Just a short few months ago, the iPhone X was the talk of the town. The hype for the November 2017 release of the 10th anniversary model of the iPhone was unbelievable. Not only did the phone sell out in a matter of minutes when the online pre-orders became available, but on the release date hundreds of thousands stood in line eagerly waiting to become iPhone X owners. Who knew that within only three months of its release, Apple would be leaning towards discontinuing the phone that was advertised as the company’s most innovative phone ever.
Rumors of the iPhone X being discontinued first began to circulate last week when KGI Securities and reputable Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, posted an investors note on popular website MacRumors. In his note, Kuo indicates Apple was taken by surprise by the unexpectedly low iPhone X sales, especially in the Chinese market, and therefore was unprepared to be hit by the stagnant sales so soon after the phone’s release. Kuo attributes one major factor for the weaker-than-expected demand for the iPhone X in China to be the fact that customers are willing to wait on average 10 months longer before replacing their existing phones, compared to shorter replacement cycles in the year-ago quarter. The second big factor is assumed to be the lack of usable screen space for the Chinese consumers. Just shy of being bezel-free, the iPhone X’s screen is still not comparable to the much larger amounts of usable screen space on Chinese mobile devices. This makes the iPhone X incompatible for many popular Chinese apps, and paired with the high price, the phone is essentially undesirable to the Chinese market.
Another major factor is the possibility of Apple launching a new line-up of phones for the market. Previously, Kuo predicted Apple would release three iPhones in 2018: a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone X, a 6.5-inch OLED iPhone X Plus, and a 6.1-inch LCD display model. More than likely, these models will be equipped with a full-screen notched design and TrueDepth camera system like the current iPhone X. Kuo believes a 6.5-inch OLED and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone model will boost Apple’s market share in China and that the cheaper LCD iPhone model will make it easier for users worldwide own a 3D sensing and full-screen designed iPhone without breaking the bank.
On Jan. 22, Kuo released an update to his earlier investors note, which predicts what Apple’s new lineup will most likely look like the following:
- iPhone SE: $349
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: $449 and $569
- iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: $549 and $669
- 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID: $649 or $749
- 5.8-inch second-generation iPhone X: $999
- 6.5-inch second-generation iPhone X Plus: $1,099
With the 6.1-inch LCD model on the market, Kuo doubts Apple would drop the price in the first-generation iPhone X, as it would more than likely cannibalize the sales of the former model. At this point, the topic is widespread speculation since Apple has yet to definitively verify any of the rumors. However, it is clear that the iPhone X wasn’t as big a hit as Apple had be planning or hoping for. That said, while it may not have been a bestseller, if the rumors are accurate, the iPhone X would at the very least be a huge record breaker. If discontinued, the model would not only be the first iPhone in history to not be made available at a cheaper price point once the next-gen models are released, but it would be the first iPhone model ever to be discontinued less than a year after its introduction.