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Not a price cut! Apple perks up soggy iPhone demand with rebate boost

Philippe

Analyst reports?

We've been getting the same type of apocalyptic analysis every December for the last 4 years or so.

The reports get more and more bleak until February 1st when Apple announce their income numbers and the share price goes through the roof.

This time around however, the reports started mid November instead, Apple has re-implemented Black Friday deals, and they are cutting prices in Japan and now supporting US sales.

Looks like for the first time ever, analysts could be onto something. The slowdown in the smartphone market is now catching up to Apple.

My only bit of non scientific input is that I manage IT buying for my company, and strangely, my supplier has run out of iPhone 8 last week. Looks like demand is indeed strong on the 8 versus the XR.

Finally if you want to trade-in a phone, there are tons of online vendors which will give you a lot more cash than Apple for these devices.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Analyst reports?

More expensive, faster, and fewer daily use features isn't maintainable. The only thing analysts are getting wrong is how long Apple's customers are willing to put up with that. Even if people somehow find a use for the iPad Pro, there will eventually be a product iteration where things need to improve.

DougS Silver badge

Apple's problem

Is that the OLED display adds a ton of cost, and while it is nice I'm pretty sure if I was buying today I'd go for the XR over the XS or Max because it isn't $250-$350 nice!

Apple probably doesn't mind the stock drop though - they still have $150 billion in stock buybacks planned over the next few years so having the stock fall by 25% means the buybacks are a better deal. I think if Apple's numbers aren't as bad analysts seem to think they will be, it will turn out Apple spent a lot more on buybacks this quarter than they have the last couple when the stock price was riding high. Gotta take advantage of those downturns and get more bang for your buck!

Plus it isn't just Apple, all the FAANG stocks have taken a big drop lately. They all went up too much too fast, and were overdue for a correction.

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Apple's problem

Is that the OLED display adds a ton of cost

I suspect the BOM won't really back that up and phones with similar screens from Shenzen are cheaper.

Apple probably doesn't mind the stock drop though - they still have $150 billion in stock buybacks planned over the next few years so having the stock fall by 25% means the buybacks are a better deal.

For whom? Share buybacks are generally considered to be the least efficient uses of cash. Sure, if the stock price falls then a company can buy more of its shares back. But, if the idea is to reward shareholders, their "reward" is worth less so the benefits are moot.

People pay too much attention to share prices both as auguries and assets which is why it's also important that companies pay dividends.

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: Apple's problem

People pay too much attention to share prices both as auguries and assets which is why it's also important that companies pay dividends.

Mr Clark, you are (as so often) right. And you're a voice in the wilderness. I feel like that in my day job. but hey-ho, who ever got PAID to tell the truth?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple's problem

I suspect the BOM won't really back that up

You would be wrong. Teardowns put the cost of the OLED display at $120, versus less than half that for the XR. Are OLED displays from Shenzen cheaper? Probably, but nowhere near the quality. They don't want to buy from Samsung if they can help it (they buy some from LG but LG doesn't have much capacity for smartphone sized OLEDs yet) Samsung and LG have the only OLEDs that are as color accurate as LCDs.

djstardust Silver badge

Who needs analysts?

Even the general public can see that Apple are ripping the arse out of all it's tech in a very extreme fashion.

Macbook Pro's twice the price of a comparable windows laptop (See Huawei Matebook X pro)

iPhone XR twice the price of a similarly specced Android

Apple pencil was £89 now £119

ipad Pro smart keyboard cover £159

and my favourite .......

Lightning to VGA Adapter £49.00

Once people get sick of paying well over the odds for average technology then paying even more for Apple care then they will be finished. That day isn't too far away.

MrNed
Unhappy

Re: Who needs analysts?

And the list goes on - look at the price of the misnamed iMac Pro (misnamed because a computer that can't be simply or significantly upgraded is not "pro", no matter how much grunt it has). By the time you've specced a decent amount of RAM and added a practically-sized SSD you're spending more than £5K!!!

Then there's the new Mac Minis - a nice, albeit overdue, update to the line, but with a nasty hike in prices.

And what about the Mac Pro refresh they've been promising for a while now? They'll catch my attention with it for sure, but even if they return to a genuinely pro computer (see above) I'm anticipating a price tag that's beyond ridiculous.

I'm speaking as someone who has for many years been prepared to pay the Apple tax, but I look at the crazy prices they're charging now and wonder where I can turn when my current workhorses give up the ghost. Priced out by Apple, can't bare the thought of bending over for Windows, can't get the software I need nor the required hardware support on Linux.

Arse.

A.P. Veening

Re: Who needs analysts?

"Once people get sick of paying well over the odds"

I left the church of St. Jobs already nearly 30 years ago.

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: Who needs analysts?

Once people get sick of paying well over the odds for average technology then paying even more for Apple care then they will be finished. That day isn't too far away.

Never underestimate the power of a well managed brand. You may sneer, but since the start of modern times people have been paying more than they need to to buy products under brand names like Persil, Fairy, Gillette, Coca Cola, L'Oreal, Duracell, Audi, Moet, Walkers, and almost any single malt you care to name. Why? Because they believe that they are getting something better than a commodity item or "lesser" brands.

I'll wager that somewhere in your life you buy branded products that others would sneer at. In phone terms I see a handset as a commodity, and I usually buy AOSP phones of a large Chinese maker. As a regular tipple I'll buy a decent whisky blend. But on special occasions I'll splash out on recognised single malt.

At times, the experience of fondling premium packaging alone is worth it, or when you want to show friends that you choose to offer them a premium product. But at the end of the day, most rational buyers are better off with a well made blend, and blind tasting shows that is what most people prefer.

I can see Apple topping out certainly. Just don't expect so see Apple "finished" anytime in the next few decades.

MrMerrymaker

Re: Who needs analysts?

"Why? Because they believe that they are getting something better than a commodity item or "lesser" brands."

No, I disagree here: people like brands because of consistency. The same experience each time.

Which is why Apple are on a slippery slope: they're changing the consistency. Less decent hardware for more money.

It's like if New Coke cost more. Now, that's an extreme example.... But you don't see McDonald's messing with Big Macs and whacking the price up.

Lord Elpuss Silver badge

Re: Who needs analysts?

”It's like if New Coke cost more. Now, that's an extreme example.... But you don't see McDonald's messing with Big Macs and whacking the price up.“

Bad analogy. McDonald’s prices across the board have risen astronomically last couple of years. I’m addition to supply chain alterations (eg fresh beef), they’re trying to transition to a regular restaurant model. Service to your table, gourmet burgers and so on.

https://money.cnn.com/2018/04/30/investing/mcdonalds-earnings/index.html

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: Who needs analysts?

Once people get sick of paying well over the odds for average technology then paying even more for Apple care then they will be finished. That day isn't too far away.

People overpay for the "average" technology all the time: just look at the car industry. The I-Phone has always charged a premium in comparison with other similar specced phones; memory has traditionally had the highest margin. And customers have been happy with the overall value proposition. Apple's biggest worry isn't really the prices they charge, it's customers thinking the phone they already have is good enough and that they'd rather spend their money on something else. The most recent highend I-Phones are stuffed with stuff no one apart from Apple bloggers really cares about. And then there's the fucking notch.

Not that this implies impending doom for Apple, they'll adjust the portfolio, like they did with the "c" models that didn't sell well, and present a new model, presumably without a notch and perhaps ever so slightly less expensive and it will sell like hot cakes. And it will continue its push into services.

FlossyThePig

Re: Who needs analysts?

Apple pencil was £89 now £119

Apple Pencil (2nd generation) for iPad Pro 12.9‑inch (3rd generation) and iPad Pro 11‑inch - £119

Apple Pencil for iPad Pro 12.9‑inch (1st and 2nd generations), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 9.7‑inch and iPad (6th generation) - still £89

Logitech Crayon for iPad (6th Gen.) - £59.95 (from Apple)

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Who needs analysts?

@ djstardust You forgot two from relatively recently.

The wired USB keyboard (with numeric keypad) used to be about £39 (? I think that was the UK price). The mini Bluetooth keyboard was a bit more. The old style trackpad was £59 (again I think). All took normal AA batteries although you could opt for the fruity flavour rechargeables+charger if you wanted to.

Now you're looking at £129 for the new keyboard (£99 for the trackpad?) that are bluetooth only and have a fixed built in battery (yet charge via a USB to lightning cable). But it comes in Space grey and rose gold! Wow, hardly justifies a 2x/3x price increase.

Mayday Silver badge
Gimp

Yep

My PoS iPhone 6 (which I got secondhand) still does what I need it to do. Just because I have ~$1500 AU in the bank does not mean I need to give it up for a new phone that does not really offer that much more.

Don't get me wrong, I "like Appple stuff" (yes, you may not and that's ok) but if it cost half as much I'd get one, and probably a new one next year or two too. Others in the office feel the same way and I'm sure we aren't alone.

jaypatelani

Hope they learn from another fallen fruit BlackBerry.. Otherwise competition and innovations by other companies eg huawei will kill apple

Lord Elpuss Silver badge

Uh huh.

Doomsayers have been forecasting the imminent demise of Apple since the 90s; if not earlier. Only thing it’s proven is that they don’t ‘get’ the company.

RegGuy1
FAIL

iPhone SE

I have one of those -- and what I pile of shite it is. The phone bit is good, the other stuff is shite. I had an Android phone previous to that. That let me put in an SD card. I had gigs of mp3 and one or two videos and lots of pictures. There is no SD slot in the iPhone.

I thought I'd use the bluetooth to start moving these files across. But the bluetooth is either broken or deliberately disabled. I can't get anything on or off the phone. Apparently I can use some Apple software to do that. Fuck off. I want my data to be movable at home, and not have to go through some Apple gateway to control what I can put on or take off.

I took a picture and tried to email it to me. That failed.

Jesus -- I've never come across anything as useless (apart from the phone feature). It is utter crap. The phone is for work, so I'll be buying an Android phone (as long as I can root it) then I can have control over what I use MY device for.

BigSLitleP

Re: iPhone SE

I have an SE and can do all the things you don't seem to be able to, minus the SD card. Its a bad workman etc etc.

I paid £0 for my SE and would gladly pay a similar price for a newer Apple device.

Locky

@RegGuy1

... The phone is for work and so they have locked it down for work usage only, so I'll be buying an Android phone

FTFY

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Re: iPhone SE

But the bluetooth is either broken or deliberately disabled.

The latter, part of Apple's strategy is to take existing, open protocols add something proprietary to it and licence it. So, instead of DNLA (media streaming over the network) you get "AirPlay" and Bluetooth is only useful for connecting to Apple headphones. People don't mind paying a premium as long as stuff "just works" and that is something that Apple generally does get right.

Philippe

Re: iPhone SE

If you couldn't work out how to send a picture to yourself or use iCloud, then the phone isn't the issue.

DRue2514

Re: iPhone SE

I have an SE also and sorry to say I like it. Not everyone wants to watch videos and spend their lives glued to their device thank you, but they might want a small phone with a good camera.

One thing to note. If you are using the N version of Windows 10 you will need to install the Media Pack to access files from the phone. Took me a while to suss this out.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone SE

I moved from Android where I had been happily using Google Play Music and books to Apple. I used Chromecasts to provide multi room music and stream video. The google apps work fine on the iphone so no need for airplay or apple tv.

The chromecast choice also dictated my choice of wireless speakers, I had no wish to replace 3 very good hi fi systems but wanted additional wireless speaker coverage. I was looking at Sonos but their speakers have no Aux input. I've ended up adding a couple of Bose speakers to the ecosystem. If I'm just cooking in the kitchen I'll use bluetooth to stream from the phone, use a preprogramed internet radio channel if I want serious listening I'll stream via the chromecasts to one or more rooms. one of the nice features of the latest google home app is that you can configure the signal delay for individual Chromecasts I needed to do this with the Bose to get perfect synchronisation but it was literally 2 minutes work

ne

disco_stu

Re: iPhone SE

I have no problems connecting my SE to a soundbar, speaker or headphones ( all non apple devices ) via bluetooth.

Is It Me

Re: iPhone SE

On the Sonos comment, the two base model speakers (Play 1 and 3) don't have line in, but the Play 5, the Connect and Connect Amp all do.

With the Sonos there is no need to configure the delay all rooms are synchronised automatically.

I am not an evangelist for them, and think most of it is over priced, but it is the simplest to get up and running for a non-technical person and then needs no real work afterwards.

Lord Elpuss Silver badge

Re: iPhone SE

@RegGuy1

The fact that you don’t know how to use your phone doesn’t mean it’s shite.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Way too expensive

WAAAAAAAAAY

trevorde

Peak Apple

TBH, I think we reached it a few years ago

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: Peak Apple

Peak Apple...TBH, I think we reached it a few years ago

I'll bite. On what measure do you assert we reached Peak Apple years ago?

NerryTutkins

market share

Apple is going exactly the way it did with the PC market in the 80s and 90s. They start with a great product that virtually creates a market to itself. High prices and margins result.

Pretty soon, they have 80-90% of this new market, especially in the US, and are creaming it in.

But their selfishness in wanting to keep everything for themselves - OS, hardware, even peripherals and service/support means that other vendors have to find a way to compete.

An alternative OS that is available to all gets picked up, and dozens of manufacturers pile in making hardware. It may not start out anywhere near as good, but the sheer volume ensures it catches up pretty quick. Soon you get equivalent performance and features for a fraction of the price of Apple. Meanwhile, Apple chooses to retain its margins and profits, at the expense of market share.

Already in Europe, Apple is down to maybe 10% of the market for smart phones. Android has the rest. They have more in the US, but even there, the same economics will ultimately prevail. Apple beancounters are too busy looking at the high profit margins they still have to notice that some apps and developers are now not bothering with Apple, because Android is 90% of the market.

Pretty soon Apple is a niche product, most software, and virtually all new innovative software doesn't support Apple devices, and their business rapidly starts to collapse.

If Apple still had Steve Jobs, you might think he'd do it again and find a whole new segment for Apple to dominate and milk for 10-20 years. But Cook? I doubt it.

I know people have been predicting Apple's demise for ages. But looking at their phones now, they're not really leading the way any more. This big screen things are copying Android... Apple spent years resisting it and insisting their small screens were the optimal size. And the big kicker for them is declining market share. It's hard to see a long term future if your whole ecosystem is less than 10% of the market. Just look at what Windows did to Apple.

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: market share

Apple beancounters are too busy looking at the high profit margins they still have to notice that some apps and developers are now not bothering with Apple, because Android is 90% of the market.

Starting with the statement that I have never (willingly) bought or used an Apple device, I'd still make the "citation needed" comment against your claim. Very few end users pay cash for things in the Google Play store, and I'd therefore suspect that developing for IoS has far better returns than developing for Android.

James-K

I like Apple stuff and the integration across the different devices I have, I know it's nothing ground breaking but it is convenient and I like how it works.

I've been a long time buyer of iPhone since the 4, I always found Android a bit clunky and something just didn't click for me, even on recent devices.

That being said, my latest iPhone that I purchased earlier this year will be the very last one that I buy. Apple prices have always been on another planet, but this year they've spiralled off into another galaxy. I will stomach the move to an Android device and will slowly shift my other stuff away from Apple.

Cost wise, I could afford to buy a new iPhone, but I absolutely will not stomach the prices of the new devices and will vote with my wallet. It's off the charts insane and completely unnecessary, their greed seems to have reached entirely new levels this year. I know my decision won't make any difference to them, but their pricing has reached peak insanity levels.

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