Apple’s iPhone X isn’t selling well – or is it?

“Apple has a bit of a problem with its iPhone. And its silence on the topic is making matters worse,” Don Reisinger writes for Fortune. “Over the last several days, analysts have said that Apple’s iPhone X, as well as its broader iPhone division, are suffering from lower-than-expected sales. One analyst went so far as to say that the iPhone X is ‘dead.'”

“Those reports, however, followed a study from Counterpoint Research that suggested Apple’s iPhone X captured more profits in the fourth quarter than any other handsets. What’s more, all iPhone models combined to generate 90% of the smartphone market’s profits,” Reisinger writes. “So, is the iPhone, and more specifically the iPhone X, in trouble? The only one who knows is Apple. And at least so far, it’s not talk.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple doesn’t respond to random analyst pronouncements. They’ve already talked specifically about iPhone X during the last conference call with said analysts:

iPhone X was the best-selling smartphone in the world in the December quarter according to Canalys, and it has been our top selling phone every week since it launched. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus rounded out the top three iPhones in the quarter. In fact, revenue for our newly launched iPhones was the highest of any lineup in our history, driving total Apple revenue above our guidance range… The iPhone X was the most popular and that’s particularly noteworthy given that we didn’t start shipping until early November, and we’re constrained for a while. The team did a great job of getting into supply demand balance there in December. But since the launch of iPhone X, it has been the most popular iPhone every week, every week sales. And that is even through today, actually through January… We feel fantastic, particularly as it pertains to iPhone X. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 1, 2018

“All of that apparent bad news came after Counterpoint Research revealed this week that Apple’s iPhone X captured 35% of the smartphone market’s profits during the fourth quarter. Apple’s iPhones collectively captured 90% of smartphone profits during the period,” Reisinger writes. “Even if the iPhone’s sales are off, in other words, no other company can generate a profit like Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We won’t know for sure until we see this quarter’s (Apple’s fiscal Q218) results in May, since iPhone sales actually did increase YOY when you compare apples to apples, as opposed to comparing the 13-week 2017 holiday quarter to a 14-week 2016 holiday quarter and calling it a “decline,” when it wasn’t.

Apple’s iPhone X to be discontinued this year, analyst claims – April 20, 2018
Morgan Stanley: Apple stock may fall on ‘materially’ weaker iPhone sales – April 20, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to unveil two 6.1-inch LCD iPhones this year; one budget-priced at just $550, another with dual-SIM capability – April 18, 2018
Apple’s iPhone captured 86% of global handset profits in Q417; iPhone X alone took 35% of global handset profits – April 17, 2018
Bernstein: Ams AG is biggest winner in Apple’s TrueDepth Camera system – April 10, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X is the UK’s most popular smartphone – April 9, 2018
Apple to release Q218 earnings, webcast live conference call on May 1st – April 3, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s next-gen 6.1-inch LCD iPhone to outsell next-gen 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED iPhone X models – February 5, 2018


  1. I am not an “X” basher. In fact, I think it’s a good phone, and I might buy it this year with saner price. But the question is, is that worth the price? Most report of the “X not doing as well as Apple initially hyped comes from supply chains, including assemblers such as Foxconn etc., which I think are good sources, attaching some credibility to those stories. If no super cycle as initially hyped, yet rather high profit “percentage (not a net profit)” may indicate it was indeed overpriced, and the buying frenzy might have died down after the Christmas season.
    I want Apple to do well, and in many times, I could turn my face away from overpricing if/when I thought the products were good for the money. But what I do not like is getting hyped into buying overpriced merchandises, and I am increasingly skeptical about Apple’s (or Cook’s) sincerity in getting upfront with customers. Overpricing is one thing, but attempting to hype the value (often with dubious promotional stories) is consistent with some other stories coming out of Apple these days (i.e., not quite true).
    Talking about Steve Jobs, he too was somewhat high-handed salesman at times (with showmanship though), and Apple’s tendency to overprice was always there, but one thing that clearly distinguished him from the attitude of the current management (i.e., milking the loyal customers) is that he truly wanted to please customers, and was very passionate and sincere about it. And it showed and naturally irradiated from what he said/done. For that, I have had no problem in paying higher price for Apple products.

      1. I do not know if I agree or disagree with your view. But “Jobs” in your comment being replaced with “Cook”, what do you see?
        I thought Jobs was proud of pleasing the market, even enjoying it (and the market was enthusiastic those days), while I almost envisage Cook constantly on his iPad, manipulating his P/L analysis….:-)

        1. Jobs did not have magical mind powers that made people conform. That’s the difference at Apple now? That Jobs had some magical ability to get people to conform and Cook isn’t a magical elf like Jobs was. You are a nutter.

        2. Cook is a conformist and Jobs was a revolutionary.
          SJ was a pit bull and TC is more like a poodle.
          SJ will go down in the history books (already is) and TC won’t.
          TC wants your human appreciation and SJ had bigger concerns.
          SJ was all about the real business of life and TC is about the things of business (and SJ did it better).
          SJ was a mile deep. TC works on the surface of things and thinks he’s going deep.
          SJ flew the Pirate Flag and Tim’s more concerned about the rainbow flag.
          SJ was….

        3. SJ had the ability to get people to PERFORM. Over and over ex-employs close to the man said it was the hardest job and or, period in their lives, but the best. The would never trade it despite some losing very important things/relationships/health. Critical, I mean critical & complicated product deadlines were to be met w/o negotiation.
          TC has had repeated fails meeting deadlines involving basic product iterations, say nothing of products with innovation. I can’t even conceive of him making such mandates, let alone being somewhat demanding & inflexible re: a goal.

        4. You don’t own a poodle do you? Lumping them in with pipeline cook is an insult to poodles everywhere.

          For the record, standard poodles are wicked smart hunting dogs.

        5. To clarify, you believe Steve Jobs had supernatural powers and used some kind of mind control to make customers buy whatever he wanted them to buy. The problem now is that Tim Cook doesn’t have those same supernatural powers. I’ve heard a lot of trolls talk about why people buy Apple products. This is a new argument. Congratulations?

        6. Look at history to see people that had the power to influence people greatly. Let’s just call them “leaders,” (dump the supernatural straw man). Tim’s a very smart guy, but creativity, innovation, and magnetic leadership is not innate, as seen in SJ. TC is (merely) driving the bus and on the road that Steve created and this ain’t no Infinite Loop.

        7. Now you’re trying to weasel out of what you said.

          “Jobs had the ability to get people to conform, Cook doesn’t”

          No salesperson or amount of charisma can make people conform. There isn’t one salesperson at Apple either. Apple has a global retail presence and you can bet that many Apple customers don’t know who Steve Jobs or Tim Cook is. At the scale Apple operates at the products are either good and they sell or they’re not (Google Pixel) and they don’t.

          You are attributing supernatural powers to Steve Jobs. That is the only way your comment makes sense. Now we’ll watch the troll backpeddle furiously.

        8. What does Google have to do with our conversation? Who cares? Are you going to bring up Dan Lyons next?

          It takes someone with gifts to turn their bullshit into bumper stickers… I bet you drive a Post PC, magical, non-Truck, who’s radio plays curated non-offensive music permitted by it’s only station, sold to you by a real artist who shipped it!

          That is, if you’re even allowed to drive….

        9. If you want to do the math “Same products, different salespeople. Do the math.” then Tim Cook wins as a salesperson. You should think before you speak troll.

        10. It seem from here that he doesn’t sell as much as he should, but no worries, he makes it up in less quality. Personally, I don’ care how much he sells, I have no interest in that. So troll yourself.

        11. @math: the sales growth rate under Cook has slowed, and the new product introduction is now a trickle. Cook hasn’t done a damn thing new except force subscriptions, which obviously separates the lazy consumer from their cash much more efficiently than any other business model.

          Also Cook (or Lucca) is very good at financial shell games and tax avoidance. Is that what you really care about in a computer maker?

          The resident cynic is correct, as usual.

        12. Backpeddling furiously as I predicted.

          “It takes someone with gifts to turn their bullshit into bumper stickers”

          Nah. The slickest BS artist in the world can’t make people buy a poor product.

          You can’t explain why sales have increased under Cook or why customer satisfaction remains high (despite trolls and nerds whining on tech sites). if what you say is true both sales and customer satisfaction should be PLUMMETING. Not just normal ups and downs across product lines or specific products. Both should be PLUMMETING if you are right.

          By the way, saying Cook “doesn’t sell as much as he should” is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a while. Thanks for the laugh troll.

        13. With Cook, the only significantly growing sales category is “services”. All other products are in decline because Cook hasn’t invested in them — and when he does, it is to dumb them down into unrepairable glued disposable products.

          Enjoy your AppleCare and Subscriptionware.

        14. @Mike/applecynic, funny how ‘Mike’ jumps to your defense and immediately has one five star vote exactly the way your own posts do 🙂

          As far as the math, strange how the sales GROWTH rate slows as markets approach saturation and/or move past the ramp up phase. Funny how that’s the only sales measure you can point to. Speaking of clowns that would be you. Oh you’ve created another clown. There’s three of you now. Desperate troll.

        15. Get a name… You think I strive for votes? Here? With my persuasions?

          Though I must say, I stay because I’m pleasantly surprised by the objectivity of at least many people here.

          As for you? Who cares? You’re not even worthy of an alias…

        16. Which is it then?

          “Jobs had the ability to get people to conform, Cook doesn’t”

          “I care about lock-in, censorship and being managed!”

          Is this about sales as you first said but then couldn’t rebut my points or now about lock in etc? Slippery troll tries to backpeddle but his bike falls over. Poor little troll.

        17. Listen dummy, the article is about sales. People are complaining about them, not me, I don’t give a crap. One reason for people’s complaints could be the loss of Jobs as evangelist,product developer, and spin doctor.

        18. When you said “Jobs had the ability to get people to conform, Cook doesn’t” and you say the article is about sales that means your comment was about sales. Thanks for making that clear.

          Complaints about sales under Cook make no sense. Sales have increased. Sales GROWTH has slowed. As it should. If it didn’t slow as the market saturated Apple would have 6 or 7 billion customers. I hope you understand why it’s normal for sales GROWTH to slow.

          Customer satisfaction also hasn’t plummeted which it should have if your comment is to make sense. There was a recent in depth survey of the iPhone X and it got some of the highest customer sat ratings of any tech product ever. It might have been the highest ever in this survey. Customer sat was very very high that’s the point.

          There is no measure by which your comment makes any sense at all. Cook has overseen a similar number of new products as Jobs. People forget that every new product Jobs introduced was shit on by everyone at first too. The complaints were all the same. Pundits and trolls hated the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. Pundits and trolls today shit all over the iPhone X, Face ID, Apple Pencil, Airpods, Homepod, Apple Music, the touchbar, Apple Watch, AirPower, ApplePay.

        1. Not worth it to you but certainly many others, including myself, have bought the phone.
          Remember that the X will not be for everyone. That’s why there is the 8, 8 plus, 7, SE.

    1. A product is only overpriced if fewer people buy it than the seller intends to sell. People forget that Apple uses price to control demand. Apple set the price to match demand with the number of iPhone X units that it could produce. As FaceID technology matures and Apple secures a sufficient supply of OLED panels, the price will come down.

      1. Thank you, and noted your advice:-). I am sure the X is good, and I said so. Being such a gadget freak that I am, I will eventually return to buying the latest and the greatest as I used to do till recently (I even bought a MBP w/touch bar!, selling my venerable MBP 2011 (mistake though), lol. This is the first time that I paused to think (i.e., restored the sanity:-) and decided to wait a bit. To me, the 8 is the same as the X, except the X has the face ID and OLED, both of which did not attract me. But it’s not about the product itself. I guess I was taken aback by what I thought was such a strong hyping just because it’s a 10th anniversary edition with “revolutionary” featured etc. I felt it was almost “buy now or never” push, with release control, and with calculators behind it. Maybe I over reacted but this came when I was beginning to suspect the motives behind what Apple has been doing on many fronts, what I thought was a total mentality shift from good old days. So, it was more about the management style than the product itself. I “rebelled” against Apple, haha. I will “have to” buy the latest and greatest this year, and certainly look forward to the new X. Apparently, Apple is going to reduce the price to more reasonable level as a bonus. Hey, if the products is good, I pay less attention to the price:-)

        1. You are forgetting that the X versus 8/8 Plus has better front AND back cameras (especially versus the 8!)…and the screen is not just better, but significantly better in every way (quality wise) that the 8 or 8 Plus. The battery on the X lasts 2 hours longer than the 8 by the way. I also love how much more convenient and quick Face ID is versus Touch ID. 3 of us bought the X and 2 bought the 8 and 2 bought the 8 Plus and one is still using a 5S. The differences I cited are noticeable to all of us in the my family. The 8, 8 Plus owners all now wished they had gotten the X.

    2. Lots of people are happy to publish their opinions on the cost of iPhones, in general, and the cost of the iPhone X, in particular. You see bill of materials (BOM) estimates that ignore costs associated with R&D, assembly, shipping, retail, warranty, etc. You see comments from people who want a less expensive iPhone, but still want all of the bells and whistles. And you see people desiring the capabilities of the iPhone X crammed into the iPhone SE while still maintaining battery life.

      Frankly, I am tired of the whining. Either buy Apple products or don’t. If you choose not to buy Apple products, then I do not want to hear why you switched. And, if you choose to buy Apple products, then I do not want to hear complaints about its cost, design, of features that you should have understood before you bought it. Do your research first, then make an informed choice.

      News flash…Apple has never been perfect. It goes through cycles like the late 1980s to mid-1990s in which it loses its way a bit. In my opinion, however, even a flawed Apple product tends to be better than the alternative. You may feel differently. If so, switch and live with the consequences. I just downy want to hear about it.

  2. My wife has an 8, me an X. While I may be biased by getting used to the X, Face ID is so much better than the home button..and there is a clear difference in the screen between the two. I couldn’t go back. The price isn’t that’s not like the 8 is cheap.

  3. I think the iPhone in general is doing fine, but Apple should have labelled the X a special or limited edition, as that’s what it is, truthfully. Collectors could have gone nuts, and the rest of us would have carried on without much ado. As it is, proclaiming some kind of shakily-thought-out ‘future’ was silliness, and wildly speculative, and has made them look pretty silly.

  4. Consumers seem to be happy with the X, besides anecdotal reports like here n the forums , various professional polls also show consumers as highly satisfied (in the high 90s%).

    In contrast the recent angst is over the STOCK price from analyst tea leaf readings of unit sales.

    We won’t be having issue 2 if Apple hadn’t neglected so many areas and is now overly reliant on the iPhone for profits, i.e Apple is not diversified.

    Neglected for example:
    The Mac, Apple second largest hardware money maker.

    The Education Market, from significant position to allowing Chromebooks to go from zero to 70%.

    Areas like Apple TV and HomeKit. Allowing Amazon which has way weaker software DNA history than Apple to pull ahead in A.I and Smart Home installations etc.

    Ecosystem parts like Apple software like Pages, Notes etc, Airports. ( Microsoft OneNote for example is way more powerful than Apple Notes. I don’t want to mention Msft but it’s simply true… )

    They also now seem to be moving very slowly in AR/VR after making such bombastic statements last year. It’s like SIRI again, letting a lead slip.


    (I’m an Apple fan for decades, aapl investor)

    1. I’ve been wondering, for a very long time.. WHY do you think a dying Steve Jobs would entrust the leadership of his finest achievement, Apple itself, to Tim Cook, encouraging the Board of Directors to vote him in as CEO? Everybody and his brother (outside of Apple, that is) seems to think that Cook is the worst thing since swine flu. Was a dying Steve Jobs deluded? Or did Tim Cook change from Dr Jekyll into Mr Hyde once Jobs was out of his way? In the past, Steve Jobs did things we disapproved of. Have Tim Cook’s actions been that much more outrageous? And most cruciallyi, how likely is it that anyone else imaginable in the position of Apple CEO would be capable of walking a tightrope across the Niagara Gorge like Charles Blondin? Because that what he is doing, metaphorically — balancing user and shareholder concerns as he is buffeted by cruel and selfish winds.

      1. 1) I’m just quoting stuff that is happening at Apple which are true FACTS like Chromebooks going from zero to 70% in schools (the rest mostly taken by Microsoft products btw).

        I reread my Post and noticed… I did NOT mention Tim Cook ONCE ! The fact that YOU associate facts with FAILURE with Cook tells a lot ! Get that? its your brain that matched ‘failure’ like education market with Cook, I didn’t mention Cook at all while your replay is ALL about Cook …

        (I might have criticized Cook elsewhere but not here)

        I’m just QUOTING the SCORE CARD ( and I didn’t even mention a lot of Stuff like HomePod lacking features or missing Christmas etc ) .

        2) Steve Jobs didn’t have much choice for successor. Give CEO post to Eddy Cue or shy, fashionista , Coffee Table Book and neglect the Macs Ive… ? (Ive wouldn’t have wanted it anyways).

        Forstall didn’t get along with Ive (or Cook apparently) so Jobs couldn’t have chosen Forstall.

        3) Many Apple leaders performed like geniuses under Jobs then crashed and burnt without Jobs .


        a) Ron Johnson who masterminded Apple Stores got pushed out as CEO of J.c Penney after a disastrous run, the stock under his run falling to half price.

        b) Jon Rubenstein saw Palm destroyed.

        c) Tony Fadell (iPod) got kicked out of Alphabet and according to the verge ” These reports have largely focused on Fadell, whose management style has been polarizing”


        so DID STEVE JOBS chose all these WRONG PEOPLE? Nope. Note they performed wonderfully for him , like the iPod seriously boosted Apple and Johnson made Apple Store the most profitable stores per square foot in the world in a few years — people thought these guys were SERIOUS GENIUSES, that’s why they hired them — but when Steve’s not around…

        I’m not saying this is what is happening to Cook but it does show that some people perform extraordinarily because of Jobs.

        4) I’ve tried to base my posts on facts. I have never beat up Cook for being Gay or stuff like that.

        ON THE OTHER HAND, so many people (I’m NOT saying YOU Herself) have criticized me NOT because I’m factually wrong, like Apple TV is underperforming, but because they support Cook due to his sexual preferences or his Social Work or something. They AUTOMATICALLY support cook because they ALIGN WITH HIM on PERSONAL ISSUES and go ballistic on those who just criticized based on facts on PRODUCTS. (P-R-O-D-U-C-Ts). Then can’t differentiate Cook the Person and Cook the CEO. If people think my views that Apple in Education is wrong THEN FACTUALLY REFUTE THAT (like show Apple in Education is Wonderful !! they’ve gained XXX marketshare and knocked Google to it’s knees… here are the 5 year sales stats … etc), don’t go “you hate Tim cook” because he is gay (I’ve got that numerous times, which is not true btw. )

        I’ve ALSO NEVER suggested Apple should REPLACE COOK with THIS or THAT person as I can’t think of one.

        This afternoon I finally pulled out my (forgotten by) Apple AirPort and replaced it with a way more capable wifi device….

        (there’s not much money in AirPorts I know but it’s part of the ecosystem, they help us manage our devices easier but Apple today says no… )

        1. No, sorry I got too heated.

          thing is I’ve got it so many times when I just quote FACTS like iPad made $xx this year which is less than last year or something I get one starred and people with SJW bent say I’m a ‘gay hater’. That’s why I don’t even mention Cook anymore because people get blinders on due to like I said their alliance with Cook’s SJW views or sexual preferences or whatever (again I’m NOT saying YOU). People who attack me always say they are ‘liberal’ and they want ‘treatment for everyone being the SAME’ yet they don’t realize they are NOT doing it because they elevate Cook and hold him to a different standard: i.e NO criticism even factual allowed (due to Cook’s SJW views they support or whatever). This drives me up the wall because it’s hypocrisy. So I get riled up when people bring up “why criticize Cook’.

          but I over-reacted to your post.

          Note my first line in my original post I wrote that most polls show that consumers love the iPhone X. I try to keep to keep to the facts as much as possible: positive or negative.

          (most of the time I criticize apple hoping someone at Apple would hear and they would FIX the issues as I’m an aapl investor. . )

  5. I love my iPhone X; it is worth every penny. It is nearly the ideal phone. The only thing that would make it better is if it were thinner and lighter.

  6. I have owned Macs since 1984. But at age 79 I am no longer a power user. I considered upgrading my iPhone this year but a $1000 phone did not provide me with enough value for my needs. Of course were I still working I probably would have bought it.

  7. The number of people who have cut and pasted the exact phrase— worth every penny— tells me apple relies on a troll network just like every consumer corporation.

    I work in a tech savvy city among very well to do clientele. I have never seen a single iPhone X in the wild. I asked the iPhone users why and they all said it was not worth the price. Some said they don’t trust that FaceID will be kept secure. The android users laughed and said if you want the latest features, Samsung has offered OLED and facial recognition for a long time.

    Just goes to show that Apple is never going to please everyone by pushing a single flagship model of anything. While I am not a fan of how fragmented the Apple product lineups have become, Apple is doing themselves a major disservice attempting to advertise only to the expensive end of the market more than ever Apple has lost touch with the other 95% of the market.

    1. Disagree. Words are contagious. I have seen it on this website. If someone uses a somewhat unique, but apropos, word to describe something, others may be influenced to do the same.

      And besides, “worth every penny” is a well-established phrase in the vernacular. If people think it sums up their feelings, then, well, why not use it. It is a well-established phrase.

      If you think the iPhone X is a poor value, then say so. Most people here would accept your opinion. But if “the best you can do” (another pat phrase in the vernacular) is call someone a troll for saying they think the iPhone X represents very good value …as in “worth every penny”, then, well, I suggest you reconsider your position.

      Who is the troll here, really ?

    2. Same here — haven’t actually seen anyone touting an iPhone X on the street.

      The iPhone X is selling so well, it might have to get moved into the “Other” sales category for Apple’s annual report.

  8. Some people,still don’t understand how Apple operate.

    Apple never come out and say what’s what unless it’s for a share holders meeting. They’re simply not interested in letting the world know where they’re at every week. And this is not a new thing. They’ve been doing it for years.

    But most journos can’t think that far back. If they don’t have an answer in the next five minutes whatever they come up with must be the truth.

    If only they took the time to really look at things they just might learn something.

  9. i have an iphone x and at first i hated it. It took a week to get to know the phone but after i layed with it a bit it got much easier to use and i cant say enough great things about the camera app on it Amazing how many things i can do with it .
    not only that , i can hide stories and articles .
    its a good phone , but not worth a G . the thumbprint feature is great but i lock myself out so i dont enable it. To be honest Androids are much easier to use but arent as good of phone.
    also, iphones are supposed to be hackless (bs) .

  10. Apple is playing the luxury end of the market. Anyone who understands high priced goods knows that the product cycle for expensive fashion is powerful and short. It’s good that Apple hedged its bets by having a full familly of iPhones in place before trotting out its latest runway fashion model, the X, at nosebleed prices.

    The people with disposable cash all bought immediately so they could have the latest thing. Three months later, the flash is gone and the reality of economics starts to hit. Evidence is mounting that the iPhone 8 models are outselling the X by wide margins now (reference: surveys by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners).

    Lower priced goods with identical performance capability almost always sell more than the expensive fashion model. No matter how much FaceID and OLED is talked up, it doesn’t make the tool more capable at the end of the day. FaceID is actually slower and more awkward for ApplePay purchases. I foresee a long future for legacy iPhone models. While the iPhone X may have exceeded low expectations, it’s far from being mainstream and won’t be anytime soon without a massive price correction.

  11. Actual data from a friend of mine here in Australia who is in the business of selling hundreds of iPhones and Samsung phones per week is that the X is their biggest seller by a large margin, followed by the 8 Plus then the 8.

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