iPhone 12 and 5G triggered a record number of upgrades in Q1 2021

Iphone 12 5g
Iphone 12 5g (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Q1 2021 experienced the most iPhone upgrades ever in a quarter.
  • Apple attributes the performance to the iPhone 12 lineup and its inclusion of 5G.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri both took questions during the company's Q1 earnings call in which Apple announced record-breaking revenue of over $110 billion. Apple's iPhone business saw impressive growth despite releasing its new iPhone 12 lineup later than usual due to supply-chain challenges during the pandemic.

Even with these challenges in place, Tim Cook revealed during the call that the company had experienced "the largest number of upgraders that we've ever seen in a quarter" during Q1 2021.

"If you look at this past quarter, which, we started selling to two of the iPhones four weeks into the quarter and the other two, seven weeks into the quarter. And so I would caution that this is in the early going, but in looking at the iPhone 12 family, we saw both switchers and upgraders increase on a year over year basis. And in fact, we saw the largest number of upgraders that we've ever seen in a quarter. And so we were very thrilled about that."

Iphone 12 All Colors

Iphone 12 All Colors (Image credit: Apple)

When asked about iPhone performance in China, Cook pushed back saying that China was much more than just iPhone, but also mentioned that the country also saw a record number of upgraders.

"China was more than an iPhone story. iPhone did do very well there, and sort of like the world, if you look at both switchers and upgraders, we were up year over year, and China also had a record number of upgraders during the quarter, the most we've ever seen in a quarter. I think probably some portion of this was that people probably delayed purchasing in the previous quarter as rumors started appearing about an iPhone. Keep in mind that, 5G in China, the network is well established and the overwhelming majority of phones being sold are 5G phones. And so I think there was some level of anticipation for us delivering an iPhone with 5G and so iPhone did extremely well. However, the other products did as well. I mean, we could not have turned in a performance like we did with only iPhone."

Cook attributed the record number of upgrades to the iPhone 12 lineup and Apple's switch to 5G. The CEO reiterated that the United States and China are some of the leaders in the 5G rollout, so consumers in both countries are upgrading to take advantage of the new technology.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.