More Nonsense About iPhone X Sales

February 20th, 2018

Before I comment about yet another nonsensical article claiming poor iPhone X sales, let me remind you of Apple’s results for the December quarter. During the weeks in which it was available, it was the number one best selling smartphone on the planet. Number two was the iPhone 8 Plus, which explains why the average sale prices hit record levels. Whether a natural evolution of the product lineup, or blind luck (which I doubt), Apple made the right moves.

It also sold more smartphones than Samsung. Not just in revenue but in the number of units sold. So it’s hard to think that any tech commentator would continue to post the fiction that people are resisting the most expensive iPhone.

I even see more and more of them in use. It’s not a survey, just a random observation. I also see more Apple Watches, even on the hands of cashiers at convenience stores who are not exactly among the highest paid employees.

Now you would have thought it strange that, upon the revelation that the iPhone X is popular, there have still been published reports of collapsed demand. So Apple is allegedly sharply cutting back on component orders, which is noting more than the usual misleading supply chain chatter that appears to occur every year or so.

Did Samsung cut back on production of any of its Galaxy smartphones? It’s not something that appears to   be important enough to obsess over.

So there’s an article in an alleged business publication with lots of curious quotables, starting with the headline, “Weak iPhone X demand isn’t just hurting Apple — it’s also causing problems for Samsung.”

Weak what?

Then there’s the claim that, “Fewer people are buying the $1,000 iPhone X than expected.”

Than WHO expected? Once again, the iPhone X was the best selling smartphone on the planet during the weeks it was available during the December quarter. I would assume that fewer are being produced this quarter because that’s the usual sales trends.

But since Apple is allegedly buying fewer parts, including OLED displays, Samsung is thus overstocked, according to that post, which relies on an unconfirmed Nikkei story as its source. So the South Korean consumer electronics conglomerate is desperately seeking buyers to help pick up the slack.

The mind boggles!

But Nikkei, which has a less-than-perfect record reporting about Apple, mentions yet another reason why Samsung may have extra OLED capacity, that OLED makers from China, plus LG Display and BOE Technology, have expanded production. So maybe it’s not Apple’s fault after all.

A report simply citing excess OLED display capacity, however, would be less interesting that one somehow linking it primarily to poor results from Apple. That’s what generates the hits, which is why such behavior continues. So it’s not going to stop even when such claims are regularly debunked.

But what about those OLED displays? Does it mean more smartphones might use them?

How about TV sets? If you’ve read there reviews, you’ll see that models with OLED displays get far higher ratings than those with LED displays. The reasons are obvious. OLED provides superior color reproduction, with deep rich blacks, and a very wide viewing angle. It’s reminiscent in some ways to plasma, which ultimately failed in the marketplace.

OLED remains costly to produce, meaning that such TVs are premium priced. The cheapest 55-inch Ultra HD OLED TVs listed at Amazon and Best Buy are in the range of $1,600. That’s for a highly rated set from LG.  Compared to decent quality LED sets at $700 or so, that’s real high, but it’s not beyond the range of a comparably sized plasma TVs ten years ago.

So does that mean OLED is coming of age, and that you’ll be able to buy one for less than $1,000 in the next year or so? Remember how quickly 4K came down in price, even with HDR. The TV industry is desperately attempting to boost sales of premium quality models, and persuade you to replace your old set. So this year it’s also about 4K LED, including models with HDR, hitting the sweet spot in prices.

Once you buy your 4K set, they’ll want to find ways to entice you to replace it with OLED, and for that to happen, they must be far cheaper than they are now. Maybe the Nikkei report of higher production capacities is the real story here, not a misleading claim the people don’t care about the iPhone X, or that demand collapsed much faster than what you’d expect from normal seasonal trends.

Yet another controversial factor is the alleged failure of Apple to issue guidance for the current quarter at levels financial analysts expected. But Apple also reported that it expected double digit growth in iPhone revenue. How can that be a bad thing?

Maybe in the alternate reality known as the “upside down.”

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