Historically speaking, speculative reports regarding cuts in iPhone production due to low demand are nothing new. And as you might expect, some of these reports in certain years have ultimately proven to be accurate while others, with the benefit of hindsight, appear to have been sourced from folks intent on manipulating the market.

That qualification aside, the number of reports regarding lower than expected demand for Apple’s iPhone XR has become somewhat impossible to ignore. Most recently, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn said that it plans to implement sweeping cost-saving measures in order to combat “a very difficult and competitive year.” Predictably, many people interpreted Foxconn’s comments as a clear indication that iPhone sales are slumping.

In light of all that, a new report from The Wall Street Journal relays that Apple is planning to cut pricing on the iPhone XR in Japan in order to boost what appears to be tepid demand.

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.

The de facto discount of the handset, coupled with cuts in production plans, are a sign of limited enthusiasm among consumers for the model, which has fewer features than Apple’s other two new releases and costs more than still-popular older models like the iPhone 8.

While some analysts have said that the iPhone XR is priced a bit too high, one overlooked aspect regarding the device, in my opinion, is that Apple has done an unusually poor job of marketing the device. To be blunt, Apple hasn’t done a decent job of conveying to the public what the iPhone XR is and what it brings to the table. Even the naming scheme on Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup is a bit confusing to those who don’t keep up to date with Apple news on a day-to-day basis.

All that said, we won’t really be able to tell how iPhone sales are doing given Apple’s recent decision to no longer disclose unit sales for its iconic smartphone.

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