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Mixpanel: iPhone 5s to soon become most popular current iPhone model

updated 09:58 pm EST, Fri March 7, 2014

Report confirms speculation that 5s outselling 5c by 3:1

A new report from mobile ad analysis firm Mixpanel has reinforced some speculation about the iPhone 5s, even as it has dispelled other rumors about the iPhone 5c. In its latest report, the company says that the iPhone 5s is set to top the popular iPhone 4s in user share, with the newer model currently accounting for about 19 percent of all active iPhones.

Contrary to a number of puzzling media reports that the iPhone 5c has failed to catch on, the chart below shows it steadily gaining in sales, having risen to about 6.34 percent of the iPhone userbase since September. While the iPhone 5s is unsurprisingly more popular, being a more advanced model, the previous "mid-price" model -- the iPhone 4S, which became the "middle child" when the iPhone 5 debuted -- is declining in active users rapidly, as the iPhone 5 and 4 as users upgrade.

Counting both together, the three currently-available models -- the 5s, 5c and 4S -- make up about half of all of the iPhone userbase, precisely as one might expect. The iPhone 5 is also declining in users, but more slowly -- which suggests owners of that model have largely opted to hold out for the next iPhone revision (expected in the fall) rather than upgrade, again exactly as one would expect given the two-year cycle of most smartphone contracts.

Whether the iPhone 5c is performing to Apple's expectations is hard to determine, but reports of it being a "flop" have been directly contradicted by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has pointed out that the iPhone 5c is outselling the iPhone 4S at the same point in its "middle-child" position last year. The company continues to offer the iPhone 4S as an "entry level" smartphone, and is said to have resumed production of the iPhone 4 for certain developing markets. Currently, the two have 23.94 percent and 16.43 percent share, respectively.

The iPhone 5, which was taken off the market by Apple and replaced with the iPhone 5c, continues to hold the lion's share at 32.65 percent of the current active userbase. The iPhone 5s and 5c are the only models that are growing in share, with the decline of the 4S roughly matching the rise of the 5c in terms of recent rates of change. The iPhone 5s averages a rise of about 0.5 percent per week, at least since the end of the year, while the 5c grows at about 0.15 percent, again roughly one-third the rate of iPhone 5s adoption.

The Mixpanel results, according to the company, were drawn from 194.3 billion app and mobile ad interactions referred to as "sessions" between September 9 of last year and March 3. According to the averages, the iPhone 5s is likely to eclipse the 4S in share sometime next month.

by MacNN Staff





  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-28-08

    I don't quite understand how third parties can call the iPhone 5c a flop when they probably don't have precise sales numbers or whether the 5c sales expectations set by Apple were met or not. If the CEO says the 5c wasn't a flop should we take that as a fact or is he lying to cover Apple's miss? I wouldn't think the CEO should have to lie about it even if sales expectations weren't met. I still think it's pretty arrogant for outsiders to call a product a sales failure if they don't know what the original goals were.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    To be somewhat fair to the analysts, the iPhone 5c is not growing as fast as *they* had expected prior to release, mostly because they thought that the 5c would cost less (arguably, it would be a great deal more popular if it did). So the iPhone 5c has missed *analyst* expectations, and is a "flop" by *their* standards, not necessarily by Apple's standards.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-06-01

    Between the high number of 4S owners (I'm one of them) and the very high loyalty of iPhone owners, I think there is a lot of pent-up demand for the iPhone 6. Should be HUGE. I hope Wall Street responds appropriately. Many analysts say AAPL is ridiculously undervalued and yet the share price still lingers in the low 500s.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Can't wait to see the long lines outside the Apple Stores for the iPhone 6.

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