There is a bit of tug of war happening for Apple right now. The company says the iPhone XS, and especially the iPhone XR, are popular. However, it also admits not enough people upgraded to those popular devices in 2018.
Apple had a solid enough holiday quarter, especially in comparison to other companies out there. But when compared to itself, the 2018 holiday quarter wasn’t great. Or, at the very least, it could have been better. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, recently discussed many of the reasons why he believes people didn’t throw money at newer, more expensive devices last year, and all of them make sense. Especially when it comes to pricing, or the $29 battery replacement program.
The iPhone XS and XS Max are expensive handsets and the smartphone market is a mature one with plenty of competition for less money.
Still, Apple sold millions of iPhones, Macs, and iPads. The company’s services division is having a moment. And even Apple Music just passed 50 million paid subscribers. The company plans on launching a streaming service for TV shows and movies soon. And 2019 may see all those people who waited to upgrade in 2018 finally make the leap to new hardware. Things can definitely bounce back in some regards, and keep performing like gangbusters in others. Apple may be swimming upstream a bit when it comes to the iPhone, but it will probably be fine.
Apple says the iPhone XR is ridiculously popular and that’s actually backed up by third-party data. But the reality is that Apple is still a company that needs to sell things to make money, so while the devices may be selling just fine, that probably isn’t good enough. Apple is even heavily promoting trade-ins and monthly payments for its newest smartphones, a move that while not entirely brand new, feels a bit more forced this time around than in years prior.
I typically upgrade every year. It’s just a habit and one that’s incredibly hard to break. In my defense Apple usually makes a pretty good case for upgrading. That seemed a bit harder in 2018 between the iPhone X and iPhone XS, unless you were simply waiting for the bigger iPhone XS Max to finally launch (which was the case for me). However, instead of going with the XS Max I actually opted to go with a blue iPhone XR and I haven’t looked back. The color grabbed my attention and saving money sealed the deal for me.
But I know quite a few people who simply opted to replace the battery in their older iPhone to keep it kicking a bit longer. The difference between $29 and $749-$1,000+ is vast, and I can definitely understand the drive to want to wait, even with monthly payments available for the new devices.
Apple has a lot of ground to make up this year. If old rumors pan out, then iOS 13 could welcome a brand new, redesigned UI which may indeed be enough to spark a new wildfire of upgrades by the time the new iPhones launch later this year. Apple will have to make some changes if it wants to right the ship.
However, I’m more curious to hear from you and what you did, or didn’t do, with Apple’s latest iPhones. Did you upgrade? If you did, which model did you switch from, and which device did you buy and why? If you chose not to upgrade in 2018, why? Do you plan on buying a new iPhone this year?