Apple apparently has high sales expectations for the iPhone 7, and has internally upped expectations for the device. The company is now pushing its manufacturing partners to produce 100 million units through the end of the year, which would be a new record for the company.
Whether or not this happens chiefly depends on the success of the iPhone 7 Plus in particular. The biggest changes to the device are in that phone, especially its new dual-lens camera. The new “jet black” color also may help to spur demand across both iPhone 7 models.
Shipping 100 million iPhones this year is possible. Apple sold an astounding 74 million iPhones in the holiday 2014 quarter following the launch of the iPhone 6. While demand is hard to quantify this early, pre-order activity reported by at least one carrier looks promising.
T-Mobile reported Tuesday that it saw four times the number of pre-orders for the iPhone 7 than the iPhone 6, making it the biggest device launch in the company’s history. Such high demand is leaving some customers frustrated: some report estimated ship dates as late as November 10 for some jet black models. Sprint reported similar numbers, with a 375 percent increase in pre-orders over last year’s 6S and 6S Plus.
Despite these early successes, sources tell Patently Apple that actual demand for the device will not be clear until October. By then, a majority of pre-orders will be fulfilled and early adopters will have purchased the device. From there, demand among consumers in general will be easier to judge.
There is another way we might be able to gauge potential sales of the iPhone 7, and that’s through upgrade eligibility. The iPhone 7 releases to a much more favorable market than even the iPhone 6 did. According to BMO Capital Markets research, a quarter of current iPhone owners have a device that is at least two years old.
This means a good portion of consumers are in a position to upgrade, which is good news for iPhone sales.