Apple Finally Speaks About iPhone Sales Woes

Posted on November 28, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS with 35 Comments

An Apple executive has finally discussed the firm’s recent iPhone sales publicly, noting that the iPhone XR has actually outsold the iPhone XS and XS Max “each and every day” since it became available.

“The iPhone XR has been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available,” Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak told CNET.

Before anyone gets too excited by that comment, I’ll just point out that the iPhone XS and XS Max went on sale over a month before the iPhone XR, so that makes sense. You couldn’t even pre-order an iPhone XR when those two other phones became available. But the fact that iPhone XR outsold older iPhones, assuming that’s true, is kind of interesting.

Also, Mr. Joswiak refused to address reports in The Wall Street Journal that the new iPhones have not sold well.

“The iPhone XR has been the most popular and best-selling” iPhone since it hit the market,” he said again when asked about the sales shortfall.

Yes, that was literally all he said about this topic. Though he did add that “the iPhone XR is literally our most mainstream product,” when asked about the Product(RED) variant.


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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Apple Finally Speaks About iPhone Sales Woes”

  1. sirdilbert

    "Nothing to see, here. Please disperse." Iphone sales are just like everything else Apple, MS, or Google. They tell you the truth to the best of their ability, and it is that ability that is always questionable.

  2. BeckoningEagle

    The "since it hit the market" bit is where the poison is.

  3. MikeGalos

    Seeing that there have been reports that the iPhone XR has been a horrible disappointment in sales, saying “The iPhone XR has been the most popular and best-selling” without comparing it to any previous models or other company's models or providing sales numbers or share is essentially saying "As bad as sales have been for the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have been even worse".

  4. DaddyBrownJr

    I’m trying to figure out why anyone who isn’t a shareholder cares about this stuff.

    • mattbg

      In reply to DaddyBrownJr:

      I think it's interesting because Apple sets the standard in some ways, and they have a loyal user base that until now have been regularly upgrading their devices.

      If it's not happening anymore, it suggests that (1) the smartphone market is maturing and is no longer a growth area (which is important, because it's Apple's main source of revenue) and/or (2) Apple's new features are no longer that interesting to its loyal user base and/or (3) premium smartphone pricing has reached its limit.

      Until now, Apple has been able to push their agenda and users have for the most part gone along with them.

      That's interesting whether or not you are a shareholder, just as the future of Windows and other "history of computing" topics are interesting to some users. How Apple and the rest of the market responds will be interesting.

  5. jimchamplin

    Can we just agree not to talk about this crap? This bullshit gets trotted out every year and every year it turns out to be exactly that. Bullshit. It'll be no different this year.

    This is not news, never was news, never will be news. It's pundits trying to get kooky with crap so it lowers the stock price and they can buy low, then when the inevitable backswing happens after everyone realizes that it was just so much sunshine up the ass, the pundits then sell at the high point.

    There's breaking news. There's slow news. There's important, history making news. There's fake news. This is un-news.

    • wocowboy

      In reply to jimchamplin:
      You are absolutely right, every year in the runup to the launch of a new iPhone we get the same cut/paste articles about how there are delays, problems in manufacture, and that the new models don't work or have some fatal flaw that will ruin Apple's carefully planned launch. Then, in reality, the launch occurs on time and with not one problem. Next, a month or so following a launch we get articles from all the tech pundits cut/pasted from the previous year on how the new Apple phones aren't selling, manufacturers have had to cut orders, woe is Apple, Apple is doomed, and on & on. And lo & behold, at the next Quarterly Report function it turns out they have sold an average, or usually higher number of devices and produced higher revenues for stockholders and these nattering ninnies were proved wrong once again. And the cycle repeats.

      Tech pundits must have something to write about, whether it be creating doom & gloom narratives or griping that new devices, no matter what company produces them, are no longer exciting or that the company has lots its way, etc. It's why I do not place any stock in most of what pundits write, I only read it for entertainment value.

  6. wright_is

    So, yeah, he dodged the bullet completely and hasn't talked about poor sales at all or its partners issuing warnings or laying off staff due to reduced orders.

  7. dontbe evil

    oh they really said a lot... like sales numbers compared to previous iphones /s

  8. Tony Barrett

    You can almost imagine the Apple PR department and lawyers standing over this guys shoulder when he made that statement. As bland and uninformative as possible, but always with a positive spin. Corporate PR at it's best!

  9. mattbg

    It's hard to know what it means. It seems natural that the XR would outsell the others, being the new mainstream offering that (symbolically) replaces the iPhone 8 in the lineup.

    If the XS and XS Max are also under-performing, it doesn't mean a whole lot.

    I think the main point of interest is not so much the unit sales as it is the average selling price for iPhones, because Apple has known for some time that increasing unit sales was going to be a challenge.

  10. Chris_Kez

    Mr. Joswiak's data-free statement is the perfect accompaniment to the nothingburger of supplier-based rumors we've been fed the last few weeks. Let's agree to not waste any more time until we have some actual data that is significant.

    • Oreo

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Why don't we wait for the next quarterly report instead? We have seen this exact same story so many times: you read “Reports from the supply chain point to slow sales!” over and over again, and then Apple's sales numbers are meeting or exceeding expectations. And Apple will not announce anything about revenue and profits until then, their comments are just designed to calm down the stock market.

      We should not waste time on this, and instead wait a bit longer to judge Apple's financial performance when the numbers are out.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      I could not agree more. It stinks of linkbait pure and simple. Add to that Paul's long, odd, history of Apple loathing and it is even worse.

      Hedge fund mangers push out rumors each year to manipulate the market so they can make money. There is NO shortage of Tech bloggers needing content to grab the rumors and run. Corrections after Apple earnings reports are a very rare thing as well.

    • Jeffery Commaroto

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      I wish it would just stop already. Every year we do this dance.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to Jeffery_Commaroto:

        I wish it would just stop already. Every year we do this dance.

        Indeed. I’m always entertained when I read phrasing such as “Digitimes has a spotty record, for sure.”

        I add the implied “but hell, one year they *have* to be right...right?”

        Every year the “slow sales cause production cuts” stories.

        Every year Apple executives respond with “x device outsold other idevices daily”.

        And every year they are pretty close to their projections.

        I dont see this this year being any different.

        If so, who cares? It is obvious that at some point everyone who wants an iPhone will have one. At some point sales will peak.

        Unless Apple hire a bunch of thugs to drive around and knock the iPhones out of peoples’ hands, it *will* slow down.

        One can argue it is already happening. So?

        I didn’t stop buying computers when their sales slowed.

        I wont stop buying a new iPhone just because sales slowed either. I don’t buy a phone because everyone else is buying a phone.

        I buy a phone because I need one. Or, more often, because I want one.

  11. NT6.1

    If the iPhone is doing so well, give us the numbers. :)

    • lvthunder

      In reply to NT6.1:

      Why does it matter? All Apple's shareholders care about is the money at the bottom. The whole phone industry is going to go down because people are realizing they don't need a new phone every year.

    • red.radar

      In reply to NT6.1:

      When Apple reports Q4 results we will know everything we need to. It doesn't matter if apple smartphones sales are slowing if they are figuring out how to transition the business and maintain growth.

    • Oreo

      In reply to NT6.1:

      Numbers are announced four times a year in their quarterly earnings.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to NT6.1:

      If the iPhone is doing so well, give us the numbers. :)

      Agreed. Some numbers would be amazing, no?

      Hey, I was wondering. I just ordered a bunch of components for a new gaming rig I’m building.

      I’m thinking I should probably install Windows 10 on it. After all, Microsoft says it is the best yet, and it’s on a metric crap-ton of computers. But I’m not sure.

      Mind pointing me to the Microsoft article that gives me the installation numbers for Windows 10?

      See, I was stupid and assumed I’d be able to find it in a document titled “Earnings Release FY18 Q4 Microsoft Cloud Drives Record Fourth Quarter Results” (which I found in a Google search).

  12. provision l-3

    Good lord that CNET article is a bit of a rodeo. It's like they randomly cut and pasted paragraphs from two different articles into one. Seriously, is it about supporting World AIDS Day or iPhone XR sales?

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure the "most popular and best selling" line was the official company stance last year when rumors of iPhone X not selling well were circulating. So, it doesn't surprise me to see it brought out with no additional detail. Unit sales numbers aren't coming back no matter how much some people object.

  13. ChiWax

    Samsung was selling unopened S9s for $550 without the chance of selling out. Who knows how many people jumped on that deal. Point being that it's an ever changing landscape for Apple. At the very least.

  14. obarthelemy

    "most popular and best-selling": all the right words, but no meaning ?

  15. brettscoast

    Not saying a whole lot there but given that smartphone sales across the board are slowing not all that surprising. As per your article 'the best smartphone may the one you already have' made some very valid points people are less likely to upgrade their phones more often. We definitely tend to get too bedazzled these days by phone tech specs when users needs are so very different.

  16. beckerrt

    So.... Yeah.

  17. briantlewis

    I don't know what you're after here. Every year suppliers make noise and every year they're taken as gospel. Every year they're wrong. Maybe this year will be different, who knows. History isn't on their side.

  18. IanYates82

    Since it became available...

    So anyone who wanted an XS /Max got one when they came out. Then when people wanted the XR, they got it when it came out. This is as meaningful as saying the iPhone 7 is the best selling iPhone upon its release because it sold more units for a specific set of dates on the calendar than the year-old iPhone 6s. Of course that's the case. This isn't that different.

  19. Jeffsters

    Just an update:

    Rather than rumor we have some hard numbers today. Both TSMC and Foxconn posted a 5.6 percent rise in November sales! Foxconn posted $19.5 billion in revenue, a record for the month of November, which puts the assembler of the iPhone on track for its fastest pace of annual growth in years.

    Just sayin....