Apple CEO Tim Cook: Customers Are Holding on to Older iPhones 'a Bit Longer' Than in the Past

Apple saw lower than expected iPhone sales during its first fiscal quarter of 2019 (aka the 2018 holiday quarter) and one explanation provided by Apple was lower quarterly ‌iPhone‌ upgrades. During today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook delved into the reasons why Apple is seeing fewer upgrades.

First and foremost, he named foreign exchange rates. The strength of the U.S. dollar has made the ‌iPhone‌ much more expensive in many parts of the world, which is why Apple today said that it plans to lower prices in some emerging markets. In Turkey, for example, the ‌iPhone‌ became so expensive due to exchange rates that revenue fell $700 million from the previous year.

iphone 7 8
Cook also said that ‌iPhone‌ subsidies are becoming increasingly less common, which is impacting upgrade rates. In Japan, for example, it used to be common to have subsidies for smartphones, but local regulations have eliminated many of those. According to Cook, less than half of iPhones sold in Japan were subsidized compared to 3/4ths a year ago. The total value of subsidies has declined as well.

Cook's third reason for fewer ‌iPhone‌ upgrades was the battery replacement program that Apple offered across 2018, allowing customers to swap out the battery in their iPhones for $29. Cook said that this made it inexpensive and efficient to replace ‌iPhone‌ batteries and hold on to older iPhones for a longer period of time.

According to Cook, while analysts suggested Apple shouldn't do it, the company "strongly believes it was the right thing to do for [its] customers."

To combat fewer upgrades, Cook pointed towards Apple's trade-in program, which drives down the price of new devices when trading in older devices, and he highlighted the monthly payment options that Apple recently started promoting on its trade-in page. This page provides details on the monthly price of the ‌iPhone‌ XR and ‌iPhone‌ XS when trading in an older device.

iphone xr xs trade in monthly payments
The lower than anticipated ‌iPhone‌ upgrades along poor sales in China ultimately led to a 15 percent decline in ‌iPhone‌ revenue year over year.

Cook says that while ‌iPhone‌ upgrades were lower than anticipated, the company's business grew in the rest of the world, setting new records in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Korea.

According to Cook, investors should be aware of three factors long term: a loyal and satisfied customer base, a large and growing active installed base, and Apple's deeply ingrained culture of innovation.

Top Rated Comments

KPandian1 Avatar
36 months ago
Yes, Tim. That is what they do when the cost of upgrading is so unrewarding!
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rodytoon Avatar
36 months ago
Thats what happens when you get caught slowing people's phones down and they realize that their phone is not slower because its older but because you quietly did so in purpose and a battery replacement would resolve the issue. How many people would have chosen to replace their batteries in the past had they known that their phones would function as fast as when they first started instead of spending hundreds on a new device. Apple kept this hidden long enough, reap what you sow and live with the consequences as it is only going to get worse. I am an apple fan boy and I don't plan on upgrading any time soon as I don't care for any of the new gimmicks. I might even consider Android if I have to even though I will hate it at first but enough is enough, that's the only way to let apple realize that consumers deserve better.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
typeoserv Avatar
36 months ago
release a SE replacement and i’ll upgrade...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dmk1974 Avatar
36 months ago
You mean we all aren't upgrading to a phone every year with the device cost inflating each time with relatively minor improvements????



Attachment Image
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mikzn Avatar
36 months ago
Love my iPhone 4s ( and iOS 9.3.5) - still works great! (original battery too)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lunarworks Avatar
36 months ago
I never understood people who upgraded their phone every year. I've always been on a three year cycle myself.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
2012macpro

Apple Outlines Metal-Capable Cards Compatible With macOS Mojave on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro Models

Monday September 24, 2018 3:26 pm PDT by
Apple's new macOS Mojave update is not compatible with mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros with stock GPUs, but it is supported on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have been upgraded with graphics cards that support Metal. Apple today shared a new support document that provides a list of graphics cards that are Metal-capable, which will be useful for 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro owners who want to...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Expecting iPhone and iPad Supply Constraints in September Quarter

Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CFO Luca Maesteri said that Apple is expecting supply constraints to affect the iPhone and the iPad in the coming quarter. "The supply constraints that we've seen in the June quarter will be higher in the September quarter," said Maestri. The constraints will impact iPhone and iPad sales...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...