms. The new data shows only T-Mobile, which just recently began offering iPhones, is attracting iPhone buyers.

iPhone 5 (black, two-up, flat, front, back)

AT&T, Verizon and Sprint saw their percentage of Apple handset sales fall between March and June. Verizon has announced it may owe Apple billions for unsold iPhones it had pledged to buy.

The numbers also suggest both Apple and the carriers have much to gain by offering an iPhone 5S that is significantly different than the iPhone 5. Perhaps the best feature could be a lower price. There has also been much talk about a mid-range iPhone that could attract price-conscious buyers in emerging markets.

As we’ve seen with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, those marked-down handsets have proved popular both in the U.S. and elsewhere, such as China and India. Likewise, T-Mobile could take advantage of a low-cost handset, since the carrier has positioned itself as the low-cost alternative to the other three wireless providers.

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  • Mohammad Ridwan

    They were once the new iPhone…. :P

  • n0ahcruz3

    Ive said this before i’ll say it again, there is nothing great about the i5 aside from faster processor redesign exterior & 4″ screen which is still dimunitive its no different to 4S when it comes to features, software wise. High end smartphones peaked. Time for a new strategy. Its PC vs. mac all over again.

    • Saeed Ghattas

      Faster processor, redesign, 4 inch screen, lighter, twice the RAM, thinner, less weight and camera sapphire crystal. If those are not enough for you, don’t upgrade :)
      The iPhone 5 is so different than the 4s..

      • n0ahcruz3

        Yup no reason to upgrade. And sales indicate that. Whats good about sapphire crystal lens cover? Same 8 megs no thanks. Hoping for a better feature aside from adding extra row of icons on the home screen hence 4″ taller screen.

      • Luis M. Maldonado

        I agree with you, that’s why I didn’t upgrade there wasn’t a thing that the iPhone 4S couldn’t do compared to the iPhone 5.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        They’re greedily looking to change that in iOS 7 with AirDrop; a function that’s been available on the jailbroken iPhone 3GS via AirBlue Sharing. Just like they did in iOS 5 with Siri.

      • Kurt

        Will AirDrop be available to all devices on iOS 7? Or is this a “find my iPhone” and “HDR” features that were only availble to iphone 4. or “Siri” that was only available to iPhone 4S etc. I was expecting all devices would get this.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        It’s just another of those software features excluded to the latest device. I too was expecting all iOS 7 devices to support AirDrop, as all it is ad-hoc wifi sharing, but then what noteworthy feature would iPhone 5 users be able to boast about to their friends using official iPhone 4S?

      • Piyush

        because it relies on dual wifi band which currently ,ip5 , mini and ipad 4 has,research before you bash.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Yet another ignoramus Apple worshiper. If you’re that desperate to prove your herd master as truthful, what’s your non-iTard explanation for AirBlue sharing that has been offering the same thing on the 3GS? Do you even know what dual band is referring to? You really should consider doing research on a non-Apple website before accepting what your herd master claims…here’s a reasonable place for you and your herd to start:

        bit ly/15diz60

      • Piyush

        there is app for that , its called bump ,you typical anti-apple basher ;).

      • Kurt

        Then AirDrop isn’t working for anyone in the betas? Annoying that we have to jailbreak to get these functions. I’m don’t care about AirDrop since I won’t have an iPhone anymore, only an iPad that I keep at home at all times, so AirDrop won’t be useful to me, but I still don’t like it.

      • leart za jmi

        Ok, no body doubt that the i5 is better since 4s is one year older.
        But 4s is still very powerful, and for my opinion look far more good than i5.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Im with you. I like the 4/4S design the white & silver i5 is ok but the black and slate its hideous IMO. And the scuffs scratches are very visible on the black&slate.

      • Kurt

        I always think the black iphone 5 looks like a tactical phone the police should use when they play army with their AR15s and MRAP vehicles.

      • Saeed Ghattas

        I didn’t say that the 4s isn’t powerful. All I stated is that the iPhone 5 is different in many ways than the 4s.

      • leart za jmi

        The case was it worth to upgrade or not since the most of us have a 4-4s, no doubt about that the i5 is better but is not that better to make use spend for a divece that is similar with what we have already

      • Kurt

        iPhone 4S is much better looking than the iPhone 5. And has the best design in the mobile space since it has a glass back. Next to no need to worry about scratches. Metal/plastic gets so many scratches on the back. You can sharpen a knife with glass since glass is so much harder so it stands up better to scratching. I’m glad to see more and more device makers going towards a glass backing.

      • Jason Furmage

        Lighter and less weight mean the same thing.

    • pauleebe

      The 5 was a bigger jump than the 4S by far though.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Really? Ofcourse, It is suppose to
        Be a bigger jump than 4S its a completely new redesign iphone not S version. But what’s compelling about it? It has the same 8 mp camera, same 326 ppi. Oh right it has 4″ taller screen and a faster processor.

      • pauleebe

        Did you not read above?

        4-4S > 8 MP, A5, RAM, GPU

        S-5 > Optics, A6, RAM, GPU, Screen, thinner, better battery, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0

      • n0ahcruz3

        Both 4S and 5 have BT 4.0 i admit i forgot to mention LTE but in my country we dont have LTE yet. Both are dual core processors. Correct me if im wrong but iphone 5 doest have quadcore GPU? Does it?

      • n0ahcruz3

        Oh and about the battery 4S has 1432 mah whereas 5 has 1440. Not groundbreaking if you ask me. Define Optics? You mean isight? fFc did improve from vga to 1.2 Mp HD.

      • pauleebe

        I meant Wifi Direct support, which is why the 4S can’t use Air Drop. And battery life on the 5 is better than the 4S, likely due to the A6, regardless of capacity on paper. And yes, the rear optics of the 5′s camera improved from the 4S, as did the isight. Sorry your country doesn’t have LTE. Yes, the A6 has an enhanced GPU as well, as I noted.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        “I meant Wifi Direct support, which is why the 4S can’t use Air Drop”

        Lol, sounds like you blindly fell for their greedy marketing tactic. You were probably one of those that believed the iPhone 3GS/4 can’t run Siri. WiFi Direct has been available on the jailbroken iPhone 3Gs since AirBlue sharing was unveiled. AirBlue sharing offers both bluetooth file sharing (for small files and iOS to non-iOS file transfer, still not possible with the official iPhone) and WiFi direct sharing (for large files and iOS to iOS file transfer, just like AirDrop).

        “And battery life on the 5 is better than the 4S”

        Yeah right, tell that to my friends who barely get 8 hours of battery life on their iPhone 5 and have to turn down their brightness to like 0%. Perhaps its another batterygate problem…thought they’d have solved that since the first batch of iPhone 4S.

      • Kurt

        4S has bluetooth 4.0 also

    • Antzboogie

      People are getting overloaded with phones we dont want cheap we want quality but not to expensive. Every time I look theres a new iPhone they need to calm down lol.

  • eisforme

    Another reason is that carriers were allowing early upgrades every time a new phone came out. I bought the 3Gs, 4, and 4S all on early upgrade through AT&T. I now have an iPhone 5, but I broke my AT&T contract and went to Verizon to do it…and the better LTE coverage. Now I’m going to have to wait until I’m eligible for upgrade, or pay the full price. No thank you.

  • Joseph

    …And people complain about Android selling older smart phones. Sheesh.

    • Gorgonphone

      lol we complain about androids folding the market with new BS android phones that don need tko be made.. old iPhones are cheaper than the 5 and preferred over most new android devices ..lolo

      • Joseph

        It’s called a joke. Stop with your blatant fanboyism, and try to take more then five seconds to write a comment? I can barely understand you, and that troll-like “lolo” at the end doesn’t make me confident in your reply.

  • Gorgonphone

    iphones just rule

    • Joseph

      Explains why they still have less activations than Android. If they actually ruled that much, then people would very likely save up just to feet one instead of what you call a shitty Android phone. I can bet that you’ve barely tried one without a trace of bias in your mind.

  • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

    It’s unfortunate that you didn’t mention the biggest and far more likely reason: more carriers are offering a free iPhone. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have iPhone 4 for free on contract. By comparison, when the 4S came out only AT&T had a free model iPhone, the 3GS.

    Additionally, you focus on comparing the 4S to the 5, but even more intriguing is how the well the 4 is doing (18% of sales) even though it doesn’t compare at all to the 5.

  • @dongiuj

    Numbers

  • Imahottguy

    It would seem to me that iPhone 4S users like myself are stuck paying near sticker price for the 5, and are content with waiting until their upgrade is available at the cost they are used to, thus skipping one gen for the refined, incremental, iPhone 5S (or whatev it may be called.)

    I have a 4S and it is plenty fast, even for a power user with tons of MobileSubstrate tweaks and mods. For those who do not jailbreak, who are still in the very large majority, I imagine that their 4 and 4S models work more than fine. I don’t think it has much to do with the success of the refresh and more to do with upgrade policy. AT&T keeps pushing my upgrade date further and further back. In December last year it was 03/2013. In march of this year it was 08/2013 and now it is 05/2014. Seems like they would be jumping at the chance to lock me in for another two years? Sucks for them, I may just buy my next iphone on craigslist and let my contract expire, allowing me to take my $$ elsewhere if I so desire.

    • Imahottguy

      Edit doesn’t work on iphone? I meant to add that I haven’t added/removed any services or anything that would change my contract date.