The iPhone 6s has been a major disappointment for Apple

“To say that Apple’s iPhone 6S has failed to live up to expectations is an understatement,” David Goldman reports for CNN.

“The iPhone 6S has the dubious distinction of being the first iPhone ever to sell fewer models than its predecessor,” Goldman reports. “And it’s not underperforming the iPhone 6 by a little bit — Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones last quarter, 10 million fewer than it sold during the first three months of 2015.”

“The iPhone 6S’ poor performance dragged down Apple’s overall sales last quarter, causing Apple’s revenue to fall for the first time in 13 years,” Goldman reports. “The iPhone 6S had a set of relatively unappealing upgrades compared to the iPhone 6. 3D Touch was its most innovative feature, but it’s utility is still rather limited. It also has a better camera than the iPhone 6. Those features haven’t provided a compelling case for customers to put down $650.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Comparing to the iPhone 6 is unfair.

That said, it didn’t have to be this way. We’ve been advocating “death to the ‘S'” for years and as recently as last Tuesday:

Apple should strive to execute annual iPhone updates, in three display sizes if the SE is successful (which we think it will be), and drop the off-year “S” model concept. Apple is certainly big enough and rich enough to do a new iPhone family each and every year. Apple should have killed the tock year “S” model idea years ago.

What’s happened with iPhone is painfully obvious: Apple was at least a year (more likely two years) late with properly-sized iPhones. When iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus finally, blessedly materialized, buyers quite literally stampeded to get them. Then, when faced with such a “tough compare” this year, Apple was still sticking with their ill-conceived “S” model concept – making the tough compare much, much tougher.

The “iPhone 7” family – three models with the same case design and all with 3D Touch — comprised of the 4-inch iPhone 7 SE, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus — should have debuted last September. That would have taken care of the current tough compare with iPhone 6/Plus. Then, this year, the iPhone 8 family, again with a new case design, but now waterproof, with dual cameras, etc. would debut this September. In 2017, perhaps Liquidmetal and AMOLED will be ready go for the iPhone 9. Etcetera. No more “S” years, Apple. Duh.

Had Apple done as we’ve just described, they’d have sold millions more iPhone units this year and millions upon millions more each year going forward.

Apple’s raison d’être is to delight customers. “S” model “tock” year iPhones do not delight customers in the same way as new “tick” year models. Obviously. They’re still the best smartphones on the planet, but they’re just okay. A bit of a meh. We all know that “S” models exist so Apple can wring out nice margins from existing designs and tooling, not expressly to delight customers. When Apple strays from its main goal is when things get wobbly. Just delight customers, Apple, and the world will beat a path to your door.

If we didn’t work for MacDailyNews, we’d have skipped the iPhone 6s Plus and held onto our iPhone 6 Plus units with no qualms – and we’re the most rabid Day One iPhone buyers you’ll ever find.

Why have an annual iPhone upgrade program, if you’re not going to wow us annually with new iPhones?

Analyst: Apple to dump ‘iPhone 7s’ and jump straight to iPhone 8 next year – April 22, 2016
Analyst cuts Apple price target, says ‘iPhone 7’ doesn’t look like a must-have upgrade – April 20, 2016
Why the 2017 iPhone will be made of Liquidmetal – April 18, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s 2017 iPhone to feature new ‘all glass’ enclosure – April 18, 2016
75 percent of teens say their next phone will be an iPhone – April 13, 2016
Mossberg: Apple’s iPhone 7 had better be spectacular – March 23, 2016


  1. I’ve been on the “S” cycle forever and like it. I don’t care what you call it. I just think the 6 was so compelling that it caused a lot of 5S owners to upgrade early.

    1. I agree. MDN and others have bought into the Wall Street hysteria. There is nothing driving an annual iPhone upgrade cycle. And there is nothing inherently good or evil about Apple’s tick-tock iPhone update strategy.

      Let’s face it, there is only so much that you can do with a smartphone. In the absence of a radically new UI, it comes down to a display, processors, sensors/camera, memory/storage, battery, chassis, interfaces/ports, software, and ecosystem. That’s it. That is what Apple has to work with. And the last item on the list, ecosystem, is its ace in the hole in terms of functionality and differentiation. In the early years there was a lot of development and evolution left, but the product cycle has matured.

      If you don’t like the “S” cycle, MDN, then fine. Apple should go to a two-year cycle without the S and just do basic hardware and software bumps in between.

      1. I’ll go one better. Annual updates for the sake of annual updates, especially complete new model releases are stupid, if there is no compelling technical advancement available. If the existing design is pretty good, but slightly better internals are available, do an S cycle. If not, don’t bother. This isn’t the auto industry, which depends on convincing people last years product isn’t any good now.

        It is really anti-environmental to build robots to destroy value and Apples current schemes that get you to give them your existing iPhones in exchange for a new one and the opportunity to remove an existing, perfectly functional iPhone from the worlds investment of built objects is just wrong-headed. Seems akin to GM and the oil companies colluding to buy up American cities electric street car systems in the ’50s, when they had a lot of money, and rip them up so they could sell more busses and oil. Bad actions don’t drive sales. Compelling products do.

  2. Personally, I’m not a fan of the design of the 6/6s and I only have a 6s because my 5 decided to stop working properly. Otherwise I was going to wait for the 7.

    I don’t like the curved corners and I find the screen scratches way easier than my 5 ever did and for some reason the white antenna lines remind me of the seams on underwear 🙂

    It will be interesting to see what the 7 ends up looking like.

  3. I don’t think you can fully discount the disappearing subsidies from the carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile). People understood the subsidies better than the Apple Upgrade Program, AT&T Next, etc.

    1. No they didn’t understand the subsidies at all, or they’d clamor for Next et al. The subsidies were a scam. Over 2 years with AT&T one would pay $600 in extra line costs ($40/mo vs $15/mo) to receive a $450 subsidy AND be stuck in a contract.

  4. Apple… Whats happening to you is this:

    Complacency ….. Getting a big head…… Arrogance… And hence Loosing your drive to struggle to be the best.. ….( you should have never lost your underdog perspective)
    2015 was a year of massive disarray and some real bogus product releases… Too many to list…. But apple Tv tops the list of disappointments, massivly..shamefully unfinished and not tought out. And then there is so much more! So much………….

    Ok lets say thats all growing pains… Which i have been saying and writing and advocating all along.

    What about 2016? So far bogus. Smaller iPad pro? What pro ? Its pro because u call it pro…? Billions in R&D. And we get a pencil that has to be awkwardly stuck in the lightening port to charge?….That cant be attached to ipad when not used… That rolls off tables becase it is perfectly round… Which does not even have a pin to secure on shirt pocket.?

    And now iphone 7 rumors.. To which i pray God are not true.. If true we are screwed for another 18 months as shateholders and fans. Big time. But hey thats just my opinion.

    Wake up apple or the new spaceship campus is going to be not your welcome to exciting future of Apple … But where you will mourn the Death of of your pasts glory .

    1. O while i am on the subject of pencil…
      What’s that bogus cap on the tail end.
      Wiggling around .. Rather than having a snug fit…. You lack enginners who could have designed a snug fit?
      You lack product managers who lack the meticulouse , OCD level drive to perfection. Is this the meticulous attention to detail you are known for? The one Jobs nurtured? The insanly good ?
      Let alone all the other bougus design choices… Nobody saw the fit iof the cap is cheap!…. Let alone other features the cap could have incorporated to enhance the pencil functionality further.

      Ahh then the TV comes to mind again…. After years and years of hype.. Apple you deliver That Thing !
      The igore battery… A magic mouse with that stupid charging port… … The convoluted apple music… Screwed up itunes…
      Two botched product release events ……

      Ahhhh and there is so much more..
      Wake up Apple.

      1. The pencil comes with an the you don’t have to charge it in the iPad’s port.

        A clip would have been nice.

        The cap is held in place with a rare earth magnet. That makes it cool..and the fit will never change. That makes it cooler.

        A round pencil has a natural feel. Go out and try to find professional drawing pencils that aren’t round…

        The electronics inside the pencil are like nothing else…and won’t be matched for years.

        1. Justifying poor design is not the solution..
          The tail end is crap.. Not cool .
          Yes the miniture adaptor( so snall i can loose it in a blink of an eye) allows to charge when u have access to power sourse other than ipad… But when u dont the charge solution is bogus.
          At least provide a little short cable so i can put the pencil on the side rather than have it awkwardly it stick out a foot .

          I agree it functions nice…but its not light years ahead.. Not even close.. But its a nice pencil! Marred by many other poor design choises .

          My point here is not whats good… Its about the bogus. Bogus for no reason other than bad design thought and complacency .

        2. It would make sense for the pencil to wirelessly charge when in proximity to the iPad Pro. I doubt that the pencil requires much power – just MEMS sensors and Bluetooth for connectivity. So this approach would keep the pencil charged while you use it. Simple!

      2. For all of you who score low stars on the above post ;
        Your approach is exactly why apple is slipping.. Exactly…
        You guys need to wake up too.
        Put your effort in bettering apple rather than accepting/ encouraging Mediocracy.

        As i have written before:

        Steve Jobs had some Massive flaws… If you ask me more than his fair share …


        Mediocracy was NOT one of them … Not even close !”

        But go ahead… Cheer even when apple f-s up… That will really help.

        1. People can disagree with you and not be wrong. You make some good points yojimbo007, but you get a little hysterical in the sky-is-falling sense. Then you attempt to blame everyone who does not vote up your post as being the cause of the problems that you identify. Not a great was to win friends and influence people…

          Apple can and should do better in a number of areas. Some of those issues are more important than others. For instance, you spent was too much vitriol on the pencil cap. Is it really that important to you relative to other issues?! Calm don a little and focus your attention on the important things.

        2. absolutely prople can disagree. I love a good discussion..
          But i dont accept or support those who are blind fan boys.. Those who will blindly accept everything apple as great.
          And will not even bother to participate in a logical discussion pointing out issues..
          They will just score low and walk..
          Why … because i critisized apple?

          Make your points… Tell me where im wrong.. Lets debate… But not just kick and run.

          As far as sky is falling……
          Once it falls its too late..
          Time for action is before it falls…. When trends show something is going wrong.

        3. Haters would have people thing that the mythical Apple fanboy (or fanbois or lemming or brainwashed…you get it…) is the typical Mac or iPhone user. That is not the case, and your aggressive prose and name-calling is not the way to start a reasoned discussion, IMO. Long-term Mac users have been attacked enough over the years to resent that term and anyone who uses it. It is an immediate turn off and undermines your stated objective to engage in constructive debate and discussion.

          In my experience, even avid Apple fans are aware of Apple’s shortcomings. Just because we are not willing to jump on the “trash Apple” bandwagon at every opportunity does not make us blind, brainwashed lemmings. There are very few Apple fans that are radical lemmings. My recommendation is to change the tone of your posts if you hope to relate to people on this forum.

        4. There are a lot of them here…King… Alot… .. Irrational. Blind fanboys. Just clapping for Apple no matter what… Thats the unhealthiest thing for Apple.

          And if you choose to call me aggressive for pointing them out… Then maybe you should redirect you focus(x10) on theses fanboys who insult anyone who criticizes apple.
          They kick and the run… Never hold a rational debate. They do way more damage to apple than me calling them out.

          You strarted with the word Haters… Im not sure if that was directed at me ….if it was Maybe you should study my post…
          Im a big investor in Apple.. Not just a fan And enduser… And been for 10 years..
          You better believe i hate it when apple screws up… And i dont just stand there and clap my hands when that happens or when i observe a negative TREND.
          I voice it out to contacts i have at Apple , here and other forums.. ..Believe me they scout all .

          clapping for screw ups helps no one !

    2. Pasts glory… Was that the Lisa past or the puck mouse past or the Cube past or the even further back Apple III past? Or are your rose tinted past glasses affecting your vision?

      There’s been good, there’s been bad and there will always those NOT running multi-billion dollar companies that know better how it should be done. Thankfully for all of us, they’ll never get the chance 🙂

      1. Lol..
        1-Read my postS again!
        2- you have zero idea of my background. Yet you make sarcastic comments… Its more telling of you than me.

        3- its not a question of there is the good and there is the bad..
        Its a question of Trend .. And which direction its heading..

        Be complaisant and yes you will mourn. In any aspect of your life.
        You need to widen the scope of your vision and thoughts and wisdom .

        Not spend your time clapping for Mediocracy and ignoring Trends.

        1. I can assume you’re not running Apple because if you were, things would be different, right? I can also assume that you’ll never get the opportunity to run Apple. On an anonymous internet site, that’s all I need to know about your background. Nice trolling, though 🙂

        2. Lol….
          Thats the logic you go about life with..?

          Good luck.

          And maybe there are some things different about Apple becouse of me… Are you sure its not?

        3. Yo, secret agent Jim: your background clearly doesn’t involve writing things that are grammatically correct, nor spelling words well. Talk about “Mediocracy.” Then again, perhaps English is not your first language, in which case I apologize for pointing that out.

        4. Apology accepted.
          Second… Typing things on the ipad keyboard While in rush is not one of my talents……mediocre apple spell check is not much of help either.
          But im believe the meaning of what i write is clear..

          Im not participating in a grammer , spell check forum.. But a tech forum..

          If writing and spelling is all That matters….i suggest you be super care full when you visit your doctor next time..
          Make sure his/her writing is good enough before you enter the room for his/her opinion of you ailment ….

  5. Well for me the iPhone 6 Plus has been such a great phone I didn’t see the need to replace it so quickly with a 6S Plus. I suspect I’m not alone. The bloom is really off the rose for Android phones (especially the Shamdung variety) so the sector certainly has lost some heat to less urgent reasons to upgrade and overall happiness with prior models. I’m not sure what else Apple can innovate on that would really make a difference. Most things, even OLED & Liquid Metal, suggest incremental improvements. Nice but not necessarily imperative. And believe me I want Apple to keep selling in huge numbers.

    1. Apple needs to incorporate TRUE multitasking on their phones….Not the double click home multitasking but the split screen multitasking that “Samdung” has had for YEARS! Apple is definitely slipping!

      1. Currently, I see no real benefit in the split screen “multitasking”.
        However, combined with 3D Touch, the next step may be drag and drop.
        Once drag and drop has proven itself, it may be time for a Finder-like background or app. (Pretty please, Apple!)

  6. The phone is fine, the economic issues around the world was the only reason it did not sell better. All phone makers are in the same boat. The headline is totally false and is trying to get web hits and miss lead everyone and that’s all.

  7. Middle-class wages have been stagnate since the 1970s. Millions of people work hard but still can’t seem to get ahead because expenses and inflation are rising a few percentage points faster than wages so the overall purchasing power of consumers is stagnant or contracting. Apple was known as the computer company that makes Macintoshes that just work well and last for years compared to the typical PC. It left me with a sour taste that Apple wants their customers to upgrade iPhones ANNUALLY! I’ve got a 64-bit computer that fits into my pocket and it perfectly useful, yet Apple wants me to chuck it and upgrade to a new one every year. Seems incredibly wasteful. The only ones benefiting from this arrangement is Apple. It’s a marketing scheme poised to fail as consumers feel that the iPhone they have is perfectly useful and will wait for major innovation, rather than these petty incremental improvements that are only meant to drive profit vs. deliver innovation. Apple is stepping into the Microsoft sinkhole as they now offer a myriad versions of Macs, iPad, iPhones to appear to give the consumers choices. I which Apple would return to fewer versions, but rock-solid options for all of their product lines.

  8. Justifying poor design is not the solution..
    The tail end is crap.. Not cool .
    Yes the miniture adaptor( so snall i can loose it in a blink of an eye) allows to charge when u have access to power sourse other than ipad… But when u dont the charge solution is bogus.
    At least provide a little short cable so i can put the pencil on the side rather than have it awkwardly it stick out a foot .

    I agree it functions nice…but its not light years ahead.. Not even close.. But its a nice pencil! Marred by many other poor design choises .

    My point here is not whats good… Its about the bogus. Bogus for no reason other than bad design thought and complacency .

  9. I thought for years that recruiting was Apple’s number 1 one skill: finding the people that are driven to produce the right stuff.

    When I read the 100 recruiters were fired I breathed a sigh of relief because I think that’s problem number 1 at Apple: people. I’ve had a bad iPhone sales experience on Michigan Avenue in Chicago last December, El Capitan didn’t live up to its promise, updates have needed immediate bug fixes…. they just have not been able to get the right people at every level.

    The best sales experience I had was buying an iPhone from a deaf German sales guy at Paris Opera. I was so impressed that they gave this great guy a chance and he couldn’t talk but used a tablet to communicate with me. Brought a tear to my eye and great satisfaction when I left the store.

    I am not surprised by the numbers right now. But Apple needs to bring something new to life and better than what they did with the Watch and the 6S and El Capitan and iOS updates and and and….

    It’s Apple people that need to change. Tim needs to stop being so generous with his praise now.

  10. The one thing they don’t talk about is the subsidies being gone. The price of a phone went up. I used to pay $300.00 for my phone now I pay $800.00. For 200 – 300 I get a new phone every 2 years but with that price every 3- 4 years. Some can afford the price but most will wait longer and the upgrade cycle just got longer. My cell phone bill didn’t go down with me having to pay full price for the phone.

    1. Thomas, your cell phone bill should have gone down paying for the full price of the iPhone. Mine did. Perhaps you need to check with your carrier. They may not just give you the lower rate automatically without you asking for it. Or your bill for service may be lower, but with the cost of any carrier financing included, the overall bill is about the same.

      Basically the model for cell phone buying adds up to about the same total cost of ownership, just spread around in a different way. Before I would pay a lower subsidized cost, but of course the subsidy was not free; it was built into the price of my cell phone plan. With carrier and Apple financing plans, you get a reduction in your monthly bill, pay nothing up front, and just distribute the cost of the phone on installment payments on your cell phone bill.

      A number of people have worked it out and over the course of a 1 or 2 year plan, the cost is almost exactly the same as the subsidy option. Which makes sense, the economics are the exact same.

  11. I don’t agree with the premise of your story at all. My wife and son got 6S iPhones and they love them. I have an iPhone 6 and wish I had the iPhone6s. The elimination of the “S” designation would be fine with me BUT realized that all that happens is that people with half a brain will say the EVEN numbered phones are the big upgrade and the ODD numbered ones are the minor upgrade “a rose by any other name would smell so sweet.”

  12. Incremental product improvements with monumental price increases to me, doesn’t make sense. Consumers have for the past few years been expecting an iPhone brand to improve with each enumeration, but it has not, except for size, the phone has not improved all that much, to me, does not deserve to go out and purchase a new phone. Although I like my 6, I will wait for two more years before I decide to jump to another $900+ phone.

    1. True enough. The most significant upgrade is you get an extra year of iOS updates and app compatibility.
      As far as the price goes, the first price increment from 16G to 64GB should be $50: more commensurate with the price of a 64GB stick, which are now selling for $30-$60, NOT $100.
      Apple obviously is blind to some sales opportunities (last minute decisions).
      Alternatively, Apple should revamp the iPhone touch to data-plan-only VoIP phones. Shouldn’t be too difficult, with everything already in place (without consumers realizing it), except for some tweaks in the VoIP ecosystem.

  13. You know, not everyone wants to get up and keep up. A lot of phone users just want a phone that works.

    Eventually we individuals get saturated. I have no desire to relearn new hardware and options every year. I’ll upgrade every 3rd year. My 5s will do fine until at least 7 and probably iPhone 8. It is just a phone w/valuable accessory functions.

    Apple will have to concentrate on gaining sales with switchers and overseas by my pure outlandish guess. That is why all the China & India talk of late.

    Ultimately, Apple will run out of 1st world ‘new’ customers. I hope they manage to continue to simplify and miniaturize components so the cost can come down in both materials and assembly costs. That is the way they can move into 2nd and 3rd world markets.

  14. I do agree that from a marketing perspective it seems better to do away with the “s” and just increment the model numbers every year. Of course one problem with that is then the numbers get large sooner…what happens when we’re on iPhone 28, for example?

    The 6s is in and of itself a worthy upgrade to the 6, but I can see how consumers may not realize that without actually trying out a 6s.

    Overall, though, the smartphone is like any other technology product including desktop computers: after a while the market matures, and you hit a state where any given model is good enough for quite some time for most people. I’m sure Apple works very hard to try to give people reasons to upgrade. Of course one nice thing about the smartphone industry is the carrier financing, and earlier the carrier subsidy option, that makes continuous upgrading easy. And given the importance of our smartphones in our lives today, it really is nice to stay current in the technology.

  15. I work on 27″ iMacs (two) all day, both of which are now several years old and work great. I use a MacBook Air 13″ daily. I have an iPad2 that my wife now watches movies on. She also has an iPad 3. She has two iPhone 4S, and I have a 6 Plus. We have Apple TV, the one before the newer one. I just recently bought the 9.7″ iPad pro and the pencil. I write and edit and do film. The new iPad pro is fantastic for editing–lets me sit in my more relaxed chair many hours. Pages is great on it. My point is that once one has good tools, one doesn’t need to change them out. But when they are ready to be changed out, I will change them–as I did with the iPad pro upgrade to my iPad 2, since it serves my needs better. So in my opinion Apple needs to pursue the longterm loyalty of customers, not the hype of some tweaked elements every year. That way, you serve your customers and they return through the generations. Forget Wall Street. Who gives a flying fart what they think of the numbers? Give us quality, and make sure it “just works,” and we’ll keep you in business for the long haul. It’s the “just doesn’t work” bit lately that’s been a problem. Also, if you have a new product, have it available the day you announce it. Impulse buying is so very powerful.

  16. For me the iPhone 6S is true perfection: the best iPhone I’ve ever owned with its wallet-style cover and Belken store-applied oleophobic screen protector. Its 128-Gb of memory should enable accommodation to anything I can throw at it for at least the next year. And Facetime Audio in tandem with Verizon’s support of VOIP makes for awesomely clear call conversations even when everyone is out-and-about.

  17. Meanwhile, in FragmAndroid Hell, things are really hopping!

    Active drive-by exploits critical Android bugs, care of Hacking Team

    Hostile JavaScript delivered through ads installs ransomware on older Android phones.

    An ongoing drive-by attack is forcing ransomware onto Android smartphones by exploiting critical vulnerabilities in older versions of Google’s mobile operating system still in use by millions of people, according to research scheduled to be published Monday.

    The attack combines exploits for at least two critical vulnerabilities contained in Android versions 4.0 through 4.3, including an exploit known as Towelroot, which gives attackers unfettered “root” access to vulnerable phones. The exploit code appears to borrow heavily from, if not copy outright, some of these Android attack scripts, which leaked to the world following the embarrassing breach of Italy-based Hacking Team in July. Additional data indicates devices running Android 4.4 may also be infected, possibly by exploiting a different set of vulnerabilities.

    It’s the first time—or at least one of only a handful of times—Android vulnerabilities have been exploited in real-world drive-by attacks. For years, most Android malware has spread by social engineering campaigns that trick a user into installing a malicious app posing as something useful and benign. The drive-by attack—which has been active for at least the past 60 days and was discovered by security firm Blue Coat Systems—is notable because it’s completely stealthy and requires no user interaction. The company’s findings have been published here…

    So, things at Apple could be ∞ infinitely ∞ worse. Perspective is everything.

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