Analyst guesswork sets unrealistic expectations for Apple's iPhone in 2018, forgets iPad e...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2017
Prognosticating sales of tech products can be a difficult and thankless job, particularly when the companies selling the products themselves don't announce sales figures. But that doesn't excuse inconsistencies, unrealistic projections, or a lack of critical thinking skills.


Source: USA Today.


There are a myriad of problems with the list of "best-selling tech products of 2017" published on Friday by USA Today, based on projections from GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives.

On the surface, some of the numbers are sound. Declaring Apple's iPhone the best-selling technology product of the year, it forecasts total sales of 223 million units.

With over 138 million iPhones sold to date, that would call for another 84.5 million iPhones sold in the current December quarter -- not an unreasonable or unreachable number.

But coming in at two on the list are the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, far behind with 33 million units estimated sold. Why would all iPhone model sales for 2017 -- including the no-longer-available iPhone 6, and the low-end iPhone SE -- be lumped together, while Samsung's phones are not?




The chart goes back to a single device model for No. 3: The Amazon Echo Dot, estimated at 24 million units for the year. No other Echo models are mentioned, suggesting this number is for just the retailer's one budget-priced version, and not other ones like the regular Echo or Echo Show.

At fourth, in Ives's estimation, is the Apple Watch, with 20 million units. This is a perfectly fine guess, but because Apple has given no sales data on the Apple Watch to date, it's essentially plucked out of thin air.

Finally, in fifth is the Nintendo Switch, with sales pegged at 15 million units.

One device notably missing from this list is Apple's iPad, a device for which we do know actual sales data. Apple announces iPad figures every quarter, and in the first three quarters of the year, it reached 30.6 million, not including the still-unannounced calendar fourth quarter.




If Apple were to sell 10 million iPads in the holiday quarter (which would be an extremely conservative estimate, to be sure), total sales for the year would exceed 40 million, putting it ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 and into second place in the "best-selling tech products of 2017" list.

Why wasn't the iPad on the list? Perhaps Ives and USA Today categorize it as a computer and not a "tech product," but no mention of the iPad -- nor tablets in general -- was given in the piece published Friday.

Also absent from the list are other popular products, which would presumably fall under the "tech product" category, and could very well have topped the 15 million estimated Nintendo Switch sales. For example, Apple's AirPods have been a hot product all year, and one recent estimate suggested sales could reach 28 million in 2018.




And don't forget Apple's Beats lineup (should they be separated by models, or lumped into one?). Outside of Apple, there are also Fitbit devices and popular streaming products like the Chromecast or Fire TV Stick.

We also can't leave out smartphones not made by Apple or Samsung -- Chinese vendors Oppo and Huawei are estimated to have shipped more than 75 million smartphones each in 2016.

But perhaps the most egregious inclusion in Friday's piece is a prediction by Ives that Apple could sell 350 million iPhones next year, an increase of 127 million from his forecast for this year.

To put that number in perspective, Apple would need to sell nearly 32 million more iPhones per quarter to reach that sum. Sure, iPhone sales have increased by 40 percent before, but even the most bullish predictions for the 2018 "super cycle" aren't that high.

To Ives's credit, he told USA Today that he believes 350 million existing iPhone users will "upgrade next year." Perhaps some of those "upgraders" will buy second-hand phones better than the one they currently have, rather than a new handset from Apple. It's unclear.

But even when you're just guessing, a little clarity goes a long way.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    "To Ives's credit, he told USA Today that he believes 350 million existing iPhone users will "upgrade next year." Perhaps some of those "upgraders" will buy second-hand phones better than the one they currently have, rather than a new handset from Apple. It's unclear."

    Or a good chunk of those will just upgrade the battery on their current iPhones instead


    cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,597member
    Stock manipulation. We’re in the pump cycle. 
    lkruppanton zuykovmuthuk_vanalingamGG1cornchippscooter63jony0
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Consider the source: USA Today. This is just a fluff piece to make the publication seem relevant to the tech industry. Feel free to ignore it.
    cornchipradarthekatxiamenbillwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    What a stupid list. And why is every model of iPhone included when only the S8 and Note are counted?
    nhughes
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Please apply this critical filter to all future “Apple analyst” press releases. THIS is how to combat false news surrounding Apple.
    anton zuykovxiamenbillwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,543member
    Top selling tech of 2017*

    *arbitrary list of items, may be grouped or not grouped with tech siblings, numbers are totally fabricated by dart board algorithm. 
    cornchipxiamenbillwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,310member
    Only because it's listed I'll mention it, I put more hours into my Nintendo Switch than any other device right now other than my MBP, and potentially my Echos (all grouped together), but the Echo use should potentially be considered more passive as I make a request and then it executes it for hours, like "Alexa, play my Spotify housecleaning playlist."

    This new Zelda game is beyond amazing and ridiculously large.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,203member
    These are the official Huawei numbers:

    2014 - 75 million units 

    2015 - 108 million units

    2016 - 139.3 million units

    2017 - 153 million units (provisional)

    Maybe this guy had some WIP accidentally go live. 

    edited December 2017 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 16
    avon b7 said:
    These are the official Huawei numbers:

    2014 - 75 million units 

    2015 - 108 million units

    2016 - 139.3 million units

    2017 - 153 million units (provisional)

    Maybe this guy had some WIP accidentally go live. 

    Considering the analyst in question fed the numbers to USA Today, I don't think it was a work in progress.

    And not to cast stones in a glass house, but why did USA Today run this without questioning the estimates? Same goes for the sites who linked to the story with headlines treating the guesses as gospel.

    We get a lot of analyst notes provided to us (daily!), some of which affect the stock price, making them newsworthy. I always try to cover them with some sort of proper and fair context, (for example, making it clear in the headline that the numbers are estimates or guesses or predictions). But the truth is, we pass on the vast majority of analyst notes we receive, for a variety of reasons.

    GBH didn't send out a note for this one, they just provided the info direct to USA Today. And, frankly, had it not been covered by a major newspaper, and linked to by a number of our online competitors, I would have just ignored it as the nonsense that I believe it is.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Soli said:
    Only because it's listed I'll mention it, I put more hours into my Nintendo Switch than any other device right now other than my MBP, and potentially my Echos (all grouped together), but the Echo use should potentially be considered more passive as I make a request and then it executes it for hours, like "Alexa, play my Spotify housecleaning playlist."

    This new Zelda game is beyond amazing and ridiculously large.
    Breath of the Wild is a stunning achievement on virtually every level. Considering the relatively low horsepower of the Switch as compared to an iPad (or Apple TV), it makes me both frustrated for the current state of iOS games, and hopeful that things will improve in the future. In terms of graphics alone, Breath of the Wild shows how excellent art design can overcome the limitations of "low end" hardware. And Super Mario Odyssey is just a joy to play as well. Good stuff.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,044member
    And not to cast stones in a glass house, but why did USA Today run this without questioning the estimates? Same goes for the sites who linked to the story with headlines treating the guesses as gospel.
    The art of subediting is dead, along with MSM credibility.
    Modern journalism seems to be a vehicle for promoting the agenda of the writer, and increasingly, all have the same viewpoint. Combined with the naive habit of taking press releases at face value, it’s a poisonous mix.
    The intersection of facts and articles is coincidental. It is why the internet, and the creation and ready accessibility of blog sites like this, and others that might or might not agree with Appleinsiders’ viewpoint, are so valuable.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    nhughes said:
    Soli said:
    Only because it's listed I'll mention it, I put more hours into my Nintendo Switch than any other device right now other than my MBP, and potentially my Echos (all grouped together), but the Echo use should potentially be considered more passive as I make a request and then it executes it for hours, like "Alexa, play my Spotify housecleaning playlist."

    This new Zelda game is beyond amazing and ridiculously large.
    Breath of the Wild is a stunning achievement on virtually every level. Considering the relatively low horsepower of the Switch as compared to an iPad (or Apple TV), it makes me both frustrated for the current state of iOS games, and hopeful that things will improve in the future. In terms of graphics alone, Breath of the Wild shows how excellent art design can overcome the limitations of "low end" hardware. And Super Mario Odyssey is just a joy to play as well. Good stuff.
    Isn’t BOTW amazing I’ve spent so many hours playing it that I’m a bit embarrassed. The crazier thing is that BOTW is not utilizing the power of the switch. It’s a Wii U game that was ported to the Switch. The Switch’s newer processors make things like loading shrines saving and booting up the game faster and that’s about it. For a real test of the switches power games like Doom, which is already out and soon to be released Wolfenstein II. Now those two games make one question how can this be a portable system. 
    edited December 2017 nhugheswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,310member
    nhughes said:
    Soli said:
    Only because it's listed I'll mention it, I put more hours into my Nintendo Switch than any other device right now other than my MBP, and potentially my Echos (all grouped together), but the Echo use should potentially be considered more passive as I make a request and then it executes it for hours, like "Alexa, play my Spotify housecleaning playlist."

    This new Zelda game is beyond amazing and ridiculously large.
    Breath of the Wild is a stunning achievement on virtually every level. Considering the relatively low horsepower of the Switch as compared to an iPad (or Apple TV), it makes me both frustrated for the current state of iOS games, and hopeful that things will improve in the future. In terms of graphics alone, Breath of the Wild shows how excellent art design can overcome the limitations of "low end" hardware. And Super Mario Odyssey is just a joy to play as well. Good stuff.
    BotW is the first time I've played a 3D game. I've bought pretty much all other portable Nintendo consoles just to play Zelda, but stayed away from the console versions of Zelda since the Game Cube as that's when it all went 3D. (I'm not including having a 3DS XL, which is still pretty much 2D game play)

    This year I used a Raspberry Pi to build a RetroPie emulator specifically to play all the original Zelda games in order of their release. I got up to Minish Cap before I purchased a Switch last month after trying BotW during Thanksgiving. I thought the original Zelda was a lengthy game having to beat it twice to complete the game.

    It's a bit funny to see 8-bit games on a 65" 4K TV. The original Gameboy had a resolution of 160×144 so each pixel is probably 3/4", if I had to guess. Still, those games were still fun. It's impressive that despite all the changes between the games since 1986 that they still have maintain so much of the original aspects.

    PS: I love that they've embraced USB-C.

    LukeCage said:
    nhughes said:
    Soli said:
    Only because it's listed I'll mention it, I put more hours into my Nintendo Switch than any other device right now other than my MBP, and potentially my Echos (all grouped together), but the Echo use should potentially be considered more passive as I make a request and then it executes it for hours, like "Alexa, play my Spotify housecleaning playlist."

    This new Zelda game is beyond amazing and ridiculously large.
    Breath of the Wild is a stunning achievement on virtually every level. Considering the relatively low horsepower of the Switch as compared to an iPad (or Apple TV), it makes me both frustrated for the current state of iOS games, and hopeful that things will improve in the future. In terms of graphics alone, Breath of the Wild shows how excellent art design can overcome the limitations of "low end" hardware. And Super Mario Odyssey is just a joy to play as well. Good stuff.
    Isn’t BOTW amazing I’ve spent so many hours playing it that I’m a bit embarrassed. The crazier thing is that BOTW is not utilizing the power of the switch. It’s a Wii U game that was ported to the Switch. The Switch’s newer processors make things like loading shrines saving and booting up the game faster and that’s about it. For a real test of the switches power games like Doom, which is already out and soon to be released Wolfenstein II. Now those two games make one question how can this be a portable system. 
    Being my first 3D game I've had a difficult learning curve and I"m still avoiding Shrines where it's A Moderate Test of Strength or higher because I"m just not great at maneuvering with 16 buttons on a controller. Half the time when the action gets too much I end up crouching because I pressed too hard on the left joystick button. I've played 60 hours at this point and have beaten 50 shrines and probably only activated about half the towers.

    I bought the DLC expansion pack because I wanted the Hero's Path option to see where I've been since I figure there are Shrines in areas I haven't been. Outside of that I'm probably months off from being able to benefit from its other benefits.

    So far, I put my investment at around $500 for the console, Pro Controller, screen protector, downloaded game, and the DLC that included both expansion packs. Despite that cost it'll end up being pennies on the dollar for the amount of time spent. And then last week I read that they're already working on another Zelda game for the console which just makes my investment even better.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Soli said:

    So far, I put my investment at around $500 for the console, Pro Controller, screen protector, downloaded game, and the DLC that included both expansion packs. Despite that cost it'll end up being pennies on the dollar for the amount of time spent. And then last week I read that they're already working on another Zelda game for the console which just makes my investment even better.
    You raise a really good point. Namely: “What is your time worth?”

    In in recent years, games have made me think about this a lot. Not only because of my own time, but because of perceived “value” from internet commenters who wanted games to last 40+ hours. 

    I found myself wanting shorter games for my $60. I find more value in accomplishment. 

    But it’s interesting to think about in terms of Apple products. I spent $1200 on my latest phone. That’s a lot! But I also, years ago, spent $2500+ on a computer that I was tied to. And had no resale value. And I also made less money professionally. So. 

    I would be more than happy with a $60 game that took 8-10 hours to complete. Many people on the internet disagree with me. The new Zelda game can be completed almost as quickly or as long-ly as you want. I find that to be a rather brilliant design decision, among countless other brilliant decisions they made with that game. It’s all all-timer. 
    edited December 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,672administrator
    nhughes said:
    Soli said:

    So far, I put my investment at around $500 for the console, Pro Controller, screen protector, downloaded game, and the DLC that included both expansion packs. Despite that cost it'll end up being pennies on the dollar for the amount of time spent. And then last week I read that they're already working on another Zelda game for the console which just makes my investment even better.
    You raise a really good point. Namely: “What is your time worth?”

    In in recent years, games have made me think about this a lot. Not only because of my own time, but because of perceived “value” from internet commenters who wanted games to last 40+ hours. 

    I found myself wanting shorter games for my $60. I find more value in accomplishment. 

    But it’s interesting to think about in terms of Apple products. I spent $1200 on my latest phone. That’s a lot! But I also, years ago, spent $2500+ on a computer that I was tied to. And had no resale value. And I also made less money professionally. So. 

    I would be more than happy with a $60 game that took 8-10 hours to complete. Many people on the internet disagree with me. The new Zelda game can be completed almost as quickly or as long-ly as you want. I find that to be a rather brilliant design decision, among countless other brilliant decisions they made with that game. It’s all all-timer. 
    When I was young, I had time but no money. When I was in the Navy I had neither. Now I have (some) money, and no time.

    I'm good with 8-hour games. I also like randomly shooting aliens in the face in Destiny and now Destiny 2. Not sure where I fit on the scale.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,310member
    nhughes said:
    Soli said:

    So far, I put my investment at around $500 for the console, Pro Controller, screen protector, downloaded game, and the DLC that included both expansion packs. Despite that cost it'll end up being pennies on the dollar for the amount of time spent. And then last week I read that they're already working on another Zelda game for the console which just makes my investment even better.
    You raise a really good point. Namely: “What is your time worth?”

    In in recent years, games have made me think about this a lot. Not only because of my own time, but because of perceived “value” from internet commenters who wanted games to last 40+ hours. 

    I found myself wanting shorter games for my $60. I find more value in accomplishment. 

    But it’s interesting to think about in terms of Apple products. I spent $1200 on my latest phone. That’s a lot! But I also, years ago, spent $2500+ on a computer that I was tied to. And had no resale value. And I also made less money professionally. So. 

    I would be more than happy with a $60 game that took 8-10 hours to complete. Many people on the internet disagree with me. The new Zelda game can be completed almost as quickly or as long-ly as you want. I find that to be a rather brilliant design decision, among countless other brilliant decisions they made with that game. It’s all all-timer. 
    BotW has made me both very frustrated and very impressed by game for that very reason. It took me several days of play to finally get the paraglider because this kind of game play was so new to me. I thought that was pretty much the entire world for the game. I had no idea just how expansive it was.

    It's amazing that Zelda (1986) for the original NES can be beat in about 30 minutes (first round, only). And that there's other challenges where people beat it with only 3 hearts and/or without ever using the sword. I bring those up because I feel like Nintendo is trying to capture that aspect by allowing players to truly choose their own adventure. I'm pretty sure I'll still not complete the game for another 6 months with several hundred hours invested.

    I think the original Zelda has the most in-depth hack to beat the game in just a few minutes by exploiting a programming glitch.




    edited December 2017
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