After a year of confusing and contradictory reports about the popularity of the iPhone X, Apple unofficially killed its flagship aircraft in 2017 to make room for two sequels: the iPhone XS at the same price and iPhone XR at a lower price. Now the iPhone X is ready for a comeback, reports the Wall Street Journal, while the XR will see a drop in prices – but apparently only in foreign markets.
This report shows that contractual obligations and consumer price sensitivity are behind changes, which are not common to Apple specifically and overall smartphone makers. After agreeing to buy a number of minimum OLED screens from Samsung Display, Apple's orders fell short after recent cuts to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max production. Rather than making more XS devices to fill the gap, Apple is said to have continued making the iPhone X, which is cheaper to make.
But the iPhone X may not reappear in North American stores in the near future. Devices that are stopped will appear secretly as "old models for certain markets where there is enough demand for these devices," the Journal reported, hinting that they could emerge in countries where iPhone prices have become very problematic. Customers in India and China openly balked at the price of the iPhone this year, raising the possibility that the iPhone X could reappear there.
In addition, Apple has reportedly decided to offer subsidies to help key wireless operators lower the prices of XR iPhones in Japan, a "de facto discount" of unspecified amounts given the price of Japanese smartphones that are deliberately blurry. Price cuts are expected to start early next week, which aims to help Apple maintain its new Japanese market share of 46.7 percent.
In Japan, iPhone XR sales are said to lag behind expectations, while the previous generation of iPhone 8 continues to run well with Japanese consumers – a situation that seems to have been seen in other countries as well. Although reviewers in the US have generally praised the similarity of XR with XS with an initial price lower than $ 250, some Japanese consumers have taken issue with compromised XR screens, camera capabilities, and data speeds.
It is not known at this point whether the iPhone XR will receive the same discount in other markets, and whether the latest reports on new iPhone sales are slower than expected accurate or pessimistic. Earlier this month, Apple announced that it would no longer reveal sales of iPhone units, which would make estimates and tracking even more opaque than in the past.