Surveying the terrain: iPhone 8 results vary


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Survey results can often be like the weather around here. If you don’t like what you see, just wait a while.

Writing for The Daily Mail, Sage Lazzaro asks “Will the iPhone 8 be a FLOP?” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

That depends. Is the reason “FLOP” is in all caps because it’s an acronym for something like “Fine-Looking and Outstanding Phone”? Because the chances increase significantly if so.

The headline continues:

“Analyst claims just 16% of users say they will upgrade to Apple's new handset.”

Previous dumb surveys have indicated about that many of all consumers would buy an iPhone 8 but this dumb survey says it’s just that many iPhone owners. What is the big takeaway here?

This is bad news for Apple, seeing as this is expected to be a major launch

Mmm-hmm. Nobody wants this phone they haven’t seen! Few will buy it. Probably best to not look into it any further, just shake our heads sadly and walk away while playing the sad Charlie Brown music.

A new survey from investment firm Piper Jaffray…

Oookay, well, hang on there a second. This came from Piper Jaffray? Let’s go to analyst Ben Bajarin for some color commentary on this. Ben?

Piper is bad at research.

Ah. Well. There you go. This may not be very well known or cared about among the hurry-up-and-type-up-that-press-release crowd, but it goes back to at least 2012 when Piper Jaffray sat outside a Microsoft Store for two hours then published the results as a seemingly definitive survey of foot traffic. It wasn’t. It may have accidentally been correct, but you can’t sit outside one store and extrapolate the traffic for all stores from that. That is not how science works. It’s not even how pudding works.

While Gene Munster was with Piper, they published a survey of teens every year that said “Teens love the iPhone!” Imagine our surprise. Teens like expensive smartphones. Yes, this is almost certainly true, but it was a little weird that every year Piper left out low-income teens.

Bajarin’s Creative Strategies has its own survey on the iPhone 8 and those results are somewhat better.

Apple’s current base is the second largest source of interest with 34% of current iPhone users who said they are either extremely or very interested in the iPhone 8.

Also, good news for Apple to see that among smartphone owners planning to upgrade in the next six months a whopping 44% is either extremely or very interested in the iPhone 8

See, your results might be a little different and more indicative of what actual sales might be if you leave out the people who just bought a phone like five minutes ago. If you stop Margaret as she’s leaving the store with her brand new phone and ask her about her interest in a phone that’s coming out next week, you’re probably lucky if you get a “not interested” instead of a sock in the nose.


Get ‘em, Margaret.

The real lesson here is that surveys of buying intentions are usually not great and within that group of not great surveys there are ones that are terrible. How does the Macalope know? He surveyed all the Macalopes he knows and those were the results.

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