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iPhone XS Max in greater demand than past Plus versions, says small-scale survey

A survey performed by long-time Apple analyst Gene Munster Stores Friday saw shorter customer queues at Apple retail stores, but higher demand for the highest-end model.

Gene Munster of Loup Ventures on Friday revealed that in a survey by the firm of 50 customers waiting in line for the new iPhones on release day, 70 percent reported buying an iPhone XS Max, compared to 54 percent who said they were buying the Plus model the last two years.

In addition, 71 percent of respondents said they were replacing phones from the 2017 generation. And Loup Ventures noted shorter lines than last year's iPhone X launch at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York.

"Customers are more interested in the Xs Max this year than they have been interested in Plus-sized phones in the past," Munster wrote. "Our confidence in our overall iPhone ASP of $791 for FY19 increased today, given 70% of customers we surveyed were buying the Xs Max. We were expecting 55%, which is consistent with a 54% average uptake of the Plus models from iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and 8. This $791 ASP estimate compares to Street consensus of $765, which is up from $757 before the Sept. 12 iPhone announcement event."

The survey, however, is far from scientific, for several reasons. Its sample of 50 customers is extremely small. Loup only visited five stores, four of which were in Minnesota with the fifth at Fifth Avenue in New York. Furthermore, the customers waiting in line on opening day are a tiny percentage of the overall customers who will purchase iPhones.

On Sept. 14, Munster reported that supply was not as constrained on preorder day for the iPhone XS and XS Max as it was for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.