At this point it has become a predictable pattern every summer: the ramp-up of consumer interest and self-guided evaluation before Apple releases a new iPhone. Technology news sites suggest the iPhone 7 will be released and available for sale by mid-September. However, there is a twist to this year’s unveiling. It has been widely reported that Apple will be breaking up their tradition of releasing major upgrades every other year with an incremental “S” upgrades in-between.
2014’s iPhone 6 was notable for the larger size options and the addition of Apple Pay. As per tradition, the iPhone 6s was released in September 2015 setting the stage for the iPhone 7 release in September of 2016. However, it looks to be an incremental product update; and Apple has a major upgrade in store for the iPhone 8 next year coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the paradigm-shifting smartphone.
Here is what Hitwise discovered about what consumers are searching for when evaluating the iPhone 7.
Interest is lower than the iPhone 6—but what about the 7 Pro and Plus?
In overall searches, the iPhone 7 is being searched at a lower rate than the iPhone 6 was at a similar time period, but higher than the iPhone 6s. That is possibly because word is out that the iPhone 7 will be more of an incremental upgrade than the major refresh with the iPhone 6.
How to read this graph: There has traditionally been a spike for searches in the run up to September. This year, searches for iPhone 7 spiked when the ‘se’ was released, then dropped off until May. iPhone 7 searches have then been on an upward curve, but still remain lower than the overall share of searches for the iPhone 6 in 2014.
When looking at searches specifically related to the iPhone 7*, unsurprisingly the “iPhone 7 release date” ( 4.81% of searches) is the most commonly searched phrase after “iPhone 7”. Interestingly, the term “iPhone 7 Pro” (.52% share of searches) is getting a significant amount of searches, though not as much as the “iPhone 7 Plus” (1.22% share of searches), which is the large-sized version. The “Pro” has been rumoured to be even bigger than the Plus, although Apple has not confirmed it at this time.
Searches for features and specs lead the way, followed by price
Reports are swirling on the web that the iPhone 7 will have a dual camera to increase stabilisation, which is perhaps why the most popular feature search is the “specs” (.0.44% share of searches). This is followed closely by searches related to the “size” (.39%) and “camera” (.30%).
Many consumers want to know what is new and improved as they decide whether they want to upgrade from their current smartphone, whether it be an earlier iPhone model or an Android. In fact, over the past several weeks’ searches comparing the iPhone 7 vs. the Samsung Galaxy (.10% share of searches) and Note (.21%) have been popping up.
The next most searched topic revolves around pricing—perhaps a more significant factor now that many carriers are doing away with subsidised phones and accompanying two-year contracts.
Colours remain important to consumers
As with the iPhone 6s release, people are searching about the iPhone colours (.35% share of searches), particularly blue (.29%) and rose gold / pink (.18%). The introduction of “rose gold” was a pretty big deal, but this year it is rumoured blue will be the new colour, and in recent weeks it has jumped above rose gold in searches.
Consumer search behavior shows us that there is demand for iPhone 7, but because this will be an incremental upgrade, consumers are doing their homework to decide whether they should buy or wait a year for the 10th Anniversary iPhone 8, rumoured to be coming with a curved display next year.
* Keywords used in searches for iPhone 7 collected over 4 rolling weeks, ending August 27th, 2016