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More Than 350M iPhones Could Be Upgraded in the Next 12 to 18 Months

Millions of people around the globe are seriously considering upgrading their iPhones in the next year or so. But whether they will remains to be seen.

That’s the main takeaway from a research note GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives sent to investors on Monday. He reported that there are 350 million iPhones that are in what he calls the “window of opportunity” to be upgraded within the next 12 to 18 months. And although that could represent a major opportunity for Apple, the company will need to attract shoppers in the coming months to make them want to switch.

Ives, like many other analysts and industry watchers, believes Apple will release three new iPhones this year. One of them will be a direct successor to last year’s iPhone X with a 5.8-inch OLED screen. The other could feature a 6.1-inch LCD display and the most expensive of them could launch with a 6.5-inch OLED screen. All of the handsets are expected to look like the iPhone X with a notch at the top of the screen and thin bezels all around.

Much has been made over the last couple of years about a glut of older iPhones in the wild that owners will want to upgrade. Some have called it the iPhone “super cycle.” But so far, that super cycle of upgrades hasn’t materialized. And some analysts have looked at Apple’s tepid iPhone performance in recent quarters as proof that people are holding on to their handsets for longer.

Looking ahead, Ives told investors that he believes this year’s new iPhones could help Apple “capture the underlying demand/upgrades among customers that have decided to bypass” last year’s models. But in order for this year to be a true success, Ives warned, Apple will need to get the majority of those 350 million iPhone owners to upgrade to new devices.

Apple is expected to unveil its new iPhones in September.