Continued popularity of Apple's legacy iPhone 4S added estimated 10M iPhone users last quarter

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2014
Though the iPhone 4S is now more than two and a half years old, it continues to be a strong seller for Apple, with one new estimate suggesting it accounted for 25 percent of iPhones sold by the company last quarter, drawing in nearly 10 million new users to the ecosystem.




Analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham & Company issued a note to investors on Wednesday, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider, in which he broke down the pricing on Apple's iPhone models to estimate how strong of a performer the iPhone 4S was in the March quarter. Such steps are necessary because Apple does not break down sales on a model-by-model basis.

Apple revealed that the average selling price of the iPhone was $596 last quarter, divided between the $650 starting price for the iPhone 5s, $550 entry price for the iPhone 5c, and $450 tag for the iPhone 4S.

Wolf estimates that the iPhone 5s accounted for 71 percent of March quarter sales, while the iPhone 5c took just 4 percent. That means the iPhone 4S would have taken the remaining 25 percent of sales for the three-month span.




While Apple didn't break down sales of individual models, the company did reveal that the iPhone 4S was a strong performer in the quarter, and served an important role in bringing new users into the ecosystem. Specifically, Apple revealed that 85 percent of iPhone 4S buyers were new to the iPhone platform.

As a result, Wolf believes that the iPhone 4S alone brought in about 10 million new iPhone customers last quarter. Given Apple's extraordinary ability to retain customers, the analyst said these figures challenge the notion that the company must introduce a more affordable iPhone to reach emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.

"On innumerable occasions in the past, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has repeated the mantra that Apple would not stray from its strategy of building the aspirational brand in the smartphone market," Wolf wrote. "If Apple can have its cake and eat it too, Apple and the iPhone could enjoy a prosperous future."

Strong sales of the iPhone 4S helped Apple to exceed expectations in the March quarter, growing sales by 17 percent to 43.7 million total units.




The iPhone 4S has proven so popular that Apple has opted to keep the model around, even as it has launched in some markets a new, lower-priced 8-gigabyte model of the larger-screened and more powerful iPhone 5c.

The iPhone 4S first launched in October of 2011, and its defining feature was the debut of Siri, Apple's voice-driven personal assistant. It featured the same design and 3.5-inch display as its predecessor, the iPhone 4, but boasted faster internal components and an improved camera.

Apple keeps previous-generation iPhone models as part of its lineup after it debuts new models in order to hit lower price points and appeal to different segments of the market. While the iPhone 4S sells for $450 U.S. unsubsidized, some carriers offer the handset for free with a new two-year service contract.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 92
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    The reasoning for its popularity has two undeniable driving factors: Price & Size.

    While Price is going to be a driving factor, I'm sure there are people out there that simply want a smaller device.

    While I don't expect Apple to continue to offer 3.5" screens forever, its worth noting that the 4" display size is going to remain important for years to come, even if the flagship device is only available as 4.7".

    I still think Apple should be redesigning and producing a new 4" model to accompany this year's 4.7" model.
  • Reply 2 of 92
    f1turbof1turbo Posts: 257member

    I'm using a 5 now, but I miss the size of the 4.  The 5 in my jeans pocket pokes me when I sit down.  If the rumors are true on the 6, I may have bought my last iPhone, at least until Apple figures out that different people want different size phones.  

  • Reply 3 of 92
    kilimanjarokilimanjaro Posts: 192member

    It's a proof that Apple got it right with the iPhone design, even the old "4S" model is still selling..

  • Reply 4 of 92
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    I love my 4S but those prices feel too high given what you can buy for the same money on the Android side. Just saying.

    I wish Apple would introduce new phones and drop the price of the 4S by half.
  • Reply 5 of 92
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,924member
    Hey it's the "let's make the 5C sales look as bad as possible" reports. I doubt the 4S is outselling the 5C.
  • Reply 6 of 92
    ralphmouthralphmouth Posts: 192member

    The 3.5" form factor is too small for the vast majority of people. Future iPhone releases should include refreshes of 4" and 4.7" designs. I'm not convinced on 5.5" size yet.

  • Reply 7 of 92
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,924member
    pmz wrote: »

    While I don't expect Apple to continue to offer 3.5" screens forever, its worth noting that the 4" display size is going to remain important for years to come, even if the flagship device is only available as 4.7".

    I still think Apple should be redesigning and producing a new 4" model to accompany this year's 4.7" model.

    I agree.
    512ke wrote: »
    .

    I wish Apple would introduce new phones and drop the price of the 4S by half.

    Apple will release new phones as usual so that's a wasted wish.

    For what reason for the steep price drop? Market share? Haha.
  • Reply 8 of 92
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 512ke View Post



    I love my 4S but those prices feel too high given what you can buy for the same money on the Android side. Just saying.



    I wish Apple would introduce new phones and drop the price of the 4S by half.

     

    yes, but can you get iOS with Android...

  • Reply 9 of 92
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

     

    The 3.5" form factor is too small for the vast majority of people. Future iPhone releases should include refreshes of 4" and 4.7" designs. I'm not convinced on 5.5" size yet.


     

    Yes, this report proves it.  /s (just in case)

  • Reply 10 of 92
    ralphmouthralphmouth Posts: 192member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

     

     

    Yes, this report proves it.  /s (just in case)


     

    It only proves that people like free more than a larger screen size.  If Apple offered two free options 3.5" and 4", which one do you think people will choose?

  • Reply 11 of 92
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

     

     

    It only proves that people like free more than a larger screen size.  If Apple offered two free options 3.5" and 4", which one do you think people will choose?


     

    1. It aint free.

     

    2. I honestly think it would be split 50/50  70/30 in favor of the 4"  5  //  split 95/5 in favor of the 4"  5S

     

    3. If it's a choice between the 4S and the 5C then it would be 40/60 in favor of the 3.5" 4S

     

    (sorry... revising numbers to reflect model)

  • Reply 12 of 92
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,368member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 512ke View Post



    I love my 4S but those prices feel too high given what you can buy for the same money on the Android side. Just saying.



    I wish Apple would introduce new phones and drop the price of the 4S by half.

    Yes, that must be why they sold only 10 million of those....

  • Reply 13 of 92
    ralphmouthralphmouth Posts: 192member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

     

     

    yes, but can you get iOS with Android...

     

    1. It aint free.

     

    2. I honestly think it would be split 50/50  60/40 in favor of the 4"

     

    3. If it's a choice between the 4S and the 5C then it would be 40/60 in favor of the 3.5" 4S


     

    1. Yes you're right. I was thinking of only the US.

     

    2. I personally feel it would be more like 75/25 in favor of 4"

     

    3. Yes it seems like people prefer metal over plastic.

  • Reply 14 of 92
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

     

     

    1. Yes you're right. I was thinking of only the US.

     

    2. I personally feel it would be more like 75/25 in favor of 4"

     

    3. Yes it seems like people prefer metal over plastic.


     

    Sorry, I changed things a bit.

  • Reply 15 of 92
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

     

    3. Yes it seems like people prefer metal over plastic.


     

    I can't tell what is causing the aversion to the 5C, the plastic or the colors... or both.



    (yes, I know, "if" there is an aversion... but I strongly believe there is) [- that wasn't meant for you RM]

  • Reply 16 of 92
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Can someone explain how this guy would know the breakdown of iPhone sales by model? Apple doesn't release that information so where is he getting it from?
  • Reply 17 of 92
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Yes, this report proves it.  /s (just in case)
    But apparently it proves to you that the 5C is a failure.
  • Reply 18 of 92
    nchianchia Posts: 124member
    The iPhone 4S is a great phone. I just changed over to a 5, but the 4S is still fully functional and as new. The only gripes compared to the 5 was that the 4S was thicker, heavier and more fragile. But the size is great.
  • Reply 19 of 92
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,368member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Can someone explain how this guy would know the breakdown of iPhone sales by model? Apple doesn't release that information so where is he getting it from?

    Um... a survey?

  • Reply 20 of 92
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,422member

    My iPhone 4s is chugging along nicely, although I suspect iOS 8 will make it lag just like iOS 7 did for the iPhone 4.

     

    Looking forward to the iPhone 6, but hope the size doesn't increase or that they at least offer a sibling 4" or smaller device for those of us that appreciate real single handed operation.

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