Researcher Horace Dedlu determined lifespan by using the number of active devices and the cumulative total of products sold. The former number, revealed during Apple’s Q1 financial call last month, has only been disclosed once before.
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When you subtract the number of active devices from the total number sold, the remaining number is the amount of products that have been retired in a quarter. Dedlu contends that figuring the average lifespan is as easy as calculating when the number of devices sold at one time equals the number of devices that have been retired at a later time.
To use his own results as an example, the number of products sold in Q3 2013 equals the number of products retired in Q4 2017 — and from that you can infer that was the moment the 2013 devices died and their owners went out to buy new ones.
Based on these factors, Dedlu puts the average lifespan of an Apple device at just over 4 years. That number has also increased over time. In an earlier article on Asymco, Dedlu estimated that two out of every three Apple devices were still in use at any given time.
Almost all of Apple’s toys were included in this data, including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. I’d be eager to see breakdowns for each individual product, as the lifespan of a Mac is probably different from that of an Apple Watch.
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