Chinese Social Media Quiet Ahead of Apple’s ‘iPhone 7’ Announcement Than Last Year

Judging by social media conversations, Chinese interest in Apple’s “iPhone 7” appears to be subdued.

Comparing month-long run-ups before launch, 2014’s iPhone 6 generated 15 times more comments on China’s popular Sina Weibo microblogging site than this year’s announcement. The news agency did note however that there has been more traffic than for last year’s iPhone 6s, which had few significant hardware changes. Apple is due to announce its new product on Wednesday.

Ambivalence towards the “iPhone 7” was supported by the director of the China Market Research Group, Ben Cavender, who informed Reuters that local shoppers have expressed “muted” interest.

In street interviews with six people, most said they would wait to see what the phone’s features are like before buying, or hold out for a price drop. Only one person said they were definitely planning to buy the device.

Apple could potentially be a victim of its own success, as the iPhone 6 was the first iPhone of many Chinese buyers. Only two years later, people may not feel much pressure to upgrade, especially with rumors that next year’s model will bring more to the table, like an edge-to-edge OLED screen. Apple also faces competition from local smartphone giants such as Huawei and Oppo, who lead by a healthy margin. Apple ranks just fifth in the Chinese market despite being one of the world’s biggest corporations.

The “iPhone 7” is typically expected to be another interim refresh like the 6s, in this case adding a faster processor, better cameras, a Force Touch home button, and double the storage capacity. The “7 Plus” should add a dual-lens camera, and possibly a Smart Connector on the back.