The case of the case: Nobody likes you, unannounced iPhone


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It’s not out yet but one thing is certainly clear: Everyone hates the iPhone 7. Why? Because the case is the same!

Smartphone sales are all about case design these days. For a while they were about specs (which Apple was, of course, behind on) but then when pundits heard that Apple might be keeping the same case design, they became all about case design.

That’s how that works. If Apple makes a blue iPhone, it’ll be about how people hate the color blue.

Quartz says “Only 10% of iPhone owners say they’re very likely to upgrade this year if Apple doesn’t release a new phone design.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @mylestaylor.)

It’s hard for the Macalope to believe that he’s been trying for seven years to explain how surveys of buying intentions are meaningless, but here we are.

Huh. That’s weird. The Macalope just got endorsed by Sisyphus on LinkedIn. He’s not even real.

But, then, neither is the Macalope so… maybe that is right.

Quartz recently polled 525 US iPhone owners using SurveyMonkey Audience (methodology details are below)—and discovered that many likely wouldn’t upgrade to a new phone this year if Apple doesn’t release a redesigned iPhone.

The horny one’s not going to bother with the sample size or the methodology of this survey because the only thing you need to know is people don’t know what they want until they see it. This isn’t Apple fanboy-ism, this just noting that people are not imbeciles. This is true of Apple customers, Samsung customers, even BlackBerry customers who wait until they see the device before they all decide they don’t want it.

Survey: “Hey, how likely are you to buy this expensive thing you know nothing about?!”

Customer: “Uh… medium?”

Survey: “OMG. Not high?!”

But only about 10% said they were extremely or very likely to upgrade to a new iPhone this year if Apple doesn’t redesign the phone.

Quartz surveyed “iPhone owners” so, hey, Siri, what’s 10 percent of one billion?

OK, it’s unlikely there are people who only bought an iPhone 3G who still consider themselves “iPhone owners”. But when all you tell people about the next iPhone is that “Apple didn’t redesign it”, you’re doing the exact opposite of what Apple will do when it announces this phone: You’re giving them a reason to say “no” instead of “yes”.

And that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

But perhaps people will just realize that they need a new phone. Some analysts believe that roughly 60% of iPhone owners are currently using phones older than the iPhone 6, meaning there’s a lot of potential for customers to upgrade this year out of necessity, even if the next iPhone itself is underwhelming.

But, if that were true, it would invalidate the results of your survey!


Apple’s been clear that 2016 will be a rougher year than those prior. So it’s perfectly possible iPhone sales will be down again in the fourth calendar quarter. But if they are it’s got more to do with larger market trends than the case style of the next iPhone.

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