iPhone owners aren't upgrading to iPhone X due to price, lack of exciting features, survey suggests

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A recent survey conducted by Piper Jaffray suggests many existing iPhone owners are resisting the urge to upgrade to iPhone X because the latest and greatest model does not present enough of a benefit to overcome its high price tag.

In a research note, Piper Jaffray's Michael Olson asked a group of 1,500 iPhone owners a single question that cuts to the core of Apple's iPhone X sales performance, a handset many industry insiders expected to shatter sales records, Apple 3.0 reports.

"You currently own an iPhone yet you didn't upgrade to (what Apple believes is) the best Apple phone yet, the iPhone X. Why?" the survey asked.

An overwhelming majority of answers pertained to cost. For example, 44 percent of respondents said they have yet to upgrade because "my iPhone works fine," a reply that implies iPhone X either lacks "must have" features or asks too much for the functions it does offer. To the point, 31 percent said the handset is simply "too expensive."

Another 8 percent said they prefer a screen size larger than iPhone X's 5.8-inch display, while 17 percent did not upgrade for "other reasons."

While Apple logged its best quarter ever during the three-month period ending in December, with revenue of $88.3 billion, iPhone sales dropped 1.2 percent year-over-year. At least partly to blame was an extended first fiscal quarter in 2017, which ran one week longer than the recently ended period, and a later than normal launch for iPhone X.

Subsequent reports claim Apple is cutting iPhone X production on slower than expected demand, though such assertions from supply chain sources smack more of speculation than fact.

For its part, Apple CEO Tim Cook during a quarterly earnings conference call last month said iPhone X has been Apple's top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November. Still, overall unit sales failed to impress Wall Street.

Though iPhone X raised iPhone's average selling price to a record-setting $796.42, the device did not fuel the "super cycle" some analysts predicted.

Looking ahead, Apple is rumored to be working on a series of three handset releases this fall highlighted by an updated iPhone X and a jumbo-sized 6.5-inch X-series handset. A low-cost LCD model with X-series features, like Face ID and a full-face display, is also anticipated.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the purported next-gen iPhone lineup ticks most of the boxes alluded to in Piper Jaffray's survey. Customers who shied away from upgrading will be offered both an affordable handset solution and a larger screened model, though the latter will undoubtedly come with flagship pricing.

All new models are expected to build on cutting edge hardware introduced with iPhone X, namely the TrueDepth camera system.

In light of this year's rumors, Piper Jaffray maintains its iPhone sales estimate of 233.8 million units for fiscal 2019, a figure that comes in about 7 million units, or 3 percent, above consensus.