How many iPhones are in use? Analyst estimates 715 million and counting

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So, just how many iPhones are being used around the world?

It’s commonly accepted that the Apple iPhone is the most popular smartphone in history. Apple itself has said it has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since the device made its debut in 2007. And with Apple selling 78.3 million iPhones in its most recent business quarter, demand for the iPhone still looks strong, to say the least.

In a research note he put out Sunday, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long said that the installed base of iPhones — or, iPhones that are actually in use — reached 715 million in December 2016. Long said that figure rose by 20 percent from the numbers of iPhones in use in 2015, and he estimates the installed base will grow by 13 percent this year, and another 9 percent in 2018.

Sure, there’s a discrepancy between the number of iPhones Apple says it has sold, and the number actually in use. But keep in mind, the first iPhone came out 10 years ago.

The odds are pretty good that someone who bought one of those original iPhones has upgraded and bought one or two more over the past decade. Long estimates that of those people who have held on to their iPhones for, say two or more years, a big upgrade cycle could be in the works, and give a push to not just iPhone sales, but also sales of Apple’s growing services business.

And with the next iPhone set to come out this fall — call it the iPhone 8, iPhone X, or iPhone (Insert Your Guess Here) — Apple is hoping that the 10th anniversary of the iPhone spurs a wave a new buying, and new customers in a few months.

Photo: Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook introduces the iPhone 7 at the product launch held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group).

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