back to article Supercycle to su-'meh'-cycle: Apple iPhone warehouses heave with unsold Notches

The once-bullish Wall Street analyst who predicted a "supercycle" of renewed demand for the tenth anniversary iPhone admits Apple is in a funk. Sanford C Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi Jr popularised the phrase "supercycle" last year, predicting that iPhone owners who had held back upgrading in previous years would choose …

  1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    iPhone 6 user here

    Give me a phone that is less likely to break and less expensive to repair when it does and I will happily upgrade. But give me something worth £1000 that is made entirely of glass, and I probably won't.

    Happy to help, analysts, I'm here all day.

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: iPhone 6 user here

      I'm much the same, in that my 6 plus has a killer feature that my next phone will also have: a headphone socket.

      And if the SE 2 doesn't feature one, then I might just be going Android, not that I really want to.

      1. nohatjim

        Re: iPhone 6 user here

        I have 6S and keep thinking about an upgrade but headphone socket is a key feature I won’t do without unless lightning headphones drop to £20 or less without mic

    2. PhilBuk

      Re: iPhone 6 user here

      It's interesting that the last big buying spree was on the iPhone 6/6S line. Also the last iPhone with a headphone socket! Maybe people are just hanging onto them like grim death so that they don't end up looking like twats with buds hanging out their ears.


      p.s. iPhone 6 still going strong on iOS 10 (I'll upgrade when they fix 11).

      Damn Zippy! You beat me to it!

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: iPhone 6 user here

      As a 6s user, I think the only thing that'd motivate me to update any time soon would be a dramatic improvement in battery life. I'd be a lot happier if that were to happen for a reason other than my current device's battery ageing out*.

      * still at 86% of maximum capacity per the battery health panel, but it doesn't seem to last the day any longer so I'm not sure I believe that. I'm probably going to hold out until December and then take part in the battery replacement programme while the price is still reduced.

      1. Dave559

        Re: iPhone 6 user here

        You can also add me to the list of people with an iPhone 6S who are almost perfectly happy with it.

        I say almost because, Apple, even with a replacement battery (having had one of the known duff ones), your battery life is mediocre at best, and really is completely unacceptably so for a device in this price range.

        Even though Battery Health thinks my battery is at 89% of its original capacity, I’m often down to 35% remaining by dinner time, with still a full evening’s (or even, night’s) expected use ahead of me. And when the battery gets down to 20% remaining, it often seems to tail off really quickly after that.

        If the next iPhone is made of sturdy materials (not glass), is 3 – 5 mm thicker to accommodate a longer lasting battery, has an iPhone-X-like screen and body size (but without a stupid notch), has Touch ID, and, yes, still has a headphone jack, then I could be interested, but until then, I’ll just replace my phone battery again in due course.

        The other point is a feature related and environmental one: I’ve never had the need to replace my mobile phone more frequently than every 3 or 4 years (sometimes even longer). At Apple prices, that seems a not unrealistic upgrade cycle timespan to expect: only those customers with vastly more money than sense can really afford to upgrade more frequently than that.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: iPhone 6 user here

        I agree with most of the comments here (as a happy SE uder) but I have never had a problem with Bluetooth, I am a happy head[hone/car userr - no tanled cbles and portable across devices,.

        Now batteries - yes I really (many times) want better batteries

    4. Andy Mac

      Re: iPhone 6 user here

      You can take my 6S from my cold, dead hands.

      Actually, you could probably take it from my warm, dead hands too. It’s not like I’d be able to stop you...

    5. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: iPhone 6 user here

      Nailed it. Price plus fragility = oh hell no.

      1. Dave559

        Re: iPhone 6 / 6S users here

        Multiple posts from (mostly) happy iPhone 6 / 6S users in this thread, and (at the time of writing) none of us have received a single downvote (almost unheard of among our fellow denizens!).

        That should hopefully tell Apple something (fragility--, headphone-jack++, increasing-cost--).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Qualcomm revenues down?

    That could be due to one or more of the following

    - Apple using Intel Modems in large numbers of iPhones

    - Apple and others not paying QC until their lawsuits are resolved. QC double dipping on patent fees.

    I think that APPL will drop by $10-$20 in after hours trading once the market has digested their frankly shocking results i.e. only $49B in sales (rather than the Wall St arse speakers expecting $56B+)

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Qualcomm revenues down?

      Apple and others not paying QC until their lawsuits are resolved.

      They have to pay, or least put the money in escrow, but Qualcomm could equally put a charge for refunds on the books.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Qualcomm revenues down?

        And yet they don't. They can afford any fines, while damaging the supplier share price to drive a favourable resolution.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Qualcomm revenues down?

      Hope you didn't put too much money behind that guess. As of this writing Apple is up nearly $7.50 in after hours trading - because they had $61 billion in revenue and not the $49 billion you expected.

  3. Packet

    I think the lack of peripherals doesn't help (how much i don't know)

    For instance, where is that bloody AirPower mat?

    Drop the price on the sodding thing while you're at it too

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think the lack of peripherals doesn't help (how much i don't know)

      For instance, where is that bloody AirPower mat?

      Seriously, this should be one of the top reason iPhone 8/X now looked meh. Without the wireless charging feature, iPhone 8/X just don't have the full on wireless experience Apple seems to be heading toward. The wireless charging was also suppose to be an alternative to charging while using a wired headphone with the adopter. Without it, the current iPhone 8/X just look like a sad trade-off with the lost of headphone jack.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: I think the lack of peripherals doesn't help (how much i don't know)

        Do you know I was always under the illusion that the 8/10 had wireless charging. Hmm standards in advaertising again...

  4. JLV Silver badge

    1 out of 2 aint bad, for an analyst

    Same Sacconaghi quoted here as skewering IBM's exec remuneration incentives last week.

    With that kind of 50/50 successful prediction average he'd massively improve Gartner's gene pool.

    To Apple: as a current user of older, appreciated gear: stop wanking us over with pricey gimmicks like non-std phone jacks, unserviceable gear, blingy touch strips and undersized SSDs on MBPs. Then we'd be more inclined to buy from you again, if you provide better value than 1000$+ phones and 3000$ "power" laptops.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: 1 out of 2 aint bad, for an analyst

      "With that kind of 50/50 successful prediction average he'd massively improve Gartner's gene pool."

      That's harsh. Gartner is an excellent analyst, and I always find his predictions to be helpful and often profitable. You just do the exact opposite of his proposed action, and collect the profits.

      It takes as much skill to achieve 99% accuracy, even if the skill is to be always wrong. Or at least publish the wrong conclusion.

  5. DNTP

    Myabe, just maybe, sales analysts should look at the data and then make a prediction, instead of coming up with a prediction and then cherry-picking or hallucinating the data points to support it.

    Yes, all these people with dozens of old models of phones purchased in a distribution over the last decade and who mostly seem phone-satisfied (despite tons of opportunities to get new phones with great deals on the market right now), are simultaneously going to upgrade to the new model at exactly the same time because it's a "flagship" or "X" edition that manages to be more expensive than any other phone while bringing nothing really new or novel to the market. And there's a phenomenon for this, its called a "supercycle", which is apparently shorthand for "the only way I can get what I want is by extrapolating far outside reasonable bounds."

  6. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    It's not all gloom and doom in Fruitville

    Apple grabs 86% of global smartphone profits, iPhone X alone seizes 35%

    Slightly different take: Apple Rakes In 87% Of Smartphone Profits, But 18% Of Unit Sales

    Pretty startling numbers. Of course, those numbers are deceptive, because they only refer to hardware profits. We all know that Google makes its money on user data, and they get just as much from a cheapie BLU as from a Pixel 2 XL or GS9. They only need Android manufacturers make just enough money to keep trying.

    And indeed, scores of 3rd party device makers continue to invest their own capital to fight each other bloody over Apple's table scraps.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: It's not all gloom and doom in Fruitville

      Which makes one wonder why Google fiddles around with hardware sales at all - they aren't making friends for themselves amongst hardware manufacturers, and they'll need friends in a few years when they want Android OEMs to become Fuschia OEMs instead of some of them banding together and becoming AOSP + their own stuff / carrier stuff OEMs.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: It's not all gloom and doom in Fruitville

        > Which makes one wonder why Google fiddles around with hardware sales at all - they aren't making friends for themselves amongst hardware manufacturers,

        I've never seen a Pixel in the wild, and the first gen at least were only made in small numbers. At the price the second-gen Pixel range was sold at, it was only really competing against very top end Android phones such as Samsung Galaxy or Note - and Samsung sell so many phones that sales lost to Pixels are near insignificant to them - at least in the context of their historical frenemy relationship with Google. Equivilent Sony phones undercut the Pixel, LG keep tripping themselves up (boot loops, differentiating features missing from non-Korean phones of same model number).

        Of course the flip side of your point is that by contracting the manufacturing of a Pixel phone, Google is demonstrating that if might not need the long-established phone vendors as once it did. The Chinese upstarts seem to be doing a good job of filling in the mid and lower end of the Android market.

  7. J. Cook Silver badge

    Shoot, my personal iFruit is still a 5S, which I'll probably hold onto until apple stops supporting it entirely. the work brick is a 6S, which also does exactly what I need.

    Strangely enough, the reason I went apple is because the android phones I had (samsung galaxy whatever) had this thing where I'd just not get phone calls, or indications of voice mail, until I restarted it, at which point I got the missed call indicators, but not the voicemails. (it didn't help that bouncing between three different numbers due to management shenanigans probably borked my voicemail account, but still...) I wanted a cell phone that could actually, you know. tell me if someone was calling, which this 6s does.

    (the 5s was done because of the management shenanigans- I wanted to be able to leave the phone and my badge on a desk with my exit manifesto and leave in a hurry at one point in my job.)

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      And also, the $1000 X has nothing that screams 'BUY ME', and in fact has removed a few things I found rather useful.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprisingly easy to migrate to Android

    When my iPhone 4S finally died, I wasn't about to put up with no headphone socket. Not after building up a collection of at least a half-dozen pair of decent headphones. After a short market survey, I bought an Asus Zenfone 3 for an amazing price. Migrating my data was surprisingly quick. It was up and running in a couple of hours. Better, Faster, Cheaper.

    I'm just not interested in Apple's money-gouging games. They did it with the DRM-infested charger cables. They did it again with the headphone socket. It grows transparent and tiresome.

  9. Milton Silver badge

    Value by subtraction?

    • Let's get rid of the clamshell/flip form factor, which protects very expensive screens

    • Instead, put the very, very, very expensive screen on the outside, where it's easiest to break

    • Let's make the screen even more expensive, even unto total pointlessness, by offering resolutions most people can't even distinguish unless they peer from six inches away

    • To improve the chances of breakage, let's make the whole thing of glass and as shiny and slippery as possible

    • Battery life's awful, so let's take a big step backwards and make sure the batteries cannot be replaced

    • While we're at it, adopt manufacturing processes designed to make the device as unmaintainable and un-recyclable as possible, and do everything to force customers to "upgrade" (as if they hadn't been able to make cellphone calls and take snaps for two decades)

    • Make sure that the device turns into a camera while lacking the single most important component of a good camera, a decent lens: instead add a ton of trickery and processing (gotta get that battery life down) so that people can get really accurate pictures of stuff—which they promptly distort and ruin with cutesy filters so they can spam the world with pictures of their food

    • Don't forget that customers are now addicts just like crack whores, so ensure that endless bloated badly-written apps will suck their attention and destroy their privacy, in order to convince them, just as they wander into a bus lane, that the 7 'Likes' for their food picture makes them a respected and worthwhile human being

    • Take out the absolutely gigantic space-hogging headphone socket, all 2.5mm of it, to remove the option of using any commonly-available ear/headphone unit for uninterrupted, simple listening, instead forcing users into horrible glitchy insecure Bluetooth—and yet more things to recharge

    • We don't want people having things conveniently to hand on their handsets when we could make them even more dependent on our "ecosystem", so let's also take out the μSD slot and deny them local storage—a super-smart move especially now that people are watching massive-Gb movies on their devices

    • Good passwords are secure, so instead let's offer fingerprint security, which, unlike passwords, we leave on everything we touch and can also be forcibly taken from us

    • Fingerprints still not quite insecure enough? Ok, let's offer face recognition: so that criminals, border security and other ne'e'er-do-wells can unlock our device just by showing it to us

    • Put the price up while pointlessly obscuring part of the screen with a "notch" and laugh till you cry as other manufacturers, like perfectly imbecilic lemmings, do the same

    • Watch with pitiless greed as the punters actually swallow this avalanche of manipulation and stupidity and keep giving you their money.

    Nah, we're not as dumb as we seem ... but it seems the customers are.

    From Cupertino and Mountain View: Thanks, Suckers!

  10. Kebablog

    Another 6 user

    Still on my 6 - thought about upgrading last year, but as the 6 is still generally fine I just replaced the battery. Another reason not to update was my commitment to paying off a credit card bill for the last 3 years (0%) so I was being sensible with my money (which in reality I should've been a while ago and not had a CC).

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge


    Yup. Me too. My 6 went up the creek last year and I was offered a 6S as a free upgrade/replacement, or a range of newer ones at varying degrees of additional payment per month. I went with the 6S as it does everything I need it to do.

    Sorry Apple - no plans to upgrade to anything else.

  12. Gavin Chester

    Is the lack of headphone socket such an issue?

    £1 (delivered) on Fleabay buys you a Bluetooth receiver/ mic dongle that converts a wired headset to Bluetooth one.

    Its not super audiophile quality, and yes its something more to carry and charge (mine lasts maybe 6 hours on a charge) but it means the lack of a headphone socket isn't such a showstopper I thought it may have been before I got my 8+. I'm not a big headphone user so this solution works well enough for me, with the bonus my cheap non microphone equipped earbuds can be used as a headset for call.

    As to why did I get an 8+, basically my 5 was long in the tooth, battery life sucked, and some apps were no longer available for it, I could have put a new battery in it and continued for a few more years but was getting slow and it was about time for a change.

    However I hope this will last me the the same 5 years of so that my 5 did,

  13. Munkstar

    E ink

    Twin screen, oled one side and e ink the other. Been done, has potential, needs Applefication.

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