There’s no question whatsoever that Apple’s iPhone X is already one of the best-selling smartphones of 2017. It makes sense, of course, since it’s also the best smartphone ever in so many ways. Unending hype and demand that has seemingly been sky-high have caused some confusion lately, however. Many reports say that the iPhone X is still flying off shelves. In fact, Apple is estimated to have sold 6 million units during the Black Friday shopping period alone, despite the fact that there weren’t even any iPhone X discounts to be found. At the same time, Apple’s shipping quotes for the iPhone X have dropped to about one week. Even more puzzling is the fact that new orders in many regions can be picked up the very same day in Apple stores.
Has production improved faster than anyone expected? Is demand lower than anyone expected? No one outside of Apple knows for sure, and unfortunately a new insider report doesn’t offer any answers.
Supply chain sources speaking with Digitimes have said that component orders for the iPhone X are already weakening. Strong sales are expected through the first and even second quarters of 2017, so this rumor is somewhat puzzling.
“Despite having enjoyed a surge in orders for the iPhone X in September and October, sources from the upstream component supply chain saw their shipments for iPhone devices weaken in November and are likely to drop further in December,” the report says. “With demand for key component not growing as strong as expected, the sources are concerned that Apple may reduce its iPhone X shipment target for the first quarter of 2018. The sources pointed out that Apple’s component orders for the iPhone X in November were around 30% lower than its earlier forecast.”
As we suggested above, however, the news doesn’t necessarily mean that iPhone X sales are slowing down. While that’s certainly a possibility, it’s also possible that Apple’s manufacturing partners managed to ramp up iPhone X production faster than expected ahead of the holiday rush. As a result, Apple may be slowing new orders to keep a better balance with demand.
The only thing we can say with any certainty for the time being is that the hypothesis in Digitimes’ conclusion is ridiculous: “With the recent market rumors indicating that Apple may release a new 6-inch iPhone with a design similar to that of the iPhone X and also featuring the face recognition function in 2018, market observers believe that some consumers may decide to delay their purchasing plans to wait for the new device.”
Nope. It’s possible that production ramped up faster than Apple expected, so it’s now pumping the brakes a bit. It’s also possible that iPhone X sales are slowing sooner than expected. In either case, there’s no way that rumors about next year’s iPhones are having any material impact on iPhone X sales at this point. The percentage of consumers out there who are even aware of these rumors is so close to zero that it likely can’t even be measured.