WSJ: Apple is shuffling deck chairs on sinking iPhone sales

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Offering subsidies, shifting production, re-booting the iPhone X, sources say.

 

From “Apple Cuts Price of iPhone XR to Boost Sales” in Friday’s Wall Street Journal ($):

Less than a month after releasing the iPhone XR, Apple Inc. is moving to offer subsidies to mobile-network operators in Japan to shore up sales of its least-expensive new smartphone, people familiar with the matter said…

Though it has been done in the past, officials at Japanese carriers say it is rare for Apple to cut the price in their market on a recently launched handset.

“A price cut within a month of the release is rare not just for Apple but for smartphone makers in general,” said a senior official at a wireless operator, who monitors sales.

Analysts say weaker-than-expected demand for the iPhone XR may mirror what happened with the iPhone 5c in 2013, where sales picked up the following year. Apple’s higher-priced XS and XS Max models, released in September, appeal more to tech’s early adopters who typically fuel initial sales of new iPhones…

Apple suppliers have also recently resumed making the iPhone X, the 2017 model that Apple had stopped selling at its own stores, people familiar with the matter said.

People involved in the supply chain said the resumption of the X is due in part to Apple’s contract with Samsung Display, a major provider of iPhone X’s organic-light emitting diode display, or OLED, panels. Apple needs to buy a certain amount of the panels from the South Korean maker, and given the cut in XS and XS Max, Apple is trying to fill the gap with the old device, they said.

My take: Pretty damning, if true. The Journal has been wrong before, but it’s right more often than it’s wrong.