Going wrong: The desire to fix the iPhone X


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Let’s face it, the iPhone X is a huge problem! It’s obvious! People are saying it, so it must be true. The only question is how to fix the problem. Luckily, internet talky people are here to tell Apple how. Thank God. Finally someone is giving Apple some free advice.

Writing for Fortune, Mohanbir Sawhney has the goods.

“Here’s Where Apple Went Wrong With the iPhone X.” (Tip o’ the antlers to mylestaylor.)

Oh, good, we’re finally going to get to the bottom of this. OK, sit down everyone. Shh. Quiet. OK, go ahead Mohanbir.

Apple, which reportedly plans to cut its production target in half for the iPhone X because of slower-than-expected sales…

OK, just gonna go ahead and stop you there. Let’s just talk about this report because the math behind it is kinda bonkers.

Nikkei reported that Apple was cutting its iPhone X orders for the first calendar quarter in half, from 40 million phones to 20 million. Sure, that makes… uh, no sense at all.

As Ryan Jones points out, Apple sold about 50 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2017 and again in 2016. Does it seem logical that the company thought it would sell 40 million $1,000 iPhones this year in the same quarter? Not so much. They don’t always get forecasts exactly right, obviously, but they’re a bit better than overestimating by 100 percent. That’s more how the Macalope handles his finances.

The report that Sawhney links to for support says:

The cut was prompted by slower-than-expected sales in the holiday shopping season in Europe, the United States and China, Nikkei reported.

Well, let us just go to Kantar Worldpanel.

“iPhone X boosts Apple OS share in key markets.”

The flagship iPhone X made it into the top three best-selling devices in the month of December across Europe, Urban China, Japan, Australia and the United States.

Something here ain’t right, that’s for sure. To be fair, Kantar is a research group while… Nikkei’s report relies on unnamed sources.

Sometimes “fair” means pointing out one side carries more weight. You could also just ask Tim Cook.

iPhone X was the best selling smartphone in the world in the December quarter, according to Canalys, and it has been our top-selling phone every week since it launched.

Sounds awful.

Sawhney is barreling ahead with how Apple might fix this imaginary problem that seems to actually be the opposite of what’s presented.

If it cuts the price of the iPhone X to spur sales, it risks compromising its profits and premium image. If it sticks to the $1,000 price point, it risks disappointing sales for its flagship phone.

Since we’re still on this “disappointing sales” thing, let’s also take a look at this report from AppLovin.

Despite initial uncertainty about the sales performance of the iPhone X, we see substantial numbers of consumers willing to shell out $1,000+ for a smartphone. Impressions on the iPhone X are steadily climbing into the new year as supply of the device becomes abundant, and they’re set to exceed the iPhone 8 in the next couple of months.

This is a real he said / she said situation where one side has actual numbers and the other side might be people who have a vested interest in seeing the company’s stock tank.

So what can Apple do? One option is to adopt the “car dealer strategy,”…

Mmm, yes, that certainly sounds like Apple and offering incentives through Best Buy as Sawhney suggests certainly won’t compromise Apple’s “premium image” at all. Nope. Maybe they should just walk into the Mall of America and shoot iPhone Xs out of a t-shirt cannon. That’ll really drive units.

But price is not the only problem for the iPhone X…

Certainly not. So many problems.

The iPhone X also has an annoying design glitch: a “notch”…

Again, the Macalope is not a notch fan, either, but most iPhone X owners will tell you that you simply don’t notice it after a while.

Instead of perpetuating the bifurcated market, Apple needs to upgrade the features of its iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

If you take the Nikkei report and those from Kantar and AppLovin and Apple itself at equal value (which is kind of a crazy thing to do), the very most we can say is that there’s conflicting evidence. That is clearly enough for pundits to weigh in on how to “fix” this “problem” that is dragging down the company that reported a record quarter this week. But the Macalope thinks the iPhone X is doing just fine.

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