After a year of confusing and controversial reports on the popularity of the iPhone X, Apple unceremoniously killed its flagship for 2017 to make room for two sequels: iPhone XS at the same price and iPhone XR at lower prices. Now the iPhone X is ready to return, the Wall Street Journal reports, while XR will see a drop in prices – but apparently only on certain foreign markets.
The report shows that contractual obligations and consumer price sensitivity are behind the changes that are atypical for both Apple and smartphone manufacturers as a whole. After agreeing to buy a minimum number of OLED screens from the Samsung Display, Apple orders dropped after the last cut of iPhone XS and iPhone XS XS production. Instead of making more XS devices to fill the gap, Apple claims to have resumed production of the iPhone X, which costs less.
But iPhone X is unlikely to appear again in North American stores. Discontinued devices would appear quietly as "hereditary models for selected markets where there is enough demand for these devices," the journalists' report said, suggesting that they could emerge in countries where iPhone prices have become particularly problematic . Customers in India and China openly ignored the prices of iPhones, which increased the likelihood of the iPhone X reappearing there.
In addition, Apple reportedly decided to offer subsidies to help large wireless operators reduce the iPhone XR prices in Japan – a "de facto discount" of an unspecified amount, given the deliberately opaque pricing of Japanese smartphones. The price cut is expected to begin early next week to help Apple keep its recent 46.7% share on the Japanese market.
In Japan, sales of iPhone XR are lagging behind expectations, while iPhone 8 from a generation of a new generation continues to do well with Japanese consumers – a situation that is obviously seen in other countries. While US reviewers generally praised XR's resemblance to XS at a lower starting price of $ 250, some Japanese users have expressed doubts about the XR's compromised screen, camera capabilities, and data rates.
It is not known at this stage whether iPhone XR will receive similar price cuts in other markets and whether recent reports of slower-than-expected sales of new iPhones are accurate or pessimistic. Earlier this month, Apple announced it would no longer disclose sales of iPhone devices, making forecasting and tracking even more opaque than in the past.