China’s biggest gamblers really love their iPhones

Apple appears to have some good cards to play in 2017

With Mobile World Congress coming up next week, Apteligent’s latest research data will make interesting reading. Not only does it suggest potentially large demand for iPhone 8, but it also tells us the iPhone 7 is already incredibly popular among some of the world’s wealthiest gamblers.

Poker Face

The report claims that Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus is the eighth most popular smartphone in use across the planet, but claims it is used by 18 percent of smartphone users in Macau, making it the number one device there.

“Macau is an autonomous territory of China,” the report explains. “Its gambling capital, and one of the richest regions in the world. This high concentration of wealth (in an area of fewer than 12 square miles) drove Apple’s newest and most expensive device to the top of the rankings,” it explains.

Macau is known as the “Vegas of China” and was a Portuguese territory until 1999. As of 2015, Macau has a higher GDP than any other country in the world. What does this prove? I guess it shows that when people can afford an iPhone, they’ll get one.

Island nations

Apteligent’s report, which mainly focuses on how smartphone users behave when an app crashes (many of them just quit using the app), also reveals the unique discovery that iPad use is most prevalent among island nations.

“Top island regions include Saint Pierre and Miquelon (iPad Air 2 with ~25% of iOS usage), French Polynesia (iPad Air with ~11% of iOS usage), and Turks and Caicos Islands (iPad Air 2 with ~9% of iOS usage).”

That’s an interesting statistic that might reflect how iPads are becoming prime entertainment devices in places with good mobile broadband; while also being highly effective tools in the hospitality and leisure industries.

China’s biggest gamblers really love their iPhones2 Apteligent

This is the iPhone market according to Apteligent.

The stranger song

One more statistic worth taking a look at is Apteligent’s discovery that most of the iPhones in use in the world today are iPhone 6 models, with the iPhone 6S the most popular device in wealthier economies. The iPhone 5S is the third most widely used iPhone model on a global basis, the report reveals. (There’s an interactive map that shows this.)

This is interesting and puts Apple in a cat bird seat posture as it looks to its next play in the smartphone game. Most industry observers already expect iPhone 7 sales to slow down in the next few quarters as consumers wait for news of the tenth anniversary iPhone 8.

That isn’t a bad thing. It means that by the time the company introduces its new smartphone it will have tens of millions of loyal iPhone users looking at its new products.

Many (not just early adopters) will be eager to buy a new Apple phone, because they will be using models that are already almost four years old. We know they want to be up-to-date with Apple’s tech as almost 80 percent of all active iOS users are already running iOS 10.

Winner takes it all

Apple’s biggest competitor is reeling. Samsung is also the world’s most widely used Android device vendor in 83 percent of the countries of the world, but has hit a fistful of big problems.

Not only has its heir apparent been arrested, but it has had to slow down its release schedule to avoid any more negative PR, following an explosive problem in 2016. Not only that, but public perception of the brand is at a new low even as Apple beats Samsung’s market share.

Loss of consumer loyalty will likely mean that many Samsung users will at least be curious about whatever iPhone announcements Cupertino may have to make this year. This includes any news that may emerge next month.

I predict tens of millions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S owners across the planet will migrate to the new device. That's fairly typical -- what isn't typical is my second prediction: That iPhone 8 will prompt one of the biggest Android-to-iOS switches we've seen as consumers fall out of love with big brand Samsung.

I can’t help but look at the cards on the table and think Apple faces an unprecedented opportunity as it prepares to introduce its new iPhone. I’m not the only one to see it this way -- Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White observes: “Apple has Samsung on the ropes like never before in recent memory.”

Do not underestimate Tim Cook. He appears to have a rather effective poker face.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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