Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- The average lifespan of an Apple device is four years and three months. — Asymco, 2018
- Two out of every three devices ever sold by Apple are still in use. — Asymco, 2018
How long can you expect your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Mac to live? If a recent analysis from Asymco is to be believed, the average lifespan of all Apple products on the market between 2013 and today is four years and three months.
Asymco mobile analyst Horace Dediu created a formula for device lifespan based on the number of devices sold versus the number of active devices in use.
In Apple CEO Tim Cook's fourth quarter investor conference call, he revealed that there are 1.3 billion monthly active Apple devices. This number "is the most important measure of the health of Apple's business," Dediu wrote in the analysis. "It's the primary way the company chooses to measure itself and it's the best instrument available to understand the company's strategy."
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This is only the second time this number was revealed, Dediu wrote: In January 2016, Cook said there were 1 billion active devices. Dediu calculated that Apple has sold 2.05 billion devices since the iPhone launched in 2007. Subtracting the number of active devices from the cumulative sales comes out to 750 million retired Apple devices.
The average lifespan of a device can be determined when cumulative sales equal the number of retired devices, the analysis stated. Apple's cumulative sales reached 750 million in Q3 of 2013, so Dediu estimates that the average device lifespan between then and now is four years and three months.
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This information is particularly useful to business users deciding which devices will offer the most bang for their company's buck. It also negates customer suspicions that Apple practices planned obsolescence, as noted by our sister site ZDNet, after the company admitted to limiting the performance of some iPhones in an attempt to prevent their batteries from shutting down without warning.
However, ZDNet noted that this average lifespan is still only an estimate, since Apple has only provided active device numbers in 2016 and 2017. It's also not clear how the average lifespan is impacted by the lifespan of Macs or iPads, which customers typically don't replace as often as phones.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.