Conspiracy theories: Working hard to find Apple’s problems


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Things are perpetually bad for Apple, provided you know what to look for.

Writing for Inc., Erik Sherman puts on those shades from They Live so he can see “Apple’s Secret Critical Sign that Things Are Really Bad for the iPhone.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

Are you ready? We’re going through the looking glass here, people.

Any company gives off signals as to how things are really going if you pay attention.

It’s very easy, see. First, get yourself a cork board, a whole mess of pushpins and some string. Next, you’ll need a basement, attic, or better yet, a room hidden behind a fake wall.

Oh, and you’ll also need to want to believe. Very important.

The number of [iPhone] units sold each quarter leave [sic] Macs, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and who knows what else in the dust.

Like, basically every other consumer electronic product, that’s “what else”.

So, yes! The iPhone is important to Apple. Which is why, if tomorrow there were some timeline-altering event that wiped the iPhone out of existence, it would be very bad for Apple. Presuming that event also didn’t change the name of the company to Klognarx Bloobonics, Inc. It seems like an event that big would probably have other ramifications.

A little “tell,” the unconscious signals people give off indicating problems, suggests that Apple has been worried and continues so.

Let’s go to this grainy video that shows Tim Cook performing an alien autopsy and Bob Mansfield looking over his should while walking away in a forest in the northwest.

It’s not what Apple is doing so much as what it isn’t doing. Apple has turned down the bragging.

So, Apple didn’t announce how many iPhone 8s were ordered the first weekend. Hmm. Boy, is there anything about this year that might make first weekend sales numbers not comparable to previous years? Like, did Apple announce more than one phone and does one of them have a later order and ship date or…? No? OK. Good chat.

Of course, Apple didn’t announce first weekend sales for the iPhone 7, either. Maybe Apple got tired of being nitpicked about numbers when companies like Amazon can ship who knows how many Echoes and have it be declared a stunning success. “The line on the chart with no numbers went up? That’s all we need to know!”

Yes, iPhone sales growth is not what it was. The same is true for the smartphone market as a whole.

It’s not the first time Apple decided to avoid reporting unit sales that could be considered embarrassing. It tosses the Apple Watch into the “other products” category in its financial reporting.

Define “embarrassing” here to mean “numbers that any other company would love to have”. The only way to make the orders for the Apple Watch look “embarrassing” is to compare them with the current sales figures for the iPhone, the most successful consumer electronic device there is.

Data from mobile analytics company Localytics suggested that the iPhone 7 had sold “on track” with previous models.

You could ask Apple about how much iPhone unit sales went up from the last calendar quarter of 2015 to the same period in 2016 when the iPhone 7 was launched (they went up by 3.4 million, by the way), or you can go to this company that guesses. And then you can look at market share numbers to try to make it look bad. Which is what Sherman does.

Combine that data with reports of short lines at Apple stores and it may be that the iPhone 8 isn’t going to go much of anywhere, comparatively speaking.

We’re in the second-to-last paragraph and we haven’t heard word one about the iPhone X.

The big question is how the iPhone X will do.

Ohhh, there it is, in the last paragraph.

A good many people might opt for it, but at that price, in a global and often price-sensitive market, the outrageous entry-level price could mean that an awful lot of consumers could give up on Apple and find satisfaction with other phones.

Right, because the iPhone X is their only option and it’s too expensive. Sherman just spent 11 paragraphs pretending the iPhone X didn’t exist, then he spends the last paragraph pretending the iPhone 8 doesn’t exist.

But, this is how conspiracy theories work. Inconvenient facts must be ignored, even if that presents contradictions.

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