Analyzing the iPhone user base

“One data point that I find increasingly important to keep track of is the current iPhone user base,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “This information isn’t just useful when talking about the iPhone upgrade cycle, but it becomes critical when referring to adoption rates for services such as Apple Pay, and soon, Apple Music, and Apple’s video streaming service.”

“Running basic arithmetic… I get an iPhone installed base of approximately 475 million users,” Cybart writes. “Is this an exact number? No. Is this a good estimate of roughly the number of people with an iPhone (all models)? Yes.”

Cybart writes, “With this estimate in hand, we can start to break out the iPhone base by model.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A good analysis that backs up the idea that there remains a lot of headroom for new iPhone sales to users of older iPhones.


  1. “Over half a billion active iPhone users” (by the end of this quarter) seems like a nice headline stat for the opening facts ‘n figures in this year’s fall phone keynote, no?

      1. I’m still shocked at how many 4S owners are still out there clueless about Touch ID, ignorant and or fearful of the dangers of Apple Pay being hacked, never seen an iPhone 6 nor 6 Plus, running iOS 6 or 7… The list goes on and on.💥😩😱😰

  2. It’s also a key indicator for the potential success of Apple Watch. The breakdown by model shows 375M being iPhone 5 or later (the models compatible with Apple Watch). This number increases as the remaining 100M older iPhone owners upgrade and brand new iPhone customers enter the mix.

    By the end of Apple Watch’s first full year, it is reasonable to project that number (of iPhone 5 and later models in active use) to 500M. Just selling 50 million new iPhones per quarter is more than enough to get there. And it is also reasonable to “guess” that at least 1-in-10 (10%) of those iPhone owners will want to be Apple Watch “early adopters.”

    Therefore, Apple sells (or has a waiting list for) at least 50M Apple Watches during Year One. The main constraint is not demand, but production rate.

    1. Out here in the boondocks or Central California Coast there is ZERO enthusiasm for Apple ⌚️. When ever I try to show it off to an iPhone owner, they just sluff it off as if it’s BS.😨😰 Bumms me out.

      BTW, drove to Palo Alto Apple Store this morning and got the medium Navy Blue Italian Leather Loop Band for my Space Gray aluminum Apple WATCH SPORT. Much better fit.💥🎉 They just got them in stock on Thursday.

      1. Surprising but I would expect that to change over time. Apple Watch is still a very new product in its 1.0 infancy, it will grow and morph into a much more powerful and compelling product in a few years, just “watch”. 😀

      2. I’ve been seeing that attitude change over about the past year. I’m now getting respect for Apple from people who don’t want to switch over price and being familiar with other systems. I convert people by selling my older stuff to friends and family at prices. A lot of people make do, rather than bash Apple outright. That’s my experience in my little town.

        1. Yeah, the main reason people have for not wanting to switch to Apple or even just not liking Apple is price. It’s not that they think Apple makes bad stuff, they just think it’s overpriced. And then there are gamers who think Macs aren’t good for gaming, which obviously depends on the Mac in question.

      3. Well, it doesn’t really matter if there are pockets of irrationality. This estimate and analysis of the iPhone user base seems reasonable. Estimating Apple Watch’s success is simply picking a percentage of that number (at any given time) that will choose to enhance their iPhone experience with Apple Watch. It’s not like other similar products that require a separate buy decision. Apple Watch customers have already said YES to iPhone, and they are highly satisfied customers. The decision to buy Apple Watch is a much easier (related) YES.

        Amazingly, Apple created “pent up demand” for a product that did not even exist until it was released in April. The existing user base with iPhones from as far back as 2012 (iPhone 5) will make Apple Watch HUGE during the first year, even if 90% do NOT want version 1.0 and wait for a later version and more developed ecosystem.

  3. A lot of the older iPhones are being handed down, reused as backups or sold.
    For example, I have set up my old iPhone 4S for international use. I will get a SIM on my next trip so I can get data and local phone access for cheap.
    Consider this – nearly 500M iPhones in the wild is amazing. That is 10% of the world’s population who are old enough to have a phone.

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