Today is a big day for Apple enthusiasts, as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models go on sale today.  For Apple (AAPL) stock, though, it hasn’t been a particularly happy time, as initial reports and short lines outside stores suggest overall demand for the 8 models will be lighter than prior releases.  One way to track interest in the iPhone 8 is to look at Google search trends for the iPhone 8 compared to the iPhone 7 when it was first released.  We would have looked back further at comparisons to other models, but Google changed its data collection methods in early 2016, so any search results prior to then do not provide an apples to apples comparison (no pun intended).

The chart below compares search results between the iPhone 7, which was released last September, and the iPhone 8.  Looking at the chart, search trends for the iPhone 7 really dwarfed the current search trends for the iPhone 8.  Back in 2016, search trends for the 7 peaked right around the time the phone was first unveiled in early September.  For the iPhone 8, the spike in search activity hasn’t been nearly as strong as the iPhone 7.

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At first glance, the above chart looks like horrible news for Apple and supports the idea that sales trends for the new model, which goes on sale today, will be weaker than other models.  What this line of reasoning misses, though, is that this time around Apple is releasing two different iPhone models.  The chart below compares Google search trends for the iPhone 7 and the iPhone X.  Here again, peak search trends for the iPhone 7 dwarf the iPhone X, but what is notable is that search trends for the X have been nearly as strong as the 8.  Obviously, search trends don’t translate to actual sales, but it is noteworthy that consumers are searching for the iPhone X nearly as often as they are searching for the iPhone 8 even though sales for the iPhone X are expected to be much lower than sales of the iPhone 8.

Combining the search results for both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X and comparing it to the search trends for the iPhone 7 provides some encouraging results for Apple.  Here, results for these two models actually exceeded the peak search results for the iPhone 7 by a margin of 10%.

Finally, another way to gauge the overall strength/momentum of the iPhone is to simply look at search results for the iPhone over time.  Here again, search trends for iPhone remain positive and are currently higher now than they were last September with the release of the iPhone 7.

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