back to article Apple's iPhone X won't experience the joy of 6...

Apple's upcoming iPhone X will be its biggest in years, but will still fall short of sales expectations. This is according to Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor, who today likened the looming iPhone X launch to the 2014 unwrapping of the iPhone 6 and 6S. Like that blastoff, the iPhone X introduces a new design …

  1. SuccessCase

    The whole point of the iPhone X is that Apple have been in a bind. Selling so many individual handsets with a huge launch demand has left them hamstrung when launching new features. Not only do they need to ensure new engineering, they need to ensure that engineering for new feature x is at a scale none of their competitors need to match for any single handset model, from day one (even Samsung does not sell so many of any given single model). Their way to solve this is by increasing price to reduce demand to a serviceable level. It’s a high risk strategy they would probably have preferred not to have to take (launching the iPhones 8 and X at the same time goes against Steve Jobs expressed preference for the “one Coke” philosophy). But the problem of introducing new tech at such high volume has left them exposed. They are unable to implement new cutting edge features so effectively but their price proposition and margins are such that they are expected to be out in front.

    In truth this may be a one release problem. The key part that has caused this bind is likely to be the introduction of a true edge to edge display. Samsung have ended up dominating the OLED supply market more than Apple expected, competitors have had yield/quality issues and the result is that the display component is no longer a competitive commodity supply choice. At least not for this release cycle.

    So yes Apple are expecting reduced demand for iPhone X, while they want to maintain profit, that’s the whole point. They are trying to overcome the challenge of introducing an edge to edge display that can’t be introduced in the volume an iPhone launch typically requires and are using the price/demand curve to solve the problem.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Apple's biggest problem with the Apple Galaxy is probably having to share more of the profits with the phone's maker: Samsung. While Apple has been investing in SoC development, most of the rest of the phone depends on Samsung's technological prowess with the screen being the most obvious example.

      This also means that Apple is entering the murky waters of functional equivalence: if what I really want is a stonking edge-to-edge OLED screen, why not buy the original?

      The X won't be the end of Apple, it's just further evidence that the magic is gone.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Why not buy the original?

        Because Samsung is not the original – sure they can make claims that the glass wraps around the edge, but what use is that. Like Samsung, it looks good in the shop, but the reality is something different. Display is distorted by the curve so fairly useless. Then you want to protect the glass, so you put a cover over it, which covers the edge.

        Apple does not compete with that kind of 'innovation'. If there is a legitimate use for something Apple will include it, but not just include things for the a 'wow' factor to make a sale like Samsung does.

    2. Blotto

      @successcase

      Apples problems are rumoured to be due to the yields of the Juliet sensor for the 3D face scan tech,

      Not enough sensors to finish enough phones to satisfy demand.

      I think you are right though that this will be a 1 model issue. This is the tenth anniversary handset so they have pushed the boat out even further to celebrate their ingenuity.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Yeah from all indications the sensors were the issue, not the displays. They can get OLEDs from other sources like LG - and rumor has it they'll have three separate suppliers for displays for next year's phone. If they could have got enough sensors to build 150 million of them they'd have done a normal launch, with the new phone in a regular and plus sized format, and sourced displays from multiple vendors. Since they couldn't they had to do a limited launch, with no plus sized model and put the price up not only because it costs more to make, but because it helps to limit demand. If they sold it for less, they'd only have a longer wait time.

        Next year they'll have it both sizes and normal production volumes, since one would hope the suppliers of the 3D sensors are able to ramp given another year to work out the kinks and/or build more capacity. What I wonder if whether they are manufacturing any part of those sensors themselves - after all that was supposedly one of the reasons they bought that old Maxim fab in California a couple years ago. The idea being that if there was some crucial part required to make some new technology work they'd buy or acquire an exclusive license to the technology and manufacture it themselves, so that copying it would be a lot more difficult.

      2. SuccessCase

        Yes that’s true, but the 3D sensor availability is now an issue but that is because of the adopted display strategy and the need for the edge to edge display. The strategy dual iPhone 8/X strategy was undoubtedly decided upon due to display supply constraints and the sensor became an issue after experimentation with different forms of biometric identification solution. LG were not available as a second display supplier having evidenced lower yields and bad quality (“patchyness”).

    3. JLV Silver badge

      An interesting take, but are you really implying that Apple will reduce price later, once they've ramped up their manufacturing??? That's about as likely to happen as Kim Jong-Un looking less fat in his starving country, IMHO.

      I think a different explanation for the costs is that we've been conditioned to pay $800-900+ for phones already. Witness the Samsung flagships or the jump up from the old Nexus lineup, there's been a definite jump even as core functionality has stabilized - the only notable feature I really see is water-resistance.

      Apple's always been premium-priced, so why stick around at the same price point? Goes against Veblen goods positioning too.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Not saying they will reduce the price on the X, it will always be $999 - but I'm willing to bet it will not be sold after Sept. 2018, instead the 8 will become "last year's model" in their pricing matrix. Perhaps the reason the iPhone 8 was $699 instead of $649 like the 7 was last year was to pave the way for an increase in price for the next year's flagship, which might similarly start at $699 or get another bump to $749 or possibly $799. No way they go any higher that than, it will be nowhere near $999.

        That $999 price was chosen for a couple reasons aside from "because we can" and "we'll make more money". One, because the supply of X's will be limited anyway, why price it lower and make a long waiting list even longer? Two, because a lower price for the X would have more people choosing to forgo the 8 and instead of get on a months-long waiting list for the X. If you don't get your X until June, you certainly won't be buying a new phone in 2018, or likely not even in 2019. They'd rather sell you an 8 now, and a 12 or whatever they call a couple years from now.

        Those two reasons will no longer exist next year when production volumes are up. Sure, Apple could price it at $999 "because we can", but such a high starting price would put a big crimp in sales so "because we'll make more money" would probably not be true because the reduction in units sold could easily outweigh the increase in profit per unit. The increase in price of the 8 from last year's $649 to this year's $699 could be partially to test the market - i.e. let's see how much a $50 price increase influences people to buy an older model instead. The 6S/6S plus remaining on sale when in past years only the previous year's iPhone was still being sold may also be part of such an overall market test.

        They will gather a lot of data about their market based on product mix from 6S/7/8/X at those various price points, which will tell them what they need to know about what sort of prices and offerings they'll want for next year.

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Numbers

    Will Apple's share price really be affected by only selling 245 million iPhone-Xs? I mean, that's only 4% short of analyst's expectations. As the figures are based on vague assumptions, how accurate can either of them be? (Are these the same analysts who also claimed Windows phone would become a major force in mobile phones within a couple of years of launch....?)

    Assuming Apple really do make a profit of 40% on iPhones, those missing 10 million handsets will mean $4 million dollars in less profit over a year. Will that really be that noticeable in Apple's figures, bearing in mind Apple generally talk about revenue & profit in the billions?

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Numbers

      You're right. But the interesting thing will be if Apple have misjudged their own market by a bigger measure. That's the elephant in the room. Analysts rarely go out on a limb (for a range of reasons) so they stick with the herd. And no bank or analyst wants to be blackballed by Cupertino in future, so they all keep close to the myth. The only really substantive thing Apple have done is take the display out to the edge of the phone (cos wireless charging and 5.5" display can be had on an 8+), and its barely much of an advance on the Galaxy S8, which is £300 quid or more cheaper.

      Maybe this will be the iPhone that's just too expensive, and flops. But if it isn't, the Apple strategy of making each new phone more expensive than before will eventually reach that point, for reasons of simple maths. If a £1,000-£1,300 phone sells, what will the iPhone 11 have to be priced at? If that reaches £1,200-1,500, will that actually sell? Then what of the iPhone 12? At some point the market will say "Far out! This is the price of a second hand car, and I can get 90% of the experience with a £200 Android". Then "pop", the Cupertino bubble bursts.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Numbers

        Analysts rarely go out on a limb (for a range of reasons) so they stick with the herd.

        Have an extra upvote just for this: no investor wants to hear bad news.

      2. Blotto

        Re: Numbers

        @ledswinger

        How long do you estimate before that price sensitive bubble bursts?

        It looks to me that people are purchasing not on price but by features. You can get most of the stuff (sometimes more depending on your leaning) on a cheap android but people are shunning those and spending multiples more on stuff they want.

        I guess it’s like buying a Dacia vs a mini or bmw something, bmw probably sell vastly more of everything than Dacia at much more cost to the customer, yet they are still around and both manufacturers sell cars with 4 wheels, brakes, electric windows, abs, traction control etc.

        My next car may be a Skoda purely because I like the way they have reinvented themselves and love the styling etc and I’m sure I can pick enough options to make it what I want, the rest of my family wouldn’t be seen dead in one purely because of their previous image.

        Some people are more accepting of change than others.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Numbers

          I guess it’s like buying a Dacia vs a mini or bmw something

          No. Dacia's are wilfully devised to be as cheap as possible without challenging the owning company (Renault). Many of the challenger brands in phones don't have a parent with a premium brand, or they segment the market differently.

          My next car may be a Skoda

          I think that makes my point. Certainly VW Group try and make sure that their challenger brands Skoda & Seat don't compete with VW (or in any way with Audi, or Porsche, or Bentley). But I drive a Skoda, (Octavia 1.4 TSI 150) and it is a fabulous car. In many ways better than cars I've owned before costing twice as much, If you want all the frippery and trimmings, look away. If you want a quite exquisitely balanced engine, body shell and transmission, look no further. Seats are great, but (in my cheapo variant) not leather, the ICE is really basic by modern day standards.

          And that's where we are with phones. For less than £200 you can have a really good octa-core 5.5inch display Android phone, 4,000 mAh battery, nice screen. You don't get wireless charging, USB-C, or waterproofing, but you do get SD compatibility or dual SIM.

          Apple are cruising, relying on the inertia of their customer base. How long that will last I really wouldn't want to predict, because other incumbent companies have exploited their customer for decades, but what I would say is that the maths of justifying share price on ever-incremental product price rises simply doesn't work. My hunch is that either iPhone X or 11 will be the ones that wipe out the myth. Maybe they can create a multi-tiered offer around models 7, 8, X, and the plus variants, and segment the market for success. But as a reluctant Jobs admirer, I think the "one Coke" idea really matters. The cracks are there. When they rupture I really can't say.

        2. Open Sauce

          Re: Numbers

          Except, BMW don't use Dacia components, unless you meant:

          Apple = Dacia

          and

          Samsung = BMW

          Which would make more sense.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Numbers

        Maybe this will be the iPhone that's just too expensive, and flops. But if it isn't, the Apple strategy of making each new phone more expensive than before will eventually reach that point, for reasons of simple maths.

        I'm sticking with my iPhone 6. I have apps that don't have a 64 bit version, so I'm not upgrading to iOS11. If I stick with iOS10, everthing runs fine and I don't need a new phone either

    2. death&taxes

      Re: Numbers

      Err, 10,000,000 x $1,000 x 40% = a slightly bigger hole than the one you suggest...

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Numbers

      I mean, that's only 4% short of analyst's expectations

      And as we all know, analysts are always inerrant and have never made a bad prediction in all of recorded time..

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Numbers

      "Will Apple's share price really be affected by only selling 245 million iPhone-Xs?"

      Of course it will be. You're talking about the Stock Market, where you only increase share value if you exceed expectations. Merely matching expectations means only a slight dip in share value.

      This stems from the same mentality that wants marketing guys to increase their revenue by 20% each year - never mind if the market has reached saturation.

      Our society does not know how to handle just surviving. Every one of those multi-billion dollar multinational companies that rake in revenue by the boatload cannot just continue to manage their portfolio, that is stagnation and thus death. No, they are all judged by how much more revenue they generate, even if there is no room left to increase market share. It's the nature of an economy that pushes everything towards monopoly status. If you're not on top, you're not worth it.

    5. Blotto

      Re: Numbers

      @a non

      The price is more than 4% more so even like fo4 like sales will be huge increase in revenues / profit.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Could there be more to it than that?

    Quote

    means there are only so many people who will be able to buy the new model when it hits the market next month.

    Probably down to the supposed production problems meaning that Apple (sorry Foxconn) can build around 1000 a day (Tesla would love to be able to build 1000 model 3's a day but can't get anywhere near that)

    Apple (like most sensible companies) never forecasts numbers of sales. These Wall St types do that. Many are probably golfing/yaching buddies with the 'shorters' so forcasting numbers that Apple can't reach plays into the hands of the shorters. These two sets of people combined are enough to take $5B (or more) off of Apple's value.

    That will have the Apple haters cheering but an awful lot of pension companies have holdings in APPL. So that might be a two edged sword for some.

    As all stock advice says, The value of your holdings can go up and down.

    Apple will get through this. Until Tim Cook decides to run for Office his job in Cupertino is safe.

  4. PhilipN Silver badge

    Gorilla(s) in the room

    Sales of iThingies are driven by phone companies, not by punters buying over the counter.

    My phone company has been begging me to be an early adopter of the 8 or the X for weeks.

    I don't even see the prices which are being bandied about. All they quote is the monthly cost less rebate plus/minus whatever.

    Probably means either that the phone company buys in bulk, gets a discount, writes the net capital cost off over a period of two years OR works in cahoots with Apple to ease in the supply in an orderly fashion, or both.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Gorilla(s) in the room

      Most people I know buy outright these days.

      Certainly my extended family have all bought their phones outright (carrier free models) and are on SIM only contracts or use pre-pay SIMs.

      That said, they expect a phone to last 4 years.

      My employer buys its phones in bulk - they currently use Galaxy S6, but will switch to the S7 when current stocks run out.

    2. gsf333

      Re: Gorilla(s) in the room

      Not sure where you are based, but in the UK this is certainly not the case.

      Although most phones are sold by the networks it doesn't mean they are jumping for joy to be selling the iPhone over any other manufacturers. Customer behaviour does mean the network operators as a whole sell the most phones - simply because it's the simplest method for the customer phone up, new phone comes = no effort and it's effectively on credit without doing a thing.

      The networks push new iPhones because they know that if they don't other networks will be happy to poach their customers, many have seen this happen multiple times in the early years.

      The network operators would much rather sell you a non Apple phone that they have a much higher markup on. In fact most of the operators pay higher commission (or increase the banding - thus price to customer) . So yes, the iphone might get you to call the networks retention's department, however they will try and sell you something they make more money on once you have opened the door.

      iPhone has a very slim markup for the operators. Tesco once let slip that the cost price wasn't even 10% below sale price, it's likely the main operators get a better deal - however Apple squeeze, so it won't be a massive amount more.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Gorilla(s) in the room

        They are being stupid here.

        I dont want a phone from them that has a subsidy that they are going to charge everyone, including the ones that dont buy phones from them. It is bloody stupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gorilla(s) in the room

      I have not bought a phone via a phone company for well over a decade. Like others, I'm on a SIM only (£12/month) deal and there is no way in hell that I'll go back to a carrier locked device.

      I keep my phone for at least two years and then I'll buy a secondhand one. I have the fickle fanboi's to thank for that. They can't be seen with last years device now can they eh? :) :) :) :wink:

      And I can't think of the last time my carrier tried to 'upsell' me. Come to think of it, they haven't.

      1. gsf333

        Re: Gorilla(s) in the room

        You have made the usual mistake of thinking you are reflective of the 45+ million adults in this country.

        If you have a sim only contract, why would they try selling you a handset? They try to sell people handsets when you come to 'upgrade' or try to leave for another supplier - at this point they will then try to deflect attention to the phones they make most money on by trying to 'understand what you need in a phone'.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Gorilla(s) in the room

        And I can't think of the last time my carrier tried to 'upsell' me. Come to think of it, they haven't.

        In a similar position and 3 (who provide a decent service at a reasonable price for my needs - the mobile is my primary telephone and used across Europe) frequently try - especially when they wish me to move off my 'protected' deal.

  5. werdsmith Silver badge

    iPhone X is a luxury halo device, there are enough real enthusiasts and people who would consider its price to be small change to justify it. The bulk sales will be 8 and that was always the expectation.

    People are always mocking the price of iPhones but for the shrewd who are prepared to put a little effort into thinking, there is always a cheap way in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but for the shrewd who are prepared to put a little effort into thinking, there is always a cheap way in.

      Yes, it's called Android.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Android? Phweeewt

        "Yes, it's called Android."

        The problem there is that the Android user experience is simply not as good.

        I have one of each in my pocket, and for anything other than answering a call, the Android stays in my pocket. YMMV, but I still think Android is second rate.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Android? Phweeewt

          Refurbs are very often just returns from people who changed their mind.

          My 7 cost £277 SIM free, with 9 months of Apple warranty and not any sign of use.

          1. gsf333

            Re: Android? Phweeewt

            Apple direct refurbs are always re-cased and have their battery replaced. Regardless of whether they need it or not. Smart way to buy an iPhone if you ask me.

            However, refurbs from CPW, o2 or similar, could well be customer returns, if they look fine they go back in the a box and classed as 'refurbed'

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Yes, it's called Android."

        I bought an Android phone once, a cheap ZTE. It stunk up the place. I replaced it with a middle-of-the-road Samsung, on the principle that perhaps the problem was that it was a cheap phone. The Samsung was worse than the ZTE. I replaced it with an older, refurbished, iPhone. I've had it for more than three years now, with only minor problems. The refurb iPhone was actually cheaper than the Samsung. That particular model is now over five years old, and will no longer be supported past this year. I may buy a new iPhone to replace it. As I've been burned, twice, by Android phones in the past, I certainly will not be buying an Android, not at any price.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      but for the shrewd who are prepared to put a little effort into thinking, there is always a cheap way in.

      Yes, it's called a refurbished phone.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Refurbished

        Refurbished is a dirty word for a mobile phone.

        As plenty of them come from dropped phones, they potentially have cracked solder points that will eventually fail, same for tablets.

        Or maybe replaced chips that the remanufacturer did not put any underfill (I am looking at you, Apple)

        http://mendonipadrehab.com/entries/general/the-epidemic-of-iphone-6-6-touch-ic-failure-explained-apples-continues-to-pull-the-wool-over-the-consumer-s-eyes

        https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/234552-apples-iphone-6-6-plus-are-failing-early-thanks-to-touch-disease-bending-problems

        https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11412496

  6. Blotto

    So sales will still rise

    Just by not as much as a previous model.

    Ask any company if they would be upset with a sales rise of 20% or even 5% year on year!!!

    Ask any individual if theyd be upset with a 20% salary increase year on year

    Classic tale of how to twist a positive into a negative.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: So sales will still rise

      The article also says that Apple already has a large userbase and there isn't much room for expansion... But with only 13%-16% market share, that seems like a lot of room for expansion to me... :-S

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: So sales will still rise

        The article also says that Apple already has a large userbase and there isn't much room for expansion... But with only 13%-16% market share, that seems like a lot of room for expansion to me... :-S

        The market share, depending on how you measure it and who is doing the measuring, might be as much as 25% or as little as 15%. The wide variance is why I pay zero attention to market share figures. A substantial part of the 75-85% who don't have Apple devices are people who buy cheap phones for any of several reasons (they're poor and can't afford expensive phones, they're cheap and don't want expensive phones) and more are people who wouldn't buy Apple phones at any price for ideological reasons. (A quick glance at El Reg's comments forum should reveal some of those people) As Apple does make expensive phones, and as Apple does have an substantial profit margin on those expensive phones, Apple probably doesn't care. The margins on cheap phones aren't good. Apple aims their phones at those who can afford them, and Apple has a substantial fraction of that market. Expanding that market in the face of opposition from Samsung and the other major player's efforts at the top end is not a trivial exercise.

  7. James 51 Silver badge
    FAIL

    The percentages can be deceptive just as a 5% bonus for the boss is worth a lot more than a 5% bonus for a person working at the coal face. That 5% increase could mean a bigger increase in absolute term that the 20% when the user base was smaller. Analysts, what are they good for?

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      percentages, what are they good for? Absolutely nothing

      The percentages can be deceptive just as a 5% bonus for the boss is worth a lot more than a 5% bonus for a person working at the coal face. That 5% increase could mean a bigger increase in absolute term that the 20% when the user base was smaller. Analysts, what are they good for?

      I am reminded of a proud boast from the Soviet Union in its early days. They had, they said, increased steel production 100% in the last year. It was true. The year before they had one (modern, they had inherited quite a few badly run junk heaps from the Tsars) steel mill. That year they they added a second. Production did, indeed, double. (Given the relative sizes of the two mills it should have at least tripled, but let's not quibble.) And they really did double their steel production, year on year, for over a decade after that. It still took them a while to catch up to the steel production of, say, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, because they were starting from such a low base.

  8. Alexander Hanff 1

    Umm X is not the right device for market metrics

    The iPhone X was never produced as a market booster and should not be used to measure market trends - it was a concept phones that Apple knew would appeal to only a modest percentage of their customers. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are the phones which should be used to gauge market response - that was the primary release and is the device most customers are likely to upgrade to.

    The X (and it's descendants) may be relevant next year if Apple moves towards that design for its primary market but until the two lines converge the X should simply be considered as a PoC for future generations.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Umm X is not the right device for market metrics

      The iPhone X was never produced as a market booster…

      Typical apologist bullshit. "Concept" devices are never made available to the general public and Apple never announces something it doesn't sell.

      The Apple Galaxy X is typical of a company in two minds and something that his Jobness would never have accepted. Not that I kneel if front of that particular altar, but while Apple under Cook's stewardship has continued to grow and rake in profits that others could only ever dream of, it has repeatedly failed to deliver significant new products.

  9. asksak
    Thumb Up

    Additional Comments - iPhone X

    Thank you for this great article.

    However, my main comments of relevance would be regarding the fact that the iPhone X maybe perceived as an anniversary edition, a first generation device, that was rushed into mass production, and delayed due to the inability to incorporate the Touch ID into the device.

    As a long time iPhone user, I have decided to go for the iPhone 8 as an upgrade from the iPhone 6s (supports the article's argument) for many reasons:

    1. Imagine having to look at your phone every time you want to unlock it, vs laying your figure on the Touch ID button. I unlock my phone very often and cannot imagine tolerating the current process of unlocking.

    2. I am sure, without a doubt, that any future iPhone will have the AMOLED screen, as standard LCD panels are not acceptable anymore in any flagship phone. Therefore, I am sure the iPhones that will be released in September 2018 will have to be without Bezels and with an AMOLED screen, and for sure a Touch ID.

    So I put it this way, I'd rather buy a standard price iPhone in 2018 with all the main Flagship required Gizmos. In Sept 2017 the iPhone X will cost 999+ tax while if apple want to keep their share in the market in 2018, they will have to release their standard priced phones, and by then the AMOLED screen unit price would be much lower.

    By September 2018, anyone who purchased an iPhone X may be disappointed if what I described above happens.

    There is another flip to this coin, sales in countries where telecom companies offer good monthly plans on the phone and airtime, may see a surge in adopting the iPhone X vs countries where you have to buy an unlocked phone for the full price + tax of that country. For example, the iPhone 8 Plus costs $1267 after taxes as telecoms companies do not get involved in offers for iPhones. So I think the researcher of the article should have taken that into consideration.

    Best,

    Aymen

    B.Eng. Electronic systems Engineering

    M.Eng. Telecoms Engineering with AI

  10. DougS Silver badge

    I've never believed this year would be the next iPhone "supercycle"

    The 8 won't be driving upgrades, the only new feature it adds is wireless charging which is pretty meh. The X is the only one that would be worth upgrading to, but with the sensors limiting production to only three million a month they can't make nearly enough of them to drive a mass upgrade cycle like the 6 did.

    There will be just enough of them out there for other iPhone owners to salivate over and resolve to buy next year when it is in full production in regular and plus sizes. 2018 is when the supercycle analysts have been waiting for will come. Heck even if they could make as many Xs as they could sell a lot of people would be holding out until next year to get the plus sized version. The X may have a slightly larger screen than the plus measured diagonally, but it is as narrow as the regular sized iPhone's screen. After going from a 4S to a 5 and getting a screen that was taller rather than wider, I think width is more important.

    I'm pretty ambivalent over facial recognition vs fingerprint, assuming it works at an angle so you don't have to lift the phone to a 90* angle for it to unlock. I can't seem them releasing it if it was that limited, but I guess we'll find out soon. What I'm more curious about is what other uses those sensors will be put to. For instance, could it scan a room and produce a 3D model? It uses the same technology as Xbox Kinect does, and its able to do that despite being limited to being in one location. Since you can carry your phone around it should be possible to produce very detailed models.

    There are some obvious niche uses for this like people who want to redecorate or renovate, but it is probably the uses we don't see that could be more important - maybe a game that uses your home as a playfield, I don't know. If enough uses come of it I could see them adding a second set of sensors to the back side a few years down the road.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I've never believed this year would be the next iPhone "supercycle"

      The 8 won't be driving upgrades, the only new feature it adds is wireless charging which is pretty meh.

      Au contraire: wireless charging is becoming standard for other high-end phones so Apple had to react and adopt it (as they did with bigger screens for the 6). The Apple Galaxy X face sensor thingy doesn't seem to excite anything like as much, at least if the fanbois I know are anything to go by.

      Whichever way it goes with the X Apple will try and spin it as a win. If they sell anywhere near 200m in a year it then it's hard to argue against, even if expectations are disappointed: "supply constraints" are always a good excuse. And if it bombs like the 5c then it will be quickly, and quietly, buried with whatever "magical" technology it contains due to be reheated in next year's models.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I've never believed this year would be the next iPhone "supercycle"

        Rumor has it they can only make 3 million X's per month, they will obviously sell all they can make at such low production volumes but it means almost all their sales will be 8s and older models. You won't be able to infer anything about the success of the X based on total sales figures, since they'll be selling at least three 8s for every X at those volumes.

        They should be able to ramp sensor production over the next year (they'll have to if they want to make mass market phones using that technology next year) but I suspect that rather than ramping X production throughout the year they'll build inventory to insure next year's launch won't be constrained by sensor production. Their new model is always constrained by something since everyone wants to get the one right when it comes out, but every year they get caught up a little bit earlier so at least shortages don't drag into the new year like they used to.

  11. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Nice hardware on an ancient platform

    I've been an Apple fanboy since the iPhone2, then 3, 5, and 7. My previous phone was (cough) Windows based.

    Let me tell you, the 3D touch on the iPhone7 was more than a marketing catchphrase. It was a marvelous piece of hardware. But, I took a photograph with the phone's camera and was shocked at the horrible distortion. It's known as the "watercolor painting effect" - apparently a sharpening filter gone amok.

    Then, I purchased headphone dongles to compensate for the lack of a 3.5mm jack. The bluetooth headsets had low volume. There is no way to expand the memory. The whole environment is ancient and full of quirks and bugs. Less than 1/2 way into paying off the phone I sold it and purchased the Galaxy.

    What locks people in, by design, are the DRM laced iTunes, Apple app store only apps, and lightning connector accessories. Rather than innovating and improving they resort to licensing and patenting to make it annoying to switch. The factory radio in my car refused to work with Apple for hands-free anything. then, they removed the fingerprint reader which they introduced just a short while ago.

    Samsung and Google and Android have their own issues - but, I find it refreshing to deal with them compared to iPhone7 and beyond.

    I still have my iPhone5 as a media player. It has a headphone jack.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Why bother?

    In case anyone's interested, my problems with the iPhone X are:

    1. Too expensive - o2 (the only provider that I can get a signal on where I live) will want at least £80 p/m for the joy of owning a low capacity model that wouldn't fit my music and photos. I don't want to pay this much for a phone.

    2. Removal of Touch ID. No matter how accurate and brilliant Face ID is (and we don't know yet), we do know that Touch ID is very elegant and acceptably unhackable. I use my iPhone to go through gates on the Tube - and Face ID will make this process much slower with far more opportunities to drop the phone and severely piss off the people behind in the queue. Londoners aren't know for being patient and tolerant. London works when everyone running at the same speed.

    3. Doesn't really add anything to my life that the iPhone 6 hasn't already covered. I got the iPhone 6 Plus back in 2014 because of the large screen - and it's still working fine on iOS 11.0.2. I don't see a compelling reason to upgrade to either the iPhone 8 or the iPhone X.

    4. Still smarting about the lack of a headphone socket. I accept I'm in the minority here.

    I know it bothers some, but personally I don't mind the whole Apple 'walled garden' thing. I can afford Apple prices, and so far the Apple ecosystem has made the phone-related bits of my life a bit easier. Perhaps Android is just as good, but I don't want to make the effort to find out.

    But at the prices Apple will charge, the iPhone X just isn't compelling.

  13. ukgnome Silver badge

    I really enjoy my apple products - my iPhone is my link to the world when I am away from home. The 8 is as advertised. A fast, battery sparing and sleek designed phone. It's familiar enough to be like all the other iPhones I have owned. It takes beautiful looking pictures and is rather jolly nice.

    Now I could of hung on until the X but here is why I didn't. The sacrifice of the home button for facetech or whatever they are calling it is a step too far. It is untested. Maybe once it has done a couple of years and is proven I will feel different, but right now it is just too much.

  14. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

    Hardware design direction?

    So I think I see where Apple is going with the hardware design. With wireless charging, wireless ear buds, and the changes to iTunes that move app management to the phone (which is really already in place for music and movies - note that DVD/CD drives are being removed from more and more laptop models), you don't need any ports on the phone itself. Speakers and microphones are it, and those can be through membranes or even through the face of the phone. No ports means you can go thinner, or add additional battery capacity, and manufacturing becomes easier as well.

  15. wayward4now
    Linux

    Apple die die

    Just die and go away. Please. Kill yourself.

  16. Slx

    I find iPhones pretty decent (albeit pricy and locked down) hardware so I'm not going to slag them off, but I think it's amazing how much people get sucked into the PR hype around them.

    It's just an iteration of an iPhone. They've tweaked a few things and speeded a few things up and put in facial recognition.

    Apple do nice, steady, step-by-step upgrades they don't tend to change everything and confuse everyone as they know they're selling a consumer product to consumers primarily and not to the tech geeks (including myself) who inhabit these boards.

    But, seriously - it's an iPhone! You'll find it works like an iPhone, it does iPhoney things and it will probably be fairly bullet proof.

  17. Ian Joyner

    Logic up in a puff of smoke.

    Let's see sales won't be as many as expected, which means the expected sales will be less than that, so the new expectation was less than the original expectation, which wasn't an expectation at all, because we weren't expecting the sales to be that high.

    But maybe sales will be even lower than that expectation, meaning that wasn't an expectation either. Pretty soon, we get down to the expectation that Apple won't sell any iPhone Xs, or maybe people will be giving them back to Apple even before they have been manufactured.

    So for analysts or journalists to make a claim that sales won't live up to expectations mean they just disappeared in their own logic.

  18. D@v3

    next year?

    My question is. If this year is iPhone 8 and X (10). Then will next year be the 9 which is 'better' than the 8, but not as good as the X (better screen, no sensors? Sensors and same screen?), but then, the year after, when we are due an iPhone10 and 10+, well, we already have the iPhoneX (10) so what then?

  19. Yugguy

    It's a funny old world

    If you gave someone a grand in money, 100 tenners, they'd guard it with their life.

    Yet people treat phones worth the same in an amazingly cavalier fashion.

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