Apple’s iPhone X kills iPhone 8 and exposes Cook & Co.’s risky gamble

“Without the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus would have been hailed as the ultimate evolution of the iPhone design,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “With it in play the iPhone 8 family is seen as little more than some updated chips and hand-me down tech from the iPhone X.”

“Before the launch event in early September, Apple had to decide which option would best serve the iPhone family, which option would provide the best return, and which option would allow it to remain in the driving seat of smartphone fashion,” Spence writes. “Tim Cook and his team decided to gamble on revealing the iPhone X as soon as possible. It’s the most open approach to the problem, but it comes with significant risk to Apple’s financial performance in Q4 2017.”

Spence writes, “In the week since the reviews of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus started to come out, the growing sentiment from reviewers and analysts is that the iPhone 8 family, while not being ‘dead’, has not delivered the first weekend sales, visible queues, or online passion that has been the signature of every September iPhone launch for pretty much the last decade.”

MacDailyNews Take: Incorrect. iPhone preorders long ago dramatically reduced visible queues during first weekend sales. We preorder them online and they arrive at our doorsteps on release day. It’s not difficult to comprehend. It’s been this way for years.

“Before September there were two choice in how to handle the X. Put very limited quantities on the shelves in September alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and let it ‘sell out’, or hold it back until later in the year and hope the iPhone 8 sales would not collapse like a tired soufflé,” Spence writes. “Tim Cook has decided on the later approach, but the soufflé has fallen into itself. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been sacrificed. The reveal of the iPhone X is the classic Osborne effect given form.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: True enough, but the story is not yet over. Let’s allow the entire iPhone family to be on the market, around the world, for some time before we judge the iPhone mix and pronounce the world’s second- and third-best smartphones “dead.” Some people will (think they) want the Home button and Touch ID. Many millions worldwide will be swayed by iPhone 8/Plus’ lower prices and promotions relative to iPhone X. Apple is usually close to dead on with pricing. Promotions are another variable. This one is tricky, but we wouldn’t bet against Apple on this.

Of course and as usual, we’ve already explained all of this weeks ago:

Poor iPhone 8 Plus. You’ll be the best smartphone on the planet for all of 42 days.MacDailyNews, September 19, 2017

This is pretty much the universal reaction to what would have been the world’s best smartphone had the iPhone X not existed. Again, Apple may have a problem on their hands if they’ve made too many iPhone 8/Plus units and are not prepared to market and promo them like crazy. Since the U.S. carriers are already offering iPhone 8/Plus promotions, Apple seems to have planned for the expected reaction to iPhone 8/Plus with iPhone X looming over them.MacDailyNews, September 19, 2017

You know, we’re not convinced that Apple will be overrun with iPhone 8/Plus preorders. Yes, use the App Store app [to preorder], in case, but it might be an easier night than you think. In fact, Apple just might have a problem on their hands, judging by the early results of our online poll. It’s early, but we expect Apple to market the living you-know-what out of the iPhone 8/Plus because, next to the iPhone X, it’s looking like a tough sell.MacDailyNews, September 14, 2017

SEE ALSO:
Positive reviews for Apple’s iPhone 8/Plus and iOS 11 bode well for the iPhone X – September 19, 2017
Wired reviews Apple’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: Virtually perfect phones – and yet already obsolete – September 19, 2017
Associated Press reviews iPhone 8/Plus: Like flying in coach versus first class iPhone X – September 19, 2017
USA Today’s Baig reviews iPhone 8/Plus: Excellent iPhones overshadowed by iPhone X – September 19, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip is by far the highest-performing system on the market; totally destroys Android phones – September 19, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X leaves Android phones choking in the dust – September 18, 2017
The inside story of Apple’s amazing A11 Bionic chip – September 18, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic obliterates top chips from Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei – September 18, 2017
Apple accelerates mobile processor dominance with A11 Bionic; benchmarks faster than 13-inch MacBook Pro – September 15, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in iPhone X and iPhone 8/Plus on par with 2017 MacBook Pro – September 14, 2017

32 Comments

      1. Bit tricky that for the X wouldn’t you say as there are no ‘sales’. And he didn’t even mention the 8. So whats your problem? Using the term ‘orders’ is the only technical error (though no greater than yours) when he clearly means potential orders. For that there is some evidence as referenced on this site but in reality we will only know if he is correct after the first couple days of actual orders take place. But then that is the sort of speculation (especially from trolls) that hundreds make on this forum all the time and don’t get that particular agressive response. So again whats the problem? would be a boring place if we are only allowed to talk about stated provable sales figures, hell it would be like a Ballmer dinner party.

    1. Enzo,

      Exactly right.

      Last year, all of the new 2016 iPhone models became available at once. We don’t know exactly how the demand divided between models, but let’s guess about 60% for iPhone 7 and 40% for iPhone 7+. Note: the top-of-the-range device was not the best seller. Since the bigger phone has higher margins, it still made plenty of money for Apple.

      This year, the 2017 models are becoming available in two waves 42 days apart. Yet it comes as a huge shock and disappointment to some that the first wave including only 2/3 of the models (but not the top design) doesn’t have 100% of the visible volume from the introduction of all the models at once last year.

      Let’s wait before we start declaring that the iPhone 8 is a failure. Because of relative margins, Apple may ultimately make more money on the iPhone X, but it is going to make more profit on the iPhone 8 and 8+ than any other mobile device company will make on their entire smartphone range.

  1. Its not a gamble, its progress. Remember how the original Iphone was laughed at as being an expensive toy for the rich few, look at Iphone now. That Moron Steve Balmer laughed at the iphone for being a $500 toy, or Dellboy who said apple should turn off their lights and give money to share holders. These stupid nay sayers were proved wrong, and the iPhone X will prove the current nay sayers and pessimists wrong too

    1. $500 looks like an absolute bargain now eh? Sweaty bald Ballmer was always the biggest laughing incompetent fool in tech. What did anyone expect from a CEO assignment born from a random college dorm assignment with Bill “a joke of a visionary” Gates. Michael Dell another non-visionary.

      And yes the iPhone X will slay in sales showing there are plenty of people who will depart with their coin on quality devices. iPhone 8 models should do fine too. Back up the money trucks for the Apple money vault!

  2. Ewan Spence doesn’t like Apple . I’ve read his other apple stuff before like: “iPhone X is everything Wrong With Tim Cook’s Apple”.

    Spence: “The iPhone is more commercial than it has ever been, mimicking the multi-model product line of its Android competitors. It relies heavily on huge marketing spend and the goodwill of the industry to be seen as the leader.”

    eh..huge marketing spend? Apple spends a billion plus and Samsung 10-20 billion a year on marketing. Add the billions more from the other Android makers and Google. Considering Apple makes 80+ % of phone profits in the world so relative to profit share Apple hardly spends money on marketing. I just wanted to point this out to show how silly and prejudiced Spence can be.

    He also writes bunches of Apple rival lovefests like “New Nokia 9 Leaks Reveal Powerful Android Flagship” and ” “Nokia 8 Android’s New Champion”

    Spence : “the Nokia 8 continues to pick up critical acclaim”

    (Nokia. the twice killed Zombie resurrected company… ? )

    And Spence: “the latest version of Android to huge anticipation and critical acclaim.”

    Not saying that everything in the article linked by MDN is wrong but take it in context of a guy who doesn’t really like Apple and if you read it carefully (including his links to why Face ID is vulnerable ) you ‘ll find all kinds of tech errors. Some of his older Apple posts are even more chock full of mistakes.

    1. This latest from Barron’s :

      ____
      “BlueFin Research Partners analysts John Donovan and Steve Mullane write that their research into Apple’s supply chain has so far not turned up anything suggested the massive shortfall in sales of the other model, the iPhone 8, as some analysts had claimed.

      Despite the DigiTimes “report” of component orders either being delayed, shifted, or flat-out reduced, we have yet to uncover a single case of a component company seeing its orders changed or reduced,

      ______

      No idea if the report is right but it does prove that analysts have varying opinions.

  3. “Without the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus would have been hailed as the ultimate evolution of the iPhone design,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “With it in play the iPhone 8 family is seen as little more than some updated chips and hand-me-down tech from the iPhone X.”

    How could they not know this was going to happen? This perception spread like wildfire. People I know who don’t an A11 bionic from Intel’s Myriad X or a dishwasher all know that the iPhone X is “the good one.” Everyone is saying “I’ll wait for the X.” It would seem they are as out of touch with their iPhone users as they are with Mac users and that’s not good because the iPhone is everything to Apple.

    1. Of course they knew this was going to happen. They just don’t regard it as the disaster that you and the other Cook-bashers do. Your suggestion for handling this better is… ?

      Not release the iPhone 8 or 8+ at all? Kiss off all the sales that they actually are making–and will make for the next two or three years on those models–in the hope that folks will buy an iPhone X this year (or an older Apple model) rather than deferring their purchase or buying from another company.

      Release both the 7 and the X a week after the announcement in early September? Presumably not possible due to the well-publicized delays in the supply chain for the X that were outside Apple’s control.

      Make the iPhone announcements on schedule, but delay shipping both models for two months? Then we really would have an “Osborne Effect.” Sales would halt entirely until the new models came out.

      Delay both announcing and shipping the iPhone 8/8+ for six weeks so that its release could be coordinated with the iPhone X? Forgo all the sales that might have occurred during that period and make the chaos around shipping equally bad for both product lines. Live with the criticism from the public and the blowback from contractors that had to halt production of the 7 and 7+ and then store parts and assembled devices for Apple’s convenience.

      Perhaps there is another choice I’m not seeing, and that Apple did not see either. Please enlighten us with what the company should have done to avoid what you see as an avoidable problem.

      1. For completeness, there is one other option (possibly the worst).

        Apple could have announced and shipped the iPhone 8 and 8+ on the actual schedule, but postponed the announcement of the iPhone X until a week or so before it is ready to ship in volume. That would utterly infuriate all the people who had just bought the “latest and greatest” Apple device a few weeks earlier and slash sales of the more expensive (and presumably more profitable) iPhone X to those who had just upgraded their phones, most of whom are on contracts that only allow one upgrade a year.

  4. “Without the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus would have been hailed as the ultimate evolution of the iPhone design…”

    Yeah right. Could you imagine if all they revealed was the 8? Forbes would be the first publication declaring Apple dead for reiterating such a stale product in the new bezeless era.

    Part of the reason we want the X is due to a strong desire for change from the design we’ve been using since 2014.

  5. Holy cow how stupid can these journalists?
    Do they think everyone will drop a grand for a new phone?
    There are plenty of customers and markets where the iPhone 8 will be perfect. What the iPhone X will capture is the set of customers who want the best phone out. That includes me.
    It’s a win-win.

    1. I think you seem like the fool here. Apple’s 100+ million unit sales a year are to the high end. They are a high end company. And their audience is now being asked to choose between high end and less high end. It’s a blunder and a mistake. I agree that the market price of the 8 will have the same penetrative effect globally but locally it’s a dismal ‘me too’ device that is turning off their traditional high end customer.

      1. Your argument is that somebody–anybody–is going to pass on the iPhone X that they otherwise would have bought just because Apple also offers the iPhone 8? Where is the traditional high end customer to go? Is such a customer so dumb that he did not already know that Apple sells the SE, the iPhone 7, and the iPhone 6S to less high end customers?

    2. Yeah but it’s not really dropping a grand for most. I’ll be dropping a grand because I like to buy my phones outright. But many others will just have more expensive installment payments factored into their monthly mobile bills.

    3. I agree. I’ll rather Apple have a range.

      If the 8 doesn’t sell no big loss to Apple as the R&D for the guts is from the X and the case is from the 7. Almost no extra costs for Apple to make the 8.

      I do think it will sell over long term though, the initial sales are usually to the geeks who want the best thus the ‘rush demand’ will be for the X, but when the general consumers upgrade as their contracts expire they might want to save a few bucks and get the 8 (as the insides are close to the X in power). Not to mention other countries where iPhones might cost more.

      More choice over a price range is better . I also like them having the SE. Close the gaps that Android might exploit.

  6. Apple has always been a company to take risks, push the envelope and do things different. It’s been a good approach for them and should provide great sales of all their phone models.

  7. The naming scheme is the biggest affront here. It was wildly irresponsible to hail one as X ‘ten’ and the other 8. No one is fooled by iteration and the 8 feels tired despite the fact that it truly isn’t.

    It should have been the iPhone edition. That way some people would immeadiatly know it’s not the model for them.

    I’ll admit it’s an enviable problem to have, but nobody wants your rubbish Apple, and that’s what you’ve made the 8 look like.

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