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Has Apple lost its way? iPhone 14 rumors draw tepid consumer response

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It’s that time of year again and the internet is abuzz with speculation around Apple’s latest iPhone event, slated for September 7. And the event, dubbed ‘Far Out’, has the rumor mill churning at full steam. A heavily-rumored astrophotography feature, which is realistically a selling proposition only for a niche consumer segment, has reignited the conversation questioning Apple’s continued innovation. With the seemingly incremental upgrades (along with price increases) iPhones have received for the past several generations, we wanted to ask Apple loyalists how they are feeling about the iPhone 14 rumors and if they plan to upgrade.  

Iphone 14 Rumors Draw Tepid Response

Declining interest

Gone are the days when Apple’s iPhone events were appointment viewing for anyone remotely interested in the tech space. The announcements stemming from these events in recent years have been evolutionary, rather than revolutionary – and iPhone loyalists agree. When we asked loyal iPhone users, all of whom currently use an iPhone X or later, if they plan to upgrade to some version of the forthcoming iPhone 14, only 9.5% said they are definitely upgrading. The majority, 58.8% told us they have no plans to upgrade, while 31.8% said they might upgrade, depending on the price and new features announced. Of those who are on the fence, the most desired features to entice an upgrade are a better camera, a larger battery regardless of a physical size increase to the phone, and USB-C charging. 

When we asked respondents why they’re sticking with their current iPhone, the majority, 64.9%, said it’s because Apple is no longer innovating enough to justify the cost of the upgrade. A further 20.8% told us they think the upgrade is too expensive, while 14.3% simply have no desire to make the jump. 

Inflating Prices

With reports that three of the four new iPhone models will be priced higher than their competitors roll in, we also asked our pool of Apple die-hards about their price sensitivity when it comes to iPhone. Of those planning to upgrade, the average consumer was willing to pay up to $1,042 for a new iPhone, while those not planning to upgrade this time say they’d only ever spend as much as $823 for a new iPhone. 

We also asked respondents if they would pay more for a made-in-USA iPhone model. Surprisingly, 89.6% said they’re not willing to pay any more for such an iPhone. 

Far Out

Apple’s September 7 event announcement revealed artwork featuring the company’s logo among the stars paired with the phrase ‘Far Out’. This led to speculation that Cupertino plans to announce an astrophotography feature for iPhone 14 models – a rumor that’s received a lukewarm response from devotees. When asked if an astrophotography feature would entice them to upgrade, 78.7% of those without plans to upgrade said no. 

Methodology

In August 2022, we surveyed 2,549 US-based iPhone users who own an iPhone X or later and use it as their primary mobile device. Everyone surveyed also reported owning at least two iPhones previously. The average age of respondents was 34.4 years. The average household income of respondents was $68,606 per year. 

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