Survey: Less than 10% of U.S. iPhone owners very likely to upgrade this year without a redesigned model

Only 9.3 percent of current iPhone owners are either "extremely likely" or "somewhat likely" to upgrade to a new iPhone this year if Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) doesn't redesign its smartphone, according to a new poll.

Quartz, which used SurveyMonkey Audience to conduct the survey of 525 iPhone-owning adults in the U.S., reports that 11.4 percent said they were somewhat likely to buy a new iPhone this year if it isn't redesigned, while one-third of respondents were "not so likely" and 46 percent were not at all likely to upgrade.

Unsurprisingly, respondents were more interested in upgrading to a redesigned iPhone. Nearly 12 percent said they were extremely interested in upgrading "to each new iPhone redesign," and 13.5 percent were very interested in buying each redesigned iPhone model. Some 38 percent were somewhat interested in upgrading to each new iPhone redesign, and roughly 37 percent were either not so interested or not at all interested.

That might be bad news for Apple, which is widely expected to make only minor modifications to the iPhone models expected to be released this fall. The next iPhone will reportedly be available with the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays that were first introduced in 2014, and Apple is expected to remove the headphone plug in the next version to create a thinner, more water-resistant handset.

The 2017 version could include an edge-to-edge OLED screen and might not have a home button but feature a fingerprint sensor built into the display. Nikkei reported last month that Samsung plans to ramp up production of OLED displays by more than 50 percent to meet demand from Apple and other vendors, with "a partial 2017 release" of an iPhone with an OLED display now anticipated.

Those reports align with speculation that Apple has extended its redesign timeframe for the iPhone to adjust to consumers' lengthening upgrade cycles. Apple has historically released a redesigned handset every two years, but the company has reportedly decided to make major changes to the iPhone every third year moving forward.

Such a move may benefit Apple's bottom line, but it wouldn't please many iPhone owners, according to Quartz's data. Roughly 49 percent in Quartz's poll said they upgrade their phone every two years, outpacing the combined number who upgrade every three years (24.2 percent) or less frequently (20.2 percent).

Apple was knocked from its perch as the top smartphone vendor in the U.S. a few months ago, when Samsung overtook the iPhone with its Galaxy S7. Whether Apple can reclaim its crown among U.S. consumers without a dramatically updated iPhone has yet to be determined.

For more:
- see this Quartz report

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