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  • More About iPhone X Demand

    November 21st, 2017

    As regular readers know, this past weekend’s newsletter covered a survey from a previously unknown company that indicated higher demand for the Samsung Galaxy S8 than the iPhone X for holiday giving. This was a survey of adults. For young folk, the results were essentially reversed.

    While the market research company, Propeller Insights, seemed real enough, at least based on its site, there was no indication that it had any known clients, or any clients for that matter, and certainly no track record for providing accurate data. Now I don’t want to seem paranoid, or expressing sour grapes since I have no personal interest in the outcome, but it may well be that the company was put together to conduct a single survey. Or perhaps to produce similar faux surveys.

    While the survey was supposedly commissioned by Ebates, a company specializing in tracking product rebates, I also wonder about the motive. Apple is not offering product rebates for any iPhones these days. It’s not a practice in which they often engage. So what was the point, unless this was all done to hide the identity of the party that really funded the survey.

    Was it a move by Samsung to prop up sales for Galaxy S8 smartphones? Who wrote the check that funded that survey? Was the company who did the survey set up strictly for that purpose and nothing else?

    Now when it comes to credible reporting, there’s a recent estimate from a Wall Street analyst about the price target for shares of Apple Stock and the apparent demand for the iPhone X.

    It comes from Michael Walkley, who works for Canaccord Genuity, a Canada-based investment bank. A quick check appears to indicate that Walkley is a serious guy with a decent track record, estimated at 66%, so what he says ought to be taken seriously, particularly by investors.

    Walkley gives a “Buy” rating to Apple, setting a price target of $195 for the company’s stock. He estimates sales of 78.5 iPhones for the December quarter. He also projects growing demand and market share for the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X throughout the quarter.

    Just as interesting is Canaccord Genuity’s estimate that Apple earned 72% of smartphone industry profits for the September quarter, an increase of 4% over the June quarter. Most of the remaining profits evidently come to Samsung, so you wonder just what the rest of the industry hopes to accomplish.

    Now Walkley isn’t calculating the percentage of adults or children who want to receive an iPhone as a present. He is focusing on sales, market share and profits — and Apple’s expected stock price of course. If his numbers are correct, or close to the mark, it will mean yet another blowout quarter.

    It doesn’t matter how many people claim to want a certain gadget as a present in someone’s cockamamie survey. It’s about how many units are actually sold. I also wonder what percentage of people really expect to receive smartphones, valued from $700 to $1,000, as holiday presents. I suppose if they have relatives or friends with some extra cash lying around. Well, perhaps if someone wants to set up new cellular service for the family, or plans to upgrade existing gear.

    I mean, if a relative outside of my immediate family offered to give me an iPhone X, I wouldn’t refuse. But if it was a Samsung Galaxy S8, frankly I’d exchange it if I could.

    In any case, I just wonder how many people actually care about the alleged buying preferences of total strangers. Even if the survey in which a Samsung smartphone emerged supreme was done correctly, with realistic sampling methods, what difference would it actually make in the end? Would Samsung smartphone sales magically increase?

    I’m more concerned, though, about the suspicious methods used to promote such gear. I’m sure you can argue that some of the claims Apple makes for its products are exaggerated to one degree or another. That’s just marketing. But that’s not the same as outright lying, and it’s not the same as adding features that are barely tested, or just don’t work purely for bragging rights.

    That takes us to one of the major complaints about Apple, which is that they haven’t added this, that, or the other feature. Other companies had it first, but Apple fell behind for one reason or another. They have to do better.

    You can see that through the years even with the first iPhone that didn’t support 3G cellular networks. When LTE came out, Apple seemed late to the party, though it was mostly about waiting for the chips to reach a point where they wouldn’t reduce battery life. Apple also claimed to have waited to deliver an iPhone with an OLED display until it could achieve the quality level it wanted.

    So the LTE iPhone has roughly the same battery life as previous models, and the iPhone X’s OLED display is rated at the top of the heap by almost every reviewer. It may also be that Apple wasn’t previously able to get displays in sufficient quantities to install them on iPhones.

    Oh, and Samsung had facial recognition on its Galaxy smartphones before the iPhone X arrived, but Face ID is the only one to be taken seriously.



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