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Average Apple Device Lifespan Estimated to be Over Four Years: Asymco

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Famed analyst Horace Dediu, founder at Asymco, has conducted a test that apparently reveals the estimated lifespan of Apple’s products, including iPads, Mac computers, and Apple Watches.

According to Dediu’s report, the average Apple device now has a lifespan of over four years, based on the relationship between active devices and cumulative devices sold.

Dediu is basing his calculation on figures released by Apple every quarter on how many units they have sold. It is also based on the rare figure of active devices, which Apple recently published to be at 1.3 billion. According to Dediu, by knowing the number of active devices along with the number of devices sold, it can be used to approximate the average device lifespan.

For example, the researcher discovered that the number of Apple products sold in the third quarter of 2013 was equal to how many products retired in Q4 of 2017. From here, you can assume that 2013 devices died in 2017, and that’s when users went to replace them with new ones.

The correlation is clear in the graph above; if you consider any point in time on the X-axis where you know how many devices are active over the cumulative number of devices sold, you can take their difference (750 million devices as of now) and trace back the moment when that was the cumulative number of devices sold.

The time difference between the two quarters is the (average) lifespan. Using this formula, Dediu estimated the average lifespan of Apple’s products to exceed four years.

“The lifespan is thus estimated at the time between now and Q3 2013 or 17 quarters or about four years and three months. Note that cumulative devices sold includes Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and iPod touch.”

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  • Ryan

    This would also need to account for shifts in market share wouldn’t it?

  • From my personal experience its 6-7 years before retiring an Apple device.

  • Stroodle

    I think that some consideration would have to be on the phone plans as well – I WAS on the 3 year plans back in the day and my plan usually ended in the spring. I found myself waiting unitl the fall when the new iPhone would inevitably come out and by the time it was available to me, my current phone was closing in on 4 years old – I’m sure they would have continued working, but I just upgraded instead.

  • Fshumayrqan

    my iphone5 still working.

  • Gerry Lee

    My iPhone 3G still works (I don’t use it any more). It’s just the matter of caring and maintaining your device. How often do people follow the battery charging cycle rule recommended by Apple? All my devices that uses batteries, least once a month I drain it down to roughly 5 to 10% and full charge it without use.

  • My 1/2 cents

    You’re the exception not the norm

  • My 1/2 cents

    For the most part, 4 years is not typical. However there’s always exceptions.

    Apple components are made much more cheaply than, say, Samsung which often are higher grade. Older iOS devices were much more durable than what’s available now. A 6 year fully functional iPhone is bunk.

    One of the most common issues with iPhones is the U2 charging chip fails killing your device. The general rule of not updating your OS to anything higher than one version above its original applies.

  • My 1/2 cents

    Smart phones were never ever designed to last that long..maybe desktops…maybe.

  • My 1/2 cents

    No

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    The article explains how they worked out that the average lifespan is 4 years and 3 months. Why do you say it’s “not typical”? What do you see as the flaw in their methodology?

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Great article. Very clever.

  • Matt Perreault

    Still using my 2012 MacBook Pro Retina all day for personal and professional use. My 2014 iPhone 6 Plus I will likely replace next cycle, it still works great I’m just envious of the nicer cameras on the newer phones. My 2012 MacBook I’ll use until it’s dead. It’s the best computer I have ever owned!

  • My 1/2 cents

    The article should be taken with a grain of salt. One researcher doing his own [subjective] analysis and extrapolation of data to prove his supposition rather than having the facts speak for themselves.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    But you say “4 years is not typical”. So what is typical? How do you know he’s wrong?

  • aOsTECH

    U2 chips are typically fried by shit chargers, they don’t usually spontaneously combust. use a quality charger and you don’t have this issue

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