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If it comes to pass, a potential 20.7 percent shift to Apple's "iPhone 7" would roughly match the migration to the iPhone 6 after six months of release, according to a new online poll.
A Quartz poll of 525 iPhone users suggests that upgrade levels could be similar even if Apple doesn't redesign the exterior casing of the new iPhone. 20.7 percent of respondents said that they were likely — in varying degrees — to move to the iPhone 7, regardless of exterior design.
However, 70 percent of the respondents suggested they might change their personal upgrade patterns to match Apple if it switches to a three-year redesign cycle, as has has been rumored. Apple and carriers cite two years as the current normal for upgrades.
Quartz's survey group included people with demographics similar to that of the U.S., but how well the it might match Apple's specific user demographic isn't clear. Not included in the survey were responses from people whose phones were in too poor a material condition to continue significantly past a potential September or October release timeframe.
Compounding potential aggravation with the lack of a major redesign in the iPhone 7 is the likely removal of the industry-standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Another common complaint about leaked designs includes the enlarged camera protrusion.
In April 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the iPhone 6 series had already sold 61 million units, which led to a record $13.6 billion in profits for the quarter. In response to a question after the earnings report, Cook noted that even with upgrades hitting 20 percent, there was "room to grow" for the next iteration of the phone, which turned out to be the iPhone 6s family. Overall market conditions and currency exchange considerations have softened the market since then.
In May, the UBS evidence lab conducted an international poll to gauge interest in an iPhone 7 with 6,336 smartphone users. In that poll, interest in the iPhone 7 — sight unseen — exceeded that of the iPhone 6s prior to launch, with nearly half of respondents found to be holding off on buying a new iPhone until the next model was available. Interest in the iPhone 7 was found to be less than that of the iPhone 6 prior to its launch.