Social Listening Beyond Sentiment: What Unfolded After the iPhone 7 Release

Ever since 2007, Apple has introduced new iPhones into the market, and on September 7th, 2016, it released “the best iPhone it has ever made”: the iPhone 7.
By looking at the hype of the previous Apple Events, it is no surprise that the 2016 #AppleEvent led to almost 2 million posts on Twitter. After September 7th, we analyzed social conversations to gather insights about Apple’s new product, with the goal of understanding how the iPhone 7 performed on social media beyond the general sentiment, and what product features were most talked about.

iPhone 7 Pre-release Analysis

From fans expressing their excitement to critics reviewing iPhone’s leaked features, we’ve gathered the different topics of conversation that show the varying customer expectations before the #AppleEvent.
As shown in the visual, the conversation progressively increased since August 1st, and it focused on several topics, such as the arrival of the iPhone 7, purchase intent of the new phone, as well as rumors about its features and its design.
Apple can use the insights from pre-release conversations, such as the discontent for the new headphones, to address these issues further on, such as in the #Apple Event or in future campaigns.

iPhone 7 Post-release Analysis


As expected, the #AppleEvent generated more than 1.7 million posts on social media on the release date, September 7th.
During and after the #AppleEvent, people from all over the country tweeted their opinions about the price and the newest features: headphones, water-resistance, design, color, and camera. Using Crimson Hexagon’s social media analytics platform, we analyzed the basic sentiment about each feature of the iPhone 7 to understand the reasons behind the positive and negative sentiment over the iPhone 7.daily-basic-sentiment-trend-from-2016-09-07-to-2016-09-12

Most Talked-About Features of the iPhone 7


At the #AppleEvent, Apple released the prices starting from $649 for the iPhone 7 and $769 for the iPhone 7 Plus. Although being a similar price to the iPhone 6s, the conversation on Twitter around the price of the new phone was more negative than positive by 18%.
Some of the concerns with the iPhone 7’s price were not being able to afford them, cheaper competitors offerings, as well as the fact that the AirPods aren’t included and would cost an additional $159.
On the flip side, consumers seem to be excited about their upgrade plan, where they would only pay a small fraction of the price to upgrade their old iPhones to the iPhone 7, as well as the new prices being the same price as the older iPhone, the iPhone 6s.


One of the most controversial features of the new iPhone was the removing of the headphone jack, just like the leaked information had confirmed. The 43% negative sentiment comes from the fact that most people think the new headphones, the AirPods, will get easily lost since they are wireless.

Another big reason for the backlash is the inability to use an auxiliary cord when playing music in places such as a car or a speaker that doesn’t support wireless connection. Although the new iPhone comes with a lightning adapter that goes into the charging port, this means that using cords is possible as long as the battery isn’t being charged.
Aside from these two main big inconveniences, people are complaining about the fact that the AirPods aren’t included with the new phone; in fact, they are sold at $159. They are not only expensive but also have to be routinely charged, something that could be tedious for those who barely remember to charge their phones every morning.
As one of the biggest concerns after the launch, Apple will have to find a way to address the ‘headphone issue’ and find clever ways to promote the AirPods, as this feature has stopped many customers from purchasing the product.


Although the water-resistant feature on the iPhone 7 is a plus for those who drop their phone in the water, a lot of the negative conversation came from the expectations for a waterproof phone, not just a water-resistant phone. When compared to Apple’s competitors, such as Samsung or LG, their devices have the ability to be submerged underwater, not just for accidental purposes. This debate led to a higher negative sentiment rather than an overall positive one.


The iPhone 7’s design was one of its key positive aspects. Described as a phone that looks “nice, amazing, cool, great, pretty and lit”, there’s no doubt that the phone’s sleek design is one of their main selling points.


One of the most talked-about features of the new smartphone were the colors. 87% of the conversation around color was about their newest tone: Jet black, and as you can see, half of the conversation was positive as people praised and expressed their desire to buy this new color.


From the conversation about the camera, we see that it was mostly positive as people appreciated the dual lens as well as the enhanced quality of the camera lens, especially the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera quality. With its 2x optical lens, it provides an image quality better than the older phones, making it a big plus for people who enjoy taking pictures with their phone.
Understanding the sentiment of each element of the iPhone 7 is key to learn how the new device performed after its release and is critical to the decision making of the development of future products.
Retail brands like Apple can listen to social conversations to recognize the indicators of a launch failure or success, as well as to get recommendations for future production.
For more information on how to use social media analytics to uncover insights from product conversation, check out our Beats vs. Bose Case Study.

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