back to article Peak smartphone? iPhone X flunks 'supercycle' hopes

Anyone hoping that the 10th anniversary iPhone hype – including the revolutionary 3D poo emoji – would reinvigorate consumer interest in the product line may be disappointed. First-month iPhone sales are slower than last year, one analyst surmises, and for good measure the major Chinese Android vendors have cut stock orders by …

  1. Triumphantape

    Jumped the shark

    Don't forget the OS security flaws.

    1. Solarflare
      Trollface

      Re: Jumped the shark

      Actually, Apple's hideously expensive phones run their own OS which is pretty secure, don't worry, it doesn't run Android :)

  2. fishman

    Phones like the Iphone X and the Galaxy S8 look like they are too fragile. Really nice to hold, though.

    1. andyp-random-number

      Really nice to hold? If it's anything like the A3 I can't hold it....keeps slipping out my hand. I've had to put a bumpy rubber case on it. The new shiny phones which look great are very much like the new 5 and 10 pounds notes...slippery, designed to find the floor, every time it comes out the pocket.

      1. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Really nice to hold? @a-r-p

        Well, y'know, if you fold those new slippery fivers and tenners properly they don't fly away nearly so easily - it's a little effort, but a rub with the flattened end of a new £1 coin does the trick (why do you think they designed the new coin - for your benefit, natch).

        Can you fold an Ithingie? What's the best method? Do you have to find the x spot? Will a rub with a new £1 coin do it? Back pocket of some tight jeans? Lump hammer and vice?

        Enquiring minds etc ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No seasonal cheer here for Apple then?

    Well, they are a target ripe for slagging off.

    And next year they'll call in the recievers. {in my dreams}

    I do have to tip my hat to the speed they have been patching their cockups in recent months. At least a far highter percentage of their user base get them which isn't the case (yet) for Android (sadly as my 18month old device has only had two carrier updates since I got it).

    This may well mean me going over to the dark side for my next phone.

    1. goldcd

      Choose your phone with more care..

      Legitimate complaint - and one that drove me to rooting, cyanogen and all the rest of stuff before (whilst Apple phones smugly just worked).

      Bought a Pixel simply as I was sick of waiting for my phone to be patched. Google finally seem to be making some progress with getting some manufacturers to flow through their monthly patch bundles (and it includes peeps like Oppo, so not just the expensive ones). Have no immediate need to buy a new phone, but can guarantee it will be from a manufacturer on the list.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Choose your phone with more care..

        "Bought a Pixel simply as I was sick of waiting for my phone to be patched. "

        I'm in this boat, with the end of the Nexus line, I'm stuck looking for two key selling points: cheap (less than £300) and up-to-date. At the moment, the only candidates I have are the Motorola Moto G/E phones.

        I can't justify Pixel prices, not when I've been in the happy Nexus land for almost a decade.

        1. Tom Chiverton 1

          Re: Choose your phone with more care..

          https://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?&idPhone1=8907&idPhone3=8756&idPhone2=8522#*,*,m700a

          Nokia 7, or LG Q6 ?

        2. robin thakur 1

          Re: Choose your phone with more care..

          With all the issues Google’s very expensive Pixel is having, I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. Say what you will about Apple but the X is a lovely, powerful and expensive bit of kit which laps it’s nearest Android equivalents in CPU/GPU horsepower. You can get that in the iPhone 8/8 plus, but the miniaturisation vs screen size, the sensor array and the trialling of the 7 layer silicon is what you’re paying for.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Choose your phone with more care..

          Just bought a 32GB Motorola E4plus, unlocked, for $300 CAD (about 176 pounds), after tax and shipping, online. Runs Android 7.1.1.

          So far it seems eminently satisfactory. Love the 5,000 mAh battery...

          Added a 128GB microSD card for another $70.

  4. I&I

    The "Horned One"

    (if you look atr it right)

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: The "Horned One"

      They'd better be careful or GW will look at your headline through a haze of legalise and sue them for copyright infringement (is that some festive warpstone falling from the sky?).

    2. Lysenko

      Re: The "Horned One"

      When you mentioned horns the first thing that came to mind was the Irish Elk.

      One theory regarding the extinction of this creature is that it invested so many resources into showing off with ludicrously expensive status symbols with no added utility that it undermined its ability to compete and survive. Close relatives with more sensibly sized (and priced) status symbols are with us to this day. Darwin is always watching; Fanbois.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: The "Horned One"

        Forgive me for not taking a half baked lesson on evolution and selection from anyone named Lysenko. History shows us that doing so is a very bad idea.

  5. MonkeyNuts.Com
    Thumb Up

    Expensive XXX

    I bought a 7 Plus 256GB (1 year old) were £919 new... for £450 (51% reduction). That will see me through until notchgate and grandgate subsides.

    1. goldcd

      I'm a happy owner of a Pixel 1 XL

      (as my employer was picking up the tab).

      My wife needed a new phone - got another one 2nd hand for a bargain £300.

      Would I like the latest and shinest - of course I would, but prices have been heading out of impulse territory for a long time. I also think the prevalence of SIM-only deals is underlining precisely how much of that monthly cost is for the phone.

      Finally, the phones themselves. They're all actually pretty good. Got all the features you need and tend not to break down. They get broken of course - but I think this counts against them. If you accept you'll prang your phone, why would you want to carry a device that costs pushing a grand?

      I feel similarly about somebody waving around an Iphone X, as I used to about the tool who bought a Vertu.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Expensive XXX

      Yep, ordinary iPhone 7 for £277 4 months old through O2 refresh. The 8 isn't different enough and the X seems to be a first attempt at that class of phone and seems half-arsed, Apple will probably make the phone properly by version 3.

      1. robin thakur 1

        Re: Expensive XXX

        Make it properly? The sensor array and the horns are the only thing I mildly dislike about it, but honestly, the screen of the 8 plus in a body the size of the 8 makes it worthwhile for me. I can hold and use my phone again properly, finally!

  6. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Hmmmm...

    I'm starting to think that "Analyst" means "someone who hasn't got a clue about what they are talking about"

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Hmmmm...

      There's a rather infamous headline from Fox Opinion to mark their hiring of Nigel Farage in that capacity.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: Hmmmm...

      I'm starting to think that "Analyst" means "someone who hasn't got a clue about what they are talking about"

      The original spelling of anal-ist was perhaps more accurate.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm...

      Most business analysts seem to forget to study their history. No matter how successful a product is there is a finite demand. For smartphones, most people will have only one personal phone. At some point the demand is basically replacement phones not new customers. I would expect all phone sales to slow down as the market matures.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Well I am very happy with my iphone SE, and might in the future go for an updated version (mainly for the camera and oodles more memory :-(0 If I needed to the 8 would not have worried me with its lack of a headphone socket (I always use a bluetooth headset anyway), but the lack of the fingerprint sensor and the somewhat dodgy face recognition, let alone the flipping cost would never persuade me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The iPhone SE is more than adequate for me. At £275 brand new, with 32GB of storage, it's more than enough as an intermediary device between PC and iPad with their relatively massive screens, more memory, flexibility and real power!

      In fact, I'm thinking of buying another one as a replacement for the inevitable day that this one is dropped, nicked, or otherwise bombs out.

      The whole "direction of travel" of phones is for f'k'ng massively big and ultimately redundant devices. the SE bucks that trend, but I'm sure Jonny Dickhead Ives will soon get rid of it. Bring back St Steve!

  8. John70

    Drop the price...

    ...and get more sales.

    1. teknopaul Bronze badge

      Re: Drop the price...

      Google veblen goods.

      For Apple if they have a sub par product it makes sense to hike the price because they are going to sell less.

  9. ThomH Silver badge

    6s owner, not at all motivated to upgrade

    My assessment of new features runs all the way from things I don't care about at all (i.e. anything to do with the front camera) to things I care insufficiently enough about to justify spending money (e.g. the larger, higher-density screen).

    When this one dies it'll probably be another iPhone but none since the iPhone 4 has felt like a big step forward.

    1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

      Re: 6s owner, not at all motivated to upgrade

      My 6s+ is handling everything I need quite nicely still, so no compelling reason to upgrade here, either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: 6s owner, not at all motivated to upgrade

        Likewise but even older: 6 Plus.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised...

    Surprised how cheap Gen 1 iPad Mini 64GB + Cellular sell for on fleebay, now. For regular travellers, it's one great device, if you don't own one. People get obsessed with having the latest and greatest.

    For travel, I find the iPad mini, the only device I need most of the time. Not something you want to spend hours on, but for airline tickets, booking hotels, Sat-Nav, reading PDFs, iMessages, epub books, it's fantastic battery life and cost (in case you lose it) it pretty much hits the perfect spot for travelling.

    Camera takes great video, and pretty good photos. I've compared photos side by side with the iPad 4 Mini (taking the same shot) and there really isn't much in it. The iPad 4 Mini, images look more processed if anything.

    Yep, I could upgrade to the iPad Mini 4, but then you just have a device that you worry about losing. The lower screen resolution is fine at 7.9'' and means better battery life.

  11. Simon 49

    Another 7+ owner here, I always make it two years between replacements and when I'm lucky three (don't drop it too much). Brought the wife a 7+ 256GB refurb for a good price a couple of weeks ago, would expect that to now last her two years too.

    The changes are either incremental or unwanted (FaceID) this go round and while I see a surprising number of X's on planes and in peoples hands (work in Silicon Valley) unless there's a massive leap in the rear facing camera I can wait.

    I was an Android person years ago, but twice burnt purchasing top of the line devices which the manufacturers decided to stop updating 18 months post my purchase. Say what you like about Apple but at least if I can make a phone last three years I know it will still run the latest software with patches.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm keeping my series 5

    Launch a new 4" phone and I'll buy it. The 8S is not significantly faster than the SE to put up with the unnecessarily huge screen that doesn't just slide in your front pocket.

  13. andyp-random-number

    Peak smartphone

    I thought "Peak Smartphone" story was going to be about how the iPhone x was the ultimate in smartphones ...

    Not really interested in sales figures but as peak smartphone meaning the ultimate in smartphones I haven't found a smart phone that has topped the Nokia N8 in the last 7 years yet. That phone just worked with a brilliant camera. I buy a phone based largely on GPS and camera and general usability and the N8 got it right and no phone I've used since has lived up to it for me.

    Bring back true Nokia, their hardware was a class act. I for one miss Nokia, it was a real alternative to Google and Apple.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Peak smartphone

      > I thought "Peak Smartphone" story was going to be about how the iPhone x was the ultimate in smartphones ...

      The term 'Peak Smartphone' (or Peak Apple, or Peak [X]) is a reference to the concept of Peak Oil, which is about supply and price - not the quality of the oil.

      Regards.

  14. Craig 2
  15. DougS Silver badge

    I always said this wasn't going to be the "supercycle" year

    If there is a "supercycle" at all, it will be next year. Then they will have phones in both regular AND plus size available in the new design, and won't have the production constraints causing a late launch that mostly missed the Christmas season.

    Even if Apple sells only the same number of phones they sold last year they'll still do better revenue wise, since the ASP will be up quite a bit thanks to the X having a higher price.

    Curious though why the article mentioned the Chinese Android sellers cutting stock orders by 10%. Even if Apple did have a "supercycle" was that supposed to make Android phones sell better somehow? I shouldn't think it would have much effect on the Android market either way - particularly the Chinese OEMs who are selling phones at much lower price points than Apple.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I always said this wasn't going to be the "supercycle" year

      I think the comparisons were there to highlight a general slowing of the market, particularly in China. Apple doesn't really need to worry as it has enough customers who like to have the latest and greatest and can also afford it. It's also reasonably well positioned to handle any significant cooling in demand at the high-end by selling aspirational devices which also come with handily fat margins. Finally, if demand for the Apple Galaxy X should bomb, Apple will just withdraw it rather than reduce prices.

      However, a market that is no longer growing suggests that the money is moving elsewhere, particularly streaming services.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I always said this wasn't going to be the "supercycle" year

        Well obviously smartphones couldn't continue growing in sales forever - the only driver for continued growth is if they can make them a little bit cheaper to dislodge another chunk of the feature phone market but it isn't clear that would even show up in the Digitimes numbers about OEM sales - those $35 smartphones are white label carrier branded.

        The reason the iPhone X was priced high was the sensors. They not make enough of them (higher price helps balance demand) because the manufacturing yield for them was terrible, which means each working one cost a lot more.

        Assuming those issues are worked out by next fall, next year they will be able to introduce the X like models at lower price points. Rumors have a 6.2" LCD, 5.8" OLED and 6.5" OLED. The LCD one would be the base, probably starting at the traditional $649 price. The smaller OLED and larger OLED would each be one band up, so either $749/$849 or $799/$949 depending on whether they choose $100 or $150 steps. I think the X goes away, and the 8 & 8 plus are the only "last year's phone" holdovers so it will be withdrawn as you suggest but that will happen regardless of how well it does.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I always said this wasn't going to be the "supercycle" year

      Next year 8 (Oreo) should be ubiquitous, which might tempt a lot of people to upgrade...

  16. Dan 55 Silver badge

    This is not the supercycle you're looking for

    This strongly suggests that the latest generation of devices is not generating the kind of super cycle that the market is looking for

    Or, dare to think it, perhaps the market is just not looking for a supercycle (whatever that is)?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: This is not the supercycle you're looking for

      The "market" in this case is the stock market, which is expecting better if not record results from Apple this quarter. Dunno why so many analysts thought this year would be the supercycle when the X was introduced late and supply constrained and without an option for people who wanted a plus sized model.

  17. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Old skool

    My Lumia 950 is still working well for me!

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Old skool

      Yeah, but you're stuck with a 20MP Camera with OIS and HDR, not to mention only having 232GB of storage available and a 2.5k screen with a laughable 563ppi.

      The fact that it cost you maybe £300 and you get all that free Office and offline maps while not worrying about malware must really hurt.

      And you have to suffer regular updates on top of it all.

      Sucker!

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Huawei mediapad T1-701u user here.

    Nice little phablet, great battery life. Pity about OS upgrades though.

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