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Apple tells suppliers to produce 10% fewer new iPhones (nikkei.com)
241 points by sohkamyung 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 371 comments

Cue all the armchair product strategists coming in to tell us all the mistakes Apple made in it's product line up, or $29 batteries, or some other bullshit.

Look, the reason iPhone sales are slipping is because of China's recent poor economic performance. Apple said EXACTLY that in their last earnings guidance:

> While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China. In fact, most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline, occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac and iPad.

( https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/01/letter-from-tim-cook-... )

Samsung's earnings have also been hit by similar factors: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-07/samsung-m...

A slowdown in China this big is actually huge news so I'm surprised so many people are missing the forest for the trees. It means less foreign investment capital will be coming to the West and might potentially signal another global recession.

> Look, the reason iPhone sales are slipping is because of China's recent poor economic performance. Apple said EXACTLY that in their last earnings guidance:

Sure but that was one of the sections with reasons. They also said

> While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.

I don’t think we should ignore these either.

You've cherry-picked one sentence out of the whole document. And even that sentence mentions US dollar strength.

Right before your quote they use the words VAST MAJORITY to describe China's impact. And it's not just one section, it's stated at the top of the release in the summary, along with supply constraints, as the reason for the revised estimate.

My point is that almost every other comment here was confirmation bias about things hnews readers think are important. They're not important. They're worthy of a throwaway sentence in an earnings estimate at best. It's obnoxious.

Why is his cherry-picking an issue but your cherry-picking acceptable? Reducing complex issues to just a few lines typically doesn't work.


Put another way your spin is the correct one while others interpretation is wrong. Stop trying to make this a simple issue when it isn't.

Meh, IMHO, I loved buying the top tier phone...and that top tier phone jumped from $900-ish to $1200-ish and I'm choosing to not make the jump. The changes are not compelling enough to make me feel like spending that kinda dough.

Incorporating the carrier costs in the analysis, are you getting more than $5 in value a day? Because with an Xs max and a noncapped plan, that's what I'd be spending.

Being really honest: yes, I probably get more than $5 of value a day. That is less than I make in 10 minutes, I use my phone most of the time I'm off of my work desk, I use it to read my books, watch stuff online (even while home), to research basic subjects, etc.

So even with that price I'd consider it more valuable than what I'm spending.

With that said, of course I can have a very similar experience while using a cheaper phone so a better ROI but I think that phones are actually our most bang-for-the-buck gadget nowadays.

it's at the top of the release to distract the investors that don't spend the time to dig through all the details in the rest of the document.

Cue the guy assumingg weak performance in China is solely due to macroeconomic and trade issues, and not, say, due to Apple making an uncompetitive value offer with its products in a major market, where some (not all) competitors do fine or thrive with better price/quality offers.

Isn’t samsung in a similar situation? The article also mentions car purchases are down.

How is Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Huawei doing? Maybe Apple and Samsung simply fell out of vogue?

Alas so far I haven't found any real data, only this chart showing Apple slowing down in Q3 already: https://venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/idc-smart...

Decreasing sales in China may also indicate increasing preference for domestic brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi. Ask most westerners and they have probably never heard of these brands but in China they may actually be more desirable.

These brands are quite well known in Europe, but not in a good way. When my Matebook stopped charging after two months people called me dumb for buying a Huawei product. Just an anecdote.

I likewise have Xiaoimi products and their Mi Home app for smart home products is awful and a far cry from Apple's polish.

I guess it depends on country. In Spain I'd say Xiaomi and Huawei have a very good brand image. Especially Xiaomi. They recently opened a store in my city and there were people queueing all night for the opening day.

On the other hand, Apple has its minority but staunch followers, but it's rather common to diss them or see them as brainwashed fools for spending 1K € on a phone.

This is a neutral opinion, I'm in the middle ground with my 500 € HTC.

> These brands are quite well known in Europe, but not in a good way.

They are very popular and desired in many EU countries. Xiaomi / Ninebot dominate the electric scooter business and the phones and home appliances are very popular and desired. I just bought the xiaomi vacuum robot for instance which blows all others out of the water.

Similarly with the Huawei P20 Pro which is one of the most desired phones right now here.

When it comes to high-value products like laptops, always go with a vendor that has in-person support services in your country. By 'high value', I mean things you'd be utterly screwed without. I could lose my phone, but there's nothing critical on it. My laptop on the other hand....

I once had a Toshiba laptop purchased in Singapore. When the motherboard died and I looked for a replacement, the only option was to ship it back to Singapore, which was of course a no-go.

Since then, I've only purchased Apple or Dell laptops, as both of them have fast turnaround times, since they're actually available in my country. Definitely costs a little more, but you can't beat that peace of mind.

My prediction: Eventually the Chinese companies will be known as premium brands.

When I was a kid, I remember my parent's and grandparent's generation talking about the cheap Japanese crap, and they would only buy American. A few decades alter the Japanese stuff was the good stuff, and the American's couldn't compete.

Interestingly, Japan still has some stellar products, but they are falling behind as Americans have in many types of manufacturing. It's a shame to watch countries lose touch with the importance of strong domestic manufacturing; particularly when they have a history of excellence.

I'm not sure if there is a perception in US for Huawei in general, but I'd bet many people know them from the Boot Loop issue the Nexus 6p had. Unfortunately both me and my wife had that phone and we both had to purchase new phones (13, 18 months).

Completely agree. Also, lenovo phones are also well known in Europe, not in a good way. the dual-sim one I had while living in Kiev was dirt cheap, plastic screen, as fast as the samsungs out at that time but about 2mm thicker. that plastic screen was awesome and saved me many replacements.

the problem with the chinese crap, not just phones but TVs, pads, whatever, is they literally dump a bunch of decent hardware in there, and just stop. no QA, no support, nothing you can find online - so in a few months when any little thing breaks, or there's no way to fix an annoying feature, it goes in the trash.

lots of stories, but here's a couple. got a chinese phone so I never have to put a chinese sim into my real phone. pretty popular in china, good specs. root it and put a non-chinese OS? nothing, and I've searched in chinese.

About 4 years ago got a xiaoimi tablet. quad core, 2GB ram, mini-hdmi output, $70 on amazon. first month perfect. then - wifi started turning off after about 5min, only fixed by a reboot. no support, no documentation, nothing on forums - and it was sold for about 3 months and then they started selling some identical crap with a different model#. seriously, I have no problem paying $1-2k for a phone or pad. What I don't want is useless crap that wastes days of time and gets me pissed off so I can't fall asleep, a year later on a Tuesday.

The thing is, the Chinese culture is used to half-working crap, and they think it's normal. They pump shit out of the sewers, boil it, then use the oil floating on top to dilute cooking oil. At most restaurants. Phone has awkward interface, security holes, and 1 security update after release? who cares - your thoughts are on rent in a dirty apartment and food. If you order your steak medium - it's well done, because yes, they don't toss the beef when it goes bad - they serve it to you, everywhere.

Buildings use a bunch more cement and reinforcement than normal countries. Why? Because the construction workers eyeball all measurements and just don't care - if you don't account for error, it'll collapse.

Not knocking on the Chinese race (my wife is Chinese), but I am knocking their culture. Zero attention to detail, zero cares, zero pride in what you do. It works there, because life is shitty and you don't care about a UI bug when you're broke, there's no law, and an oppressive police force that puts you in jail to harvest your organs for the rich.

I would call the Chinese people very "enterprising". The lack of regulations / lack of enforcement of regulations leads to cutting corners for raw profit. But is this kind of deregulation not the wet dream of many American politicians? </snark>

Chinese companies are getting better and better. A desoldering device (Zhongdi) and a 3D-printer (Anycubic) I bought recently are my anecdotal examples. When looking at older Youtube reviews and at my devices, one can clearly see that problematic details very corrected or improved in later versions of the device.

Isn't this the same cylce Japan went through? At first cheap imitation, then better quality, then innovation? Wasn't "Made in Germany" first established as a British measure to warn consumers about a crappy product?

In conclusion: there are many crappy Chinese products, but not all Chinese products are crappy. The better manufactures strive for more stable costumer relationships.

> They pump shit out of the sewers, boil it, then use the oil floating on top to dilute cooking oil. At most restaurants.

Citation needed. My understanding was that there are some crooks producing the sewer oil, but that it's used as an adulterant in cooking oil and the restaurants aren't knowingly cooking in sewer oil.

here you go.

"The business was carried out under the instructions or consent of the restaurant owners for months, the report said."


> Citation needed

This is not Wikipedia.

I fail to see how your alternative way of phrasing differs in any meaningful way from "citation needed"

It's not Wikipedia, but if you are going to judge a whole culture by one news story you had better proove that the problem is widespread

You can certainly request a source if you disagree with the statement but it is not helpful to shout ‘citation needed’ as if this is an encyclopedia and everything you post needs references. You could say ‘I don’t think that is true, do you have references for that?’

It isn't, no. But that comment came as a reply to the sort of extraordinary statement that demands substantiation. Due to Wikipedia's cultural impact, "citation needed" has become a popular way to request exactly that.

It’s not a request. It’s a dismissive demand.

> Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work. A good critical comment teaches us something.

‘Citation needed’ teaches nothing but it is certainly very easy to type. It might be reasonable if there is a rule that citations are required like on Wikipedia, but here they are not.

The fact that some behaviors are popular doesn’t make them appropriate. Trolling is also quite popular and so are a lot of inappropriate behaviors.

Happy OnePlus 6T user here - my wife is a happy OnePlus user for 5+ years. After many iPhones I would never buy one again on their price level.

Huawei has had its own stand at my alma mater's[0] job fair for years now.

It's a pretty known brand around here, although originally not because of their smartphone business.

[0] Warsaw University of Technology

Xiaomi's A-series phones (A1, A2, "A2 lite" - a misnomer, in some ways it's better than the A2) are quite nice especially for the price, can be unlocked very easily (for installation of a custom ROM) and are sold globally including in the U.S. Their MIUI-using phones (and Huawei's, with their EMUI) are a different matter, though.

Its reached a plateau technologically, there isn't much else they can do to excite consumers to entice them to replace what they already have, and most people have a phone as well.

Chinese people also have a higher rate of fixing things when they break and they have specialist repair shops everywhere that can replace any component of the phone, so its a different market.

You can't just look at a market and say "oh, its going down for no reason whatsoever" there is always a reason. Its just a question whether the lack of growth will cause a crash in the overall market now.

> A slowdown in China this big is actually huge news so I'm surprised so many people are missing the forest for the trees.

I don't think ppl are ignoring it. Appl cannot only be a 'good economy company'. Look at Xiaomi for example in your link, its winning international markets by making good affordable phones. Apple should adapt to the market conditions, like xiaomi did, and give ppl what they want in all economic circumstances. Pointing out that apple is( self-admittedly) a fair weather company is not missing forest for trees.

From your own link

> Samsung loses ground in global phone market as Chinese rivals gain share

> While Samsung still leads the world in smartphone sales, it’s being squeezed by Chinese handset makers like Huawei Technologies Co.

I think I missed it somewhere but where did samsung say that their slowdown is due to 'poor economic performance' of china?

> Look at Xiaomi for example in your link, its winning international markets by making good affordable phones.

True, but that's why Samsung is hurt more than Apple.

> Apples should adapt to the market conditions and give ppl what they want in all economic circumstances.

There's a hole in their phone line-up about the size of an iPhone SE or iPhone 6. I think the new iPhones are great and there's something to be said to have premium and super premium tiers. Their Mac line-up used to be four different products as well divided in more or less the same way (pro / prosumer and desktop / portable) where in this case it should be premium / super premium and phablet / pocketable.

The pocketable premium phone doesn't exist anymore.

> True, but that's why Samsung is hurt more than Apple.

It should hurt apple too right? doesn't 'poor economic performance' mean ppl are buying cheaper phones(xiaomi) vs appl's expensive phones? Chinese didn't just stop buying phones( looking at those graphs) but just stopped buying expensive apple phones.

Apple blaming the economy is like farmer blaming the monsoon instead of admitting that he should've built a reservoir last year.

Samsung's earnings have been hit, but not by similar factors.

Samsung's declining earnings has all to do with the declining memory price. The company had been under pressure to increase production to lower the price of memory products all year last year. Apple's problem is in China, fewer unit sales -- their timing is pure coincidence.

Also note that Samsung's market share in China is almost nil, from #1 just four years ago. The company has really nothing to lose at this point.

I think people are saturated with rehashed versions of yesterday's technology. Remove a headphone jack here, round some screen corners there. Yes there's "economic deceleration" a major factor being a stalling of innovation.

It's telling that Chinese consumers aren't buying cheaper, locally-produced alternatives. That demonstrates that while consumers don't have the money for a new Apple phone they're also happy keeping their old Apple and Samsung hardware rather than buying new cheaper alternative. That could be good news for Apple as it shows effective vendor lock-in, but it might also show that consumers are going to keep phones for longer and that the 18 month sales cycle is getting longer. That would have a big impact on future hardware sales.

Ok, but "armchair strategists" at Apple themselves blamed batteries on their conference call.

You want to know the main reason for the revenue shortfall? Market saturation. China certainly has to do with it as well, but generally Chinese fluctuation have been offset by other markets...but now they aren't, due to saturation.

> It means less foreign investment capital will be coming to the West and might potentially signal another global recession.

It could be the other way. Capital flight from China to safer grounds.

> A slowdown in China this big is actually huge news so I'm surprised so many people are missing the forest for the trees. It means less foreign investment capital will be coming to the West and might potentially signal another global recession.

Ding ding ding.

There are all kinds of variables driving a global recession but the biggest pieces are the Chinese economy plateauing, Brexit and Trump showing just how divided the Western world really is. America's political civil war just driving this point home even more. These factors combined with a changing climate and a general populace that is only short of revolting thanks to the infinite variety of 'bread and circuses' available to us. It's like this is by design or something...

Wasn't the whole point of the iPhone SE to shore up the lower end for exactly these types of situations? Why then did they kill it and simultaneously release the most expensive versions yet? It's easy to say "well China had a rough year" but if your business model doesn't account for market swings like that you're Doing It Rong™

Yes, it's insane how media and commenters have latched onto the $29 battery upgrade as if it is the headline of the press release.

Maybe Apple shouldn't have mentioned it, since they are the ones that blamed the battery upgrades.

> Cue all the armchair product strategists coming in to tell us all the mistakes Apple made in it's product line up, or $29 batteries, or some other bullshit. Look, the reason iPhone sales are slipping is because of China's recent poor economic performance.

Why not both?

Because then it would be illegal for Apple to tell shareholders: "most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline occurred in Greater China"

That quote only says that the revenue declined in China, not why. Economic downturn might be a reason, losing market share in China due to local competition, product strategy or similar might be another reason.

As others have written Apple conveniently ignores the trend that users are upgrading in longer and longer intervals.

But we'll see when China picks up again, if Apple is back on it's level or not there - everything else is speculation.

‘...post Jobs era...’ /s


Very well said, the day Apple fixes itself for Indian market, they will likely open a sales flood gate like none other in their history.

Remember Xiaomi? All they do is launch a product and people take more they can afford to manufacture.

Lastly Apple products are just impossibly expensive for almost all of India.

the day Apple fixes itself for Indian market, they will likely open a sales flood gate


Apple products are just impossibly expensive for almost all of India

Bit of a conflict there. They’re not going to lower prices elsewhere just to expand in India.

> Bit of a conflict there. They’re not going to lower prices elsewhere just to expand in India.

The thing is they can - if they manufacture the phones in India.

When they import the phones from China to India, they have to pay duty on it, which is ultimately passed on to the customer, thus making the iPhone costlier in India. So even if the manufacturing cost ends up the same as in China, the made in India iPhone can be priced cheaper.

The problem with Apple's current approach is that they want a SINGLE MINIMUM PRICE POINT for all their devices, and the CEILING for that minimum price point is fixed based on the US and European market (the developed countries).

Note that for a developing country like India or China, even a $750 (for example) iPhone puts it in the very high-segment "luxury" range.

So Apple can still preserve its perception of highly desirable luxury / fashion / tech company, even with a lower price, in developing countries.

Ofcourse, their fear is that these cheaper phones may then be imported to the developed countries and poach sales there.

That is the dilemma that they face and need to crack.

I wonder why this post was flagged

I posted this comment twice, which I thought should be ok, but somebody probably flagged it as spam? No idea ... could be Apple's social media reputation team ...

Apple is selling its products globally, not just China. Why China's economy decreasing would impact Apple's revenue so dramatically? All blames go to China?

China is a big market for Apple.

Yes. It is illegal to lie to shareholders in the US and I refer you to the quote above.

Umm, no. It is illegal to lie on a financial statement. It is not a lie if your corp statement is a theory of why a foreign market has declined.

Yes, but taobility was wondering whether China had such a large impact on Apple's sales, not why.

this is impossibly naive. Of course it's illegal to lie to shareholders, but guaranteed 100% of publicly traded companies do.

What's the SEC going to do? They are in furloughs right now and have no budget to go after anyone. Looking further ahead, if a company has enough money, they can buy off the SEC by getting laws passed that will let the do whatever they want.

Apple has announced that their products are selling fine outside of China.

Samsung warned on their China demand yesterday.

>Samsung follows Apple warning, says Q4 profit likely sank 29% on weak China demand


We've known that Chinese consumer demand has been plunging for months now.

>DONGGUAN, China — China’s consumers and businesses are losing confidence. Car sales have plunged. The housing market is stumbling. Some factories are letting workers off for the big Lunar New Year holiday two months early.

China’s economy has slowed sharply in recent months, presenting perhaps the biggest challenge to its top leader, Xi Jinping, in his six years of rule.


The situation in China is bad enough that local press coverage of the economic situation has been censored since last September.

>BEIJING — China has long made it clear that reporting on politics, civil society and sensitive historical events is forbidden. Increasingly, it wants to keep negative news about the economy under control, too.

A government directive sent to journalists in China on Friday named six economic topics to be “managed,” according to a copy of the order that was reviewed by The New York Times.

The list of topics includes:

■ Worse-than-expected data that could show the economy is slowing. ■ The impact of the trade war with the United States. ■ Signs of declining consumer confidence


Sometimes a drop in consumer demand in a particular market is more a reflection of the local economic situation than an indictment of a product line that is selling fine elsewhere.

There are quite a few European, South American and African markets where Apple products aren't selling just fine.

- Apple products have never sold well in African markets.

- You don’t know how well iPhones are selling in other markets compared to previous years until Apple releases their numbers for the quarter.

- Even with the new guidance, it’s only about 5-10% lower than the initial guidance. Far from a catastrophe.

Unless it's the beginning of a decline of course.

You can’t predict a trend from one data point or better said by xkcd...


To be fair wouldn't it be two in this case? One for the projection expecting sales to be down, and another for the projection being 10% higher than it should have been.

Which pretty much invalidates the "Apple has announced that their products are selling fine outside of China." statement.

Besides it is quite exactly to see that outside first tier countries, iPhones never sold well, no matter what.

The numbers are easy to come by.

And that’s where the money is. Apple isn’t trying to sell $40 phones with no profit margin.

Until all those customers already have their models and aren't thinking in upgrading any longer, which is exactly what is happening.

And that’s why Apple is focusing on service revenue and ancillary devices like the Watch, AirPods, etc.

What tech company has a better,more profitable business model than Apple? Even long term, the only two other tech companies I would bet on are Microsoft because of Azure and Office (definitely not Windows) and Amazon because of AWS and to a lesser extent the stickiness of Amazon Prime.

News of economic downturn are everywhere, regardless of what happens. First thing you do in such cases is control your luxury spending. Maybe that "old" iPhone is good enough for now?

My Motorola cost less than 1/6 of the price of a new iPhone. What do you get for the extra money that is actually worth having?

Samsung ruined their reputation with their irresponsible reaction in China during the Note 7 scandal. It’s just that Chinese makers are gaining more market share.

Samsung smartphone market share peaked in 2013 and dropped to really nothing, well before the Note 7 scandal. It really has nothing whatsoever to do with the Note 7.


Could be, but how does that relate to Apple? Has Apple’s reputation changed in China as an American company in the last year?

My chats with colleagues suggest that: with the increase price of the new iphones and there're many more cost performance phones made by local companies(Huawei,Xiaomi...)they have no motivation to replace the old ones,even if they have,they will first consider a local brand.

I don't know how much anything Samsung does relates to Apple's reputation, but here is a good blog post on Apple's place in China right now:


I think you hit the nail on the head.

Truly. The economy in the other side is actually a mystery to the Western society. And here we are pretending we understand, and we place bets as if we know.

It's a mystery because any numbers coming out of a China or from Chinese companies are of questionable validity. The most accurate measures we have are proxy numbers from companies not based in China.

That is a valid excuse.

And the abnormal price hikes of the new model of iPhones indicate that Apple was well aware of the possible economic downturn, and thus sought to compensate the anticipated fall in sales by squeezing higher profit margins.

But what is their excuse for not penetrating the next biggest market in the world, one of the world's fastest growing economy, right next to China - India?

To me, Apple's attitude in India, and many other countries, is akin to that of a spolied brat who won't do things unless he has his own way. Some examples -

a) Apple management lamenting that India doesn't have a debt-based culture. (That's a broad view - the comment was more on how the cellular services providers don't sell their phones bundled with "plans" in India, and Indians and to buy their cell phones outright which obviously makes the iPhones to expensive and unaffordable to many).

b) In the last 2 decades are so, India has witnessed a revolution in digital payments and seen various innovations in this area. This has made it very easy to do micro-transactions. And yet Apple in India REFUSES to integrate with the local financial infrastructure of the country, and only accepts credit cards / debit cards from Visa or MasterCard for Apple Pay or iTunes. (Note that this is deliberate because the indian options give more privacy to the user - for example, with a credit card, Apple can know our credit rating and better profile us, but with certain indian payment options they will be deprived of this valuable information).

c) Objecting to certain policies of the government (this is understandable though from a capitalist point of view to maximise profit).

d) Totally ignoring the way how Indians use their phones and their requirements. (For example, Indians have been demanding a dual SIM phone for many years, and it is kind of a de facto standard feature here. And yet, it took about a decade or so for Apple to respond to that).

To summarise, Apple's management seems to lack creativity and the COURAGE to step out of thier comfort zone and try out new business models and / or new processes in other countries.

They don’t have higher margins on the new iPhones, they are selling higher end phones that contain costlier components.

> Let’s start with Apple’s decision that it will no longer be reporting the sales numbers of the iPhone. Given the flat annual sales of the iPhone since the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch, the story about rising numbers no longer belonged to the actual unit sales, it belongs to the increasing margins and increasing average selling price.

> If you’re going to sell success, you need bigger numbers. With the iPhone XS Plus clocking in at $1500 in some configurations the scope for larger margins and higher selling prices is pretty much priced out the market. Hiding the iPhone numbers means that the focus can be placed on the increasing revenue from software and services, rather than hardware revenue.

[How Apple defied expectations, launched a $1,000 iPhone and made it more profitable than ever](https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/11/12/apple-iph...).

iPhone XS margins are around the same or slightly less than prior models. Here are numbers:


If you have better numbers, share them. Your article has none.

This is correct. If Apple made a mistake (still a big if), it's building a phone that was simply too expensive.

The margin numbers that can be found are also for Apple as a company. Given the growth in services which should be high margin, this means the iPhones margins have been shrinking even with the price increases.

Even if the margins don't increase, by selling the same amount of more expensive phones, the profit will.

Looking at the iPhone SE, I wonder if it's relatively low profit and retail cost had a role to play in it's death. If I was Apple having that customer buy a 7 instead seems like a better deal for me.

(On another note - can someone tell me why I am unable to edit my post and correct the typos? When I click edit, I am able to edit the post, but clicking update doesn't seem to reflect the changes made, even if I refresh the web page.)

So the massive share price drop is because of China? Go and buy an XR but don't try to lull us with your shaky 'crisis communication', the case Apple is crystal-clear.

If it's every non-Chinese company doing business in China seeing slowed Chinese growth (or even reduced Chinese demand), then it's pretty clear that China's market is the problem and not Apple.

In this case, it's not just Apple and Samsung. It's a great many other industries, especially luxury goods, that have seen large drops in Chinese consumer demand.


> why hasn't Samsung's share price suffered as much as Apple's?

Samsung’s and Apple’s stocks are apples and oranges. iPhone is a principal value driver for Apple. Small swings in iPhone demand mean big swings in Apple value. Samsung, on the other hand, is a diversified conglomerate. Moreover, Apple is—corporate structure-wise, for an investor—simple. Single Delaware corporation priced in U.S. dollars and traded in New York. Samsung is a chaebol. Lots of interlocking entities and agreements, parts of which are listed in Korea.

Share price and a company doing well is only slightly correlated.

China is a big part of Apple's growth strategy.

OT: Tim Cook/Apple is on the wrong track. The entire line-up of a product company is fundamentally flawed and heading to nowhere:

Today was the first time, I saw the new iPad Pro in action in a shopping mall nearby. It was a lazy Tuesday evening and I was in shopping mood. The first thing I did was running Sun Spider in Safari. Not an up-to-date benchmark but still a good indicator for performance. This thing reached insane 119ms. Without having any noisy fans and a battery that runs for days. Then, there is a buttersmooth 120hz screen, also the first time I saw a hi-fps screen live and it's so nice. All packed in some slick enclosure, thinner and lighter than any Surface Microsoft ever made.

I would have bought this device without thinking (this is what malls are for after all) and I really don't care if it's 1,000, 2,000 or even 3,000 bucks.

But tell me--what should I do with an iPad Pro? The OS is not just crippled but utterly useless for any real use case. You don't have to be a pro.

I could work via SSH on a remote server, nah I can't test properly without the major browser being installed or at least Safari's dev tool. Maybe some mockups with Affinity Designer? It has the most responsive digitizer, so c'mon. Nope, the files are so big and exchange to my desktop goes always through a slow cloud, this feels like going back in time and juggling floppy disks. Maybe some Word? No, I prefer full-fledged Word. Contracts are too important to fiddle them together on a subpar Word, I don't open Word for fun, I make or lose money with contracts. If I used this device the entire day I would also eventually get RSI from moving my hand up and down all the time (there is no Vimium for Safari).

This is what I mean, Tim Cook does not have this obsession with details like Jobs had. Let me not start with Macbooks, non-existing Mac Pros or odd, LG-branded screens. Steve thought all features to the end. Tim doesn't and ships one half-baken product after another.

It’s not attention to detail, it’s vision. There’s no purpose to these devices. Sometimes it seems like there’s too much attention to arbitrary details. For example, the thinness and speed of the iPad, but to what end?

The original iPhone was rather underpowered even at the time for what it tried to do, but it was so crazy focused and the vision of what it would allow you to do so exciting, that you were willing to look past it. It didn’t matter that it didn’t have 3G or the best camera. Now we’re in literally the opposite scenario, devices ridiculously overpowered that we wish we could figure out something to do with. Best chip, best camera, best number to write on the back of the box. Boring.

As an aside, I am increasingly certain that the sad truth of the iPad today is that a majority of sales are probably the cheaper models used as Envoy terminals, POS devices, and conference room check-ins. If I count iPad’s I see day to day, it’s incredibly lopsided to these uses. What a waste.

With Steve, you could draw a straight line from the original Mac to the iPad. You could see one relentless mission to tame unusable hardware into a friendly machine through software. You could imagine Steve wanting something like an iPad even with the original Mac.

What’s the narrative of the hodge-podge of devices we have now? Vague speeches about “health” and “AR”, always troublingly highly reliant on the hope others will make use of these technologies. Apple used to lead by example, the first party software set the bar for what others should do. Nowadays there’s just the hope that Adobe bringing Photoshop to the iPad will breathe new life into it. Meanwhile, Apple has not released a new flagship app for the iPad since its original release with iWork and Garageband. It’s been 8 years! Apple can’t figure out a single new app that can take our breath away? If they’ve run out of ideas of how this thing can be used, it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Why does everyone write this stuff with such absolutism? There’s no purpose to these devices? I have 2 iPad Pros, one I use every day to consume content like twitter, hacker news, and YouTube. The other I use approximately weekly to play and record music (connected to a digital piano).

Are there even reports that iPad pros aren’t selling well? I think they are the best computers ever made.

Yes. Sales plateaued a while ago (and I think even decreased?). Here’s some data: https://www.statista.com/statistics/269915/global-apple-ipad...

Seoarately, I think many people cannot afford a device that starts at $800 just for Twitter, YouTube, and Hacker News.

Especially when their current device runs Twitter,YouTube and Hacker News just fine.

Those are ipad sales, not ipad pro sales. Within the ipad market we don't really know how the ipad pros are doing.

The sales peak you refer to predates the ipad pro.

The current 'pleb' ipad is $329 and does an awesome job being a twitter appliance. I'm only slightly annoyed as it was half the price I paid for my iPad Air 2 2-3 years ago.

That an iPad Pro is too expensive for most people is a perfectly reasonable argument, much stronger than "the iPad Pro has no purpose."

Daniel Lemire had a bet with a colleague about the usefulness of an iPad, leading him to use it as his primary work device for a year and post about it after [0]. He found it much more effective than I’d have expected. While I have no interest in using one, I’ve become less judgemental about it as a platform.

[0] https://lemire.me/blog/2017/10/03/my-ipad-pro-experiment/

Vision. It's the difference between inventing a new future and iterating on the past.

I couldn't agree more. The other, perhaps equally worrying thing is that the App Store is becoming a graveyard of abandoned and unsupported (as in not running on newer versions of iOS) apps drowned out by apps and games designed to fleece (vulnerable) people.

Instead of curating the store and promoting quality apps and games Apple is actively promoting the 'evil' apps. Apple should be working with apps and games publishers on other platforms to port their successful titles to iOS- instead Apple is only interested in taking their 'cut'.

It’s not attention to detail, it’s vision. There’s no purpose to these devices. Sometimes it seems like there’s too much attention to arbitrary details. For example, the thinness and speed of the iPad, but to what end?

There is a purpose to every device that Apple makes and I would dare say that they are doing it more successfully than any other business when you define “success” by profitability:

- the iPhone - no other manufacturer is making significant money on mobile phones except for Samsung and estimates are that even they make around a fifth of what Apple makes. The “vision” of the iPhone hasn’t changed. It’s a pocket computer and a good camera.

- iPad: the high end Android tablet market is dead. The PC 2n1 market is doing okay when it comes to volume but profitable it’s not. The non Pro iPad is a consumption device mostly, but the two largest software companies - Microsoft and Adobe are taking the iPhone very seriously and just because it isn’t great for developing, it’s becoming a lot better for other Pro users.

- the Apple Watch - I don’t need it but it’s better in execution than any other smart watch and it’s allowing people to leave their phone at home and of course health and fitness.

- AppleTV: Unlike the Roku (and I have three Roku TVs), they make money the old fashion way - I give Apple money and they give me a box with much better performance than any other settop box without trying to monetize me with ads and without a remote with buttons that go to the highest bidder - unlike one of Roku remotes that have a hard coded button to RDio.

- Mac: a well built computer that I can open up without it looking like a NASCAR car with stickers and crap wars.

HomePod: I got nothing....

With Steve, you could draw a straight line from the original Mac to the iPad. You could see one relentless mission to tame unusable hardware into a friendly machine through software. You could imagine Steve wanting something like an iPad even with the original Mac.

Well yeah, they were both imagined (and the Mac, more than imagined - most of the parts invented/built) in the early 70s at Xerox PARC, Jobs heard about/saw them there. Sorry, maybe you know that, but it didn't sound like it.

Thats what happens when you put the metric maximizing corporate robots in charge. They keep things running hyper efficiently for no sane reason, other than the fact that it is the only thing they know to do.

After the iPhone 4 or 5 it's been going no where vision wise.

With Steve, you could draw a straight line from the original Mac to the iPad. You could see one relentless mission to tame unusable hardware into a friendly machine through software. You could imagine Steve wanting something like an iPad even with the original Mac.

Jobs just wanted the software engineers to blow up the iPhone interface for the iPad. The fact that the original iPad had any affordances for the larger screen was because of engineers’ push back.

Unfortunately, the only sources I have are interviews from Nitin Ganatra, who was over some of the iPad apps at the time, from the Debug podcast.

Apple has not released a new flagship app for the iPad since its original release with iWork and Garageband.

In its whole 40 year existence, Apple has usually just made barely passable apps and let third parties produce the high end apps.

The exceptions were the original Apple // version of AppleWorks, ClarisWorks and maybe FileMaker.


Corrected spelling.

> Nitin Ginatra

Its Nitin Ganatra

"It’s not attention to detail, it’s vision."

Right, it's all iterative. Where's the next $100Bn product?

The only genuinely new product that Cook has brought to market is the iwatch (although they seem to have been working on self driving cars)

> Now we’re in literally the opposite scenario, devices ridiculously overpowered that we wish we could figure out something to do with.

Wrong. We know exactly what we want to do with these devices.

However, Apple won't allow us to do those things.

A friend of mine bought an iPad Pro before going on vacation so that he wouldn't need to bring his laptop.

He wanted to upload/download his photos from his camera, share them to other people, do some light photo editing, hunt down tourist sites, book train tickets, etc.

He had nothing but problems. My 2015 Macbook Pro? No issues at all.

The iPad Pro went back and now he's back on his laptop.

I think you’re on to the core of the problem. Apple is a software company that build its own hardware because it had to.

But for the past decade, they haven’t really made any interesting software. iOS is great for iPhones, it’s not great for a laptop replacement. I think OS/x would be a much better fit for the iPad Pro, but perhaps something completely new would be even better? I think the surface book shows us just why that is by the way. If I didn’t personally find windows so terrible, I would leave Apple for one of those in a heartbeat.

Apple is a hardware company that prioritized design and built / bought (next step) software because it had to, and ignored web services because it didn’t value it (at least in earlier days)

Then why does apple play such hardball against open source software [1]? If they really are just a hardware company they should be supporting open source.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12894721

Apple dislikes the GPL, not all open source (they work on Webkit, LLVM+Clang, CUPS, Swift, FoundationDB, and a few others).

It's not so different from other companies (e.g. on Android, Google used the Linux kernel, but replaced all other userspace components of the traditional GNU/Linux distro by non-copyleft versions, including developing their own libc).

Maybe it started that way, but I personally buy into the old Jobs view on Apple as a software company.

I do this because I myself primarily buy Apple products for their software. It’s anecdotal of course, but I own a MacBook Pro because I like OS/X more than Linux, and, certainly more than Windows, not because it has a touchbar. Similarly I primarily own an iPhone because I much prefer iOS to Android. I also prefer iCloud services and iMessage to all their similar options. In fact my biggest grief with the iPhone isn’t the missing headphone jack or the ludicrous price tag, it’s that Siri is so much worse than the other voice assistants.

Maybe that’s just me, but I suspect I’m not alone, and that’s why I think their core problem is software rather than hardware.

I do not get this comment. Why would a "pro" user try to use the Pro as a Laptop replacement?

Rather think of a regular consumer, of which there are a lot more. Just doing a bit of browsing on the sofa, writing a few emails, reading news, watching Netflix in bed or playing some game.

Personally, I read a lot of papers and ebooks I get via university on it. It's great for that. Not once did I want to use SSH on it, with or without an external keyboard. I use a proper laptop or computer for stuff like that.

It's very expensive, it has a ton of horsepower, and it's literally named "Pro". If it's purpose it just light browsing and watching netflix then it feels like a bit of a waste.

So? These days a lot of coding is less resource intensive than browsing.

And like another commenter said, not every "Pro" user is a developer. I for one just take the Pro as meaning, better/faster.

And if someone wants to Shell out 800+ for such a device that's fine with me. But just because it costs a lot doesn't mean I can do anything with it. I also don't expect a good SSH experience from a Garmin 5X Plus.

The problem isn't, that the iPad is badly suited as a laptop replacement based on its hardware capabilities. The problem is, that Apple enforces arbitrary software limitations, preventing the laptop usage. What is the justification, that the iPad files app cannot browse an attached USB-stick? Why is the iPad prohibited from running Termux?

> Why would a "pro" user try to use the Pro as a Laptop replacement?

Apple advertises it as such.

The target is more the creatives pro, than the developers. IT folks are not the only one kind of pro out there.

Many artists praise the Apple pencil and we musn’t Forget that creative industry is probably what kept Apple afloat during it’s dark age of the 1990’s so I’d say fair enought!

I have literally no use of an Apple Watch or an iPad. But does it bother me than Apple sell them and make big margin on them? Why on earth?

I’m an artist and I have the new iPad Pro. It’s the best piece of hardware I’ve ever owned, and the drawing experience the best I’ve had (better than a Wacom Cintiq).

But I do have to agree with the sentiment that it’s software is a major problem. I think a lot of creative pros make things using several files, and organise their work by projects. iOS’s app-based organisation philosophy is consistently painful. So annoying, in fact, that I would probably never try to do anything remotely complicated on this iPad, even though it’s the fasted computer I’ve ever owned.

On the hardware front, a 13” screen is no where near big enough for most creative work. I really think Apple needs to be way faster in scaling this thing up to 20+ inches.

The hardware will come, but I worry that the whole philosophy of iOS is simply wrong for complex work, and it would take a lot of vision and courage from Apple to fix that.

Did you ever use the hockey puck as mouse? Yes that's from the Steve area...

Steve made Apple great but it's an illusion to think a company will grow forever.

Steve was also lucky to have Apple in a time where a lot new stuff was developed. He didn't develop it, he applied it the right way. Things like touch screen and tablets were really new back then.

But today there is not a lot that is new. VR is from the eighties, so is AI.

So I think even today Steve would have troubles to keep Apple growing.

Or he would have likely kept applying new technology. New technology is still being invented. There are just less steve jobs to actually apply it. I see it like the current movie industry. Lots of reboots and old franchises as they are "safe bets" for the share holders. No one wants to be the guy to make a huge flop and get fired.

My wife uses it for illustrating. Nothing else comes close. You don't buy a Ferrari to race in rallys.

AstroPad is a great app that allows people to use the iPad Pro like a Wacom Cintiq, especially when paired with their Luna Display. The dumbed-down Adobe drawing products are a joy to use. I will never quite understand why fully-featured apps don't learn a lesson from those --- gesture-based undoing is great when you're drawing! But they're really weak, compared to their desktop variants. With Photoshop on the horizon that might change but I fear that by trying to implement every other feature, they'll just ruin that great workflow the dumber versions of their apps have, unfortunately.

A portable second display is also a great use for it. I tried to use it for coding, but I really hate the material the smart keyboard's made of (I own the first gen one so this might've changed since then), I just can't type on it because touching it freaks me out. I hate that the chose that material to cover the keys with.

So with coding out of the way, recreational drawing, reading ebooks and watching movies is mostly what I use mine for. Unfortunately that's not anything close to the original promise of its capabilities.

I love it and I use it daily but the problem is when I bought it, I expected to see some support for professional use for it, too. The strength of the Apple ecosystem used to be their app support by external developers --- so, let's say for example, when you bought a Samsung (or even Surface) device with a bunch of new features compared to vanilla Android (or a touch/pen-based Windows), you could be sure that nobody will ever enable you to use those efficiently so they were a waste of time even to consider as a reason to get the device, on the other hand, going with Apple meant the opposite.

Frankly, it doesn't feel exactly true nowadays. Tim Cook's leadership gives me terrible flashbacks to the Microsoft Steve Ballmer-era.

>But they're really weak, compared to their desktop variants.

As far as I can see they are meant to compliment not replace. She does the majority of the work in Adobe Draw on the iPad Pro and then sends it to her Adobe Cloud account to finish in Illustrator. Before the iPad Pro she essentially couldn't do digital work. She is a trained fine artist with deep knowledge of oil and lately water painting. Most of her paid originals work was doing murals or selling oil paintings previously. The iPad Pro opened up a whole new market for her.

That's really cool to hear, I had a similar experience as far as the iPad Pro was involved. The Pencil is wonderful and it's a blast to use! I just really don't like switching contexts when I'm working on something, but that's a personal thing.

Imagine a set of tools that rival Illustrator but with an interface that's inspired by Draw.

That would be my dream come true!

I used to have a Surface Pro 2 and ended up selling it because the native version of Photoshop is so unoptimised for a tablet screen that it ended up being even more of a hassle than using a regular computer.

That and consuming media are the only activities the iPad Pro shines. The rest are just meh.

iPad Pros are amazing at video editing and audio production.

And I love it for doing architecture diagrams and also making changes to building plans for my home renovation. The 11inch model is also a great portable diary/productivity machine. I also have teachers in my family who use it for drawing and projecting mathematical formulas on a screen for their kids which they then email straight after the class.

They are selling well for a reason because people use them for different things.

I pretty much doubt that, unless you plug them into a nice 21" screen display and an hardware console to drive production.

Doable yes, amazing not really.

Most of what you mentioned there is drawing and using the pencil, which I concur works great.

I completely disagree about video editing and audio production. Sure it's doable for small family videos, but absolutely not for anything remotely pro.

I'd like to jump on this bandwagon. IMO a decline of a company can come in various forms and here we're seeing an empire built on mobile market growth starting to feel the reality of 1% yearly growth in a mature market.

Apple is slowly declining (a percent per year) their market share (they are no longer number two - oppo/oneplus has that position now), next year they won't be number three (Huawei). What happens when they go below 10%? Will developer still deliver applications for OSX? Is there a possibility for the same scenario as it was in the Mac vs PC?

Reality is that modern Android mobile phones are good enough for most. Unless you're really into the status symbol part of the Apple, they really don't have something special. Plus there is no need to upgrade a phone anymore. I bought my Galaxy S8+ a year after lunch (much cheaper) and would replace it only because of consumerism - to get a new phone. Arguably there is nothing that really warrants an upgrade today.

Headphones, while a great move, won't help them in a long run - not enough margins and good competition. The silver lining with Apple is the that they have a growing services business. Too bad Netflix is kicking their ass in video content wars. Siri is also mostly mediocre. Homekit - who knows, what happens if your market share is falling.

Reality is that Android won 3 years back. We'll see if Apple can turn around thanks to their endless coffers of cash. It's not over yet, but they need to do something and not just upgrade what they have.

To some extent Android has won on mobile the same way Windows won on the desktop.

It's true but kind of irrelevant because this is not what Apple was ever after (otherwise they would have pursued a very different strategy, with 3rd party licensing, etc.).

Does it really matter if Apple's market share is declining as long as they keep capturing >80% of all profits from said market?

As long as they keep their target demography on board (both on the consumer and developper side) they'll do just fine.

>> Does it really matter if Apple's market share is declining as long as they keep capturing >80% of all profits from said market?

Steady decline would mean that might cease to be the case soon.

Not really.

The overall mobile market is growing. And it's growing into emerging markets like India and China which are very price sensitive i.e. less margins for OEMs. So quite likely that Apple will see declining market share but growth in revenue and profits.

The market is declining, at least for mobile phones: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/global-u-s-growth-in-...

Your article counts shipments. That’s the most of market metrics. Better: revenues. Even better: profits. This is what Apple historically focussed on, to the detriment of its competition.

Betterer: device + platform (*e.g. App Store fees, Apple Music, iCloud) revenues. Even betterer: device + platform profits. This is what Cook is now focusing on, in light of the world’s most profitable consumers buying phones less often but still religiously spending on them.

Android loses when it comes to not having enough clout to enforce a standard on the manufacture and carriers.

My last attempt at an android was a Samsung Note3 on Verizon.

Pretty much every app had 3 versions - google/android version - samsung version - verizon version

Locked bootloader so couldnt' really remove the duplicates.

Critical Security update released by a google? Well first has to be approved by Samsung ... that takes a month at least , then approved by Verizon.

Realistically if you saw the security update w/in 3 months that was pretty fast.

So a zero day exploit ... 3 months waiting for patch.

Android really won.

Note 3 was like a century ago in 'smartphone years'. A lot has changed since then (Samsung handled the precise duplicate apps problem you're talking about on the most part). Also, even then Google had its own phones (e.g. Nexus) and the only fair comparison to iOS would be stock Android. Now, the new line of Samsung flagships are really smooth, hugely less clutter than before - however, it remains the case that the only fair comparison to iPhones would be with the Google Pixel line.

Both the Note 3 and the iPhone 5s were introduced in 2013. Guess which one is still getting updates?

Yes, it's given that iPhones have a longer update cycle. My comment was not related to that though.

>Yes, it's given that iPhones have a longer update cycle. My comment was not related to that though.

But that aside from duplicate apps, my 2nd more important point was SECURITY. An iphone user w/ phone from 2013 can still feel confident that his phone is secure , an android user from 2013 is laughably insecure.

If you use your phone for any work related sensitive data , and android phone is a huge gamble.

Actually it does. An iPhone 5s user would not be getting a different user experience than an iPhone 8 user. The Note 3 user would have to buy a new phone to get a better experience.

Well, definitely the iPhone 5s users are not getting the same experience as the iPhone 8 user. There are hardware changes that just can't be done via a software update - so that point is moot. My point, again, was that Samsung's out of box experience has changed a lot since then, and that at present, the experience from Note 3 (from old times) shouldn't be a deciding factor of whether "Android won" or iOS (/Apple).

I purposefully chose the iPhone 8 because it is the latest phone that has Touch ID instead of Face ID. The hardware changes are it’s of course faster and has a better camera but that’s about it. The software experience would be about the same.

I am not sure. If you agree with Steve Jobs, you shouldn't be separating Hardware from Software. Can you do hands free 'Hey Siri' on the iPhone 5S? That's a critical 'Software' functionality for me that's been working since the original Moto X (2013), or Nexus 6 (2014).

Yes if it is plugged in.


The only time thst I need to be able to activate Siri hands free is when I am driving. Even my cheap car has Bluetooth with a button on the steering wheel that activates it. It’s much more reliable than Hey Siri for me.

That's the point, most of the day you're not plugged in. I know it works when plugged in, but the Android phones that I named and later ones in their series) work without being plugged in.

And yes, you use Siri hands free so rarely because it doesn't work (as you acknowledged). That's not the case with Google Assistant which works really great for most people - and I use it extensively (almost all day) - both with my phone and Google Home.

- In most industrialized countries, iOS has between 30% and 60% market share - nothing with that type of market share can be seen as a “status symbol”

- the Galaxy S8 plus was $785 new in 2017 (https://www.cnet.com/news/heres-how-much-the-galaxy-s8-and-s...). The iPhone about the same price as the iPhone 7 Plus when it was introduced, it wasn’t “much cheaper”. If you bought the iPhone 7 Plus a year after launch, it would have also been cheaper. How long will your S8 be supported with updates by Samsung? The 5s from 2013 is still getting updates.

- Netflix’s profit hovers around $300 million (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/netflix-is-growing-even-fa...). Comparing Netflix to Apple is laughable. The Mac makes more Netflix’s entire business.

- Android “won” by what measure? Android phone makers are barely profitable besides Samsung and Samsung makes most of its money from selling parts for other phones. It came out in the Oracle lawsuit that even Google only made $31 billion from Android over the first 8 years total - half of what Apple is projected to make this quarter.

Androids market share is meaningless if it doesn’t lead to profits and is seen to be made up of poor people who don’t spend money.

1) it is seen as a status symbol, almost everywhere outside of western Europe and US/Canada. I have been to about 80 countries. The way it works is everyone who is anyone always uses the latest iphone, thought they cannot afford a toilet seat. And everyone wants to think they're someone.

2) I can put any of the hundreds of versions of Android on the S8, and it'll be supported for over a decade. Hell, I don't even have google's android version on my pixel2. How's that 5s running on the latest updates? Does the answer button draw itself in time to pick up the phone? My Galaxy S (original) still runs fine, with the latest security updates.

2) "Services Business" - he is not comparing the entire apple to the entire netflix. He is talking about apple's failed venture into streaming shows and movies. You are being purposely dense here, not sure why. By your logic Windows Phone is a success because MS makes a lot of money from Azure.

3) Android won by the measure of what wins. Almost all phones are Android. Things that don't lead to profits are meaningless in terms of who won? To us, consumers, who most all use Android, it has won. Who cares what money the producers make? Now I'll leave this to your for a though exercise. Take all the slim profits from all the Android phones, tablets, cash register terminals, cameras, light switches, conference booking pads on the walls, etc. Add all those, for every device running Android. It won by your fake measure too.

1. Japan also has a high share of iOS users.

2. Yes most users are going to put one of a “hundreds” (exaggerate much?) of versions of Android on their phone and not be able to run apps that requires Google Play services.

3. Apple made two shows - Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. No one expected those two shows to be a hit. Apple’s Services Business is still 5 times larger than Netflix.

4. Yes for profit seeking businesses, a success is by definition what makes money. As far as users winning they have a privacy invasive operating system on a phone that doesn’t see updates more than 18 months - if they are lucky.

You have good points. It is hard for people to understand numbers when they get really large. How many phones Apple sells, the amount of money they make, or something like how many searches/day Google handles are just so big that it's hard to comprehend. To your point above, I wish Apple broke out more numbers because the Apple Watch probably made more in profit than Netflix. And that was a product that was buried as a complete failure by tech pundits, geeks, and the press.

2) How come the original Galaxy S "runs fine"? That was a pos! The gps didn't work, the performance was laughable compared to the iphone 4 at the time. How can you say this???

GPS didn't work? Was this one of those crippled AT&T or Verizon version (which I only hazily remembers)?

I had the international Galaxy S for 2 years (2012-2014) and it was really great... Then again, I was into flashing ROMs every week or so, so perhaps the original TouchWiz performance was that bad?

I had the internation Galaxy S as well and never my GPS worked, I say again __NEVER__ even after the Samsung promised fix. Lots and lots of lag when doing anything, the screen was awful with blue tint (it was marketed that amoled was much better than lcd at the time, a f*ing lie), battery was mediocre. Maybe you are talking about Galaxy S 2? I had mine in 2010.

Hmm mine was a hands-me-down from my father, and I actually never used a S2 lol Went from Galaxy S to iPhone 4S to Note 2

I think I fixed the GPS by following an instruction in XDA.... I don't remember, its been 5 years already? God I feel old

> The silver lining with Apple is the that they have a growing services business. Too bad Netflix is kicking their ass in video content wars. Siri is also mostly mediocre.

As a counter-point I’ve completely quit Netflix because 1. The selection is trash and we never find the movie we’re looking for and 2. I can’t get any movies my kids would want to see dubbed to my (and my kids’) native language.

As a result I buy all the films for my kids on iTunes, because 1. It has better selection, and most importantly 2. it has an audio-track my kids will actually understand.

Of all the online video streaming-services/stores, I’ve only found iTunes which is good enough on these 2 points.

We keep netflix because family and friends use it (they can't afford it) but as soon as netflix tells us : family and /or friends can't use it anymore. We will ditch it..

Interesting. We’ve recently found we weren’t doing anything but endless scrolling on Netflix and then going over to actually watch something on Hulu. So we cancelled our subscription.

All of your complaints were true under Jobs as well.

I started writing a reply to the GP in this vein, but the examples I came up with didn't quite fit.

Yes, the iPhone shipped without copy and paste, but that was never meant to be a computer; it was merely "an iPod, a phone, and an internet communication device" rolled into one. The original iPad shipped without multi-tasking (pseudo or otherwise), but it was primarily competing with netbooks, which couldn't competently multitask anyway.

I cannot recall any Apple products in the "modern Jobs era" that were quite as much of a solution in search of a problem as the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is a $1,000+ product aimed at professional artists and content creators who by definition spend their days working on various assets aka files. But the iPad Pro doesn't have a file manager, just a bunch of kludgey workarounds.

I take it you've never actually used an iPad Pro.

I can quite easily take files from cloud storage like Dropbox or S3, copy them to my local device, make changes and push it back to cloud. Or I can edit directly from cloud storage.

And if the iPad was such a hopeless device for content creators you wouldn't see Adobe bringing their full Photoshop product to it would you ?

Possible poor choice of words on my part. There is technically a file manager, but it's gimped. For instance, plugging in USB storage devices flat out doesn't work. If you plug in a camera or SD card, you can only copy photos to the built in Photos app, and nothing else. Lots and lots of reviews mentioned this.

Apple's official solution for software like Photoshop? There's a Siri shortcut that will import a photo into Photoshop and delete it from the Photos library. This is what I consider a kludgy workaround.

It is absolutely possible to make the iPad Pro functional for these workflows. But iOS is going to fight you where it should be trying to help.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, as it is often in Apple’s case, the real market were well-off ordinary people who like premium, shiny products. I know one such person, with top of the line ipad pro, how just uses it for emails and web browsing.

The funny thing is I have seen screenshots of a internal storage file manager in the Files app. Not sure where I saw them, but it seems it had the capability at least once, but the feature was pulled. Not sure if it is still accessible or not.

You can install any third party file storage app like Dropbox, Google Drive etc and they are all accessible from the Files app as well as any program that needs o save and store files. There are file storage apps that store files only on the local file system and expose an ssh server and/or web server that allow you to upload/download files directly from your phone.

I disagree. Jobs gave us iTunes, iPod, iPhone. These were revolutionary devices IMO. Sure MP3 players existed before, but the customer experience made me feel, “wow I need this!”

I haven’t felt that way in a while. There’s nothing really new that apple is doing at the moment. Thinner devices that’s im going to wrap in a case are great. A higher resolution is nice. Deeper blacks and face recognition instead of passwords? Okay cool. Certainly not worth $1000 to me.

Don’t get me started about the MacBook Pro. Some how apple managed to take a very fine machine and in 2016 decided, “You know what? Let’s just take a massive dump on this thing and add a Touch Bar.”

A12X/T2/W1 SOCs, Secure Enclave, FaceID, Apple Watch ECG, HomePod spatial detection, Beats1 Radio, Handoff/Continuity, Apple Pay, Apple Maps 3D.

Plenty of real innovation going on.

All these things are cool but that’s about it. Sure you can call this innovation, but Apple raised the bar high enough where Apple Pay or Apple Maps isn’t something that would make me go out and drop $1000 on a device.

HomePod isn’t a great device, at least the last generation that we bought. I use Samsung Pay and have no need for Apple Pay. I don’t wear a watch because I have a phone that tells me the time among other things.

Again, I’m not crapping on the engineers who worked these things, but these tiny products are nothing compared to the paradigm shifts of iTunes, the iPhone, etc.

Well you are fed with the wow products since iTunes, do you think you'll be impressed by apple watch?

No, but was apple watch less an achievement than iTunes? No.

AirPods? Face ID?

shitty headphones that are "truly" wireless don't mean a thing to me. have you heard the bass on those things? awful. i'm a basshead, we exist. apple wants us to buy something else. siri is crap and doesn't recognize my accent so fuck everything about even trying to use siri through the airpods to control my device. meanwhile my rha ma 750 connects just fine to assistant on my pixel

Face ID? i like the idea of my hands controlling something. Face ID with Touch ID should have been a no brainer. different usecases! Face ID doesn't work when the phone is on my desk and i just want to quickly fire off an action like changing music- i HAVE to show the phone my face - which quickly changes the dynamics of how i feel about my device(goes from boss-employee to the other way around)

sorry but i guess i'm in the small percentage of people that apple designers just flat out ignore coz they can

> i'm a basshead, we exist. apple wants us to buy something else

I have a small intertragic knotch [1]. It’s the part of the ear AirPods (and iPod headphones) latch onto. These products—physically—don’t work for me.

That doesn’t mean I can’t recognise their brilliance. (Nor why my market segment is reasonably ignored.)

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertragic_notch

Expecting the AirPods to be made for "bassheads" is like expecting the Toyota Camry to be a manual transmission two door hot hatch with 400 hp. If you want specialty headphones you need to buy specialty headphones.

Face ID is really good. From the way you describe it, I don't think you've actually used it, because the issues you cite don't really exist.

A shitty phone that had a true touchscreen didn’t mean a lot to many people in 2007, either

That's true but I could imagine that Jobs would have seen these flaws and fixed them after a decade. Just because he uses himself the stuff.

Look, Jobs called Goolge's Vic to tell him that the color of Google's second 'o' in the logo was wrong and hence looked bad on the iPhone. Do you think Cook would ever do this, do you think Cook uses any of his products seriously? When did Cook write the last contract himself? Does he code? This guy just write emails, something a Blackberry could do better than an iPad or iPhone, 15 years ago.

> Look, Jobs called Goolge's Vic to tell him that the CSS color of Google's second 'o' in the logo was wrong and hence looked bad on the iPhone.

I’d argue that Apple’s focus on thinness, lightness, the look and feel at the expense of shipping usable products has been its undoing in recent years. No one would argue the iPad Pro is bad to look at, its problem is that it’s fundamentally unsuited to the use case of its target audience.

> Just because he uses himself the stuff.

…so does Tim Cook?

> Does he code?

Did Steve Jobs? He knew how computers worked, but I don't think he ever sat down and wrote some Objective-C.

He hired the guy who created Objective-C, and understood why Objective-C was better than [alternativeLangs].

The world is full of people who can code. Very few of them think strategically or understand that code is irrelevant unless it has some really, really good reasons to exist and do what it does.

Well, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs.

He is a different human being, with his own set of skills (and flaws) and that's OK.

He certainly does not "just write emails".

Tim Cook was COO. Steve Jobs had the vision, and Tim Cook know how to execute it.

Now Steve Jobs is gone, Tim Cook still knew how to make products into real stuff that can be shipped to customers but there is noone to give him a vision.

He does. In a technical way and re to what he is doing with a computer. He uses emails to delegate and thus does more but this is not what this discussion is about.

Ah, got your point.

I'd even argue that as a CEO, he probably doesn't even interact with a laptop all that much at work as I imagine he relies heavily on a team of personal assistants.

In that context, he might be an avid user of the iPad. As the result, the iPad might be the perfect device for all sorts of high ranking tech executives. Turns out you and I are just not the target market :)

Tim Cook shouldn't have to do those things, that's why they have Craig Federighi, Eddie Cue, Jonathan Ive, Phill Schiller, etc

is this where apple is now? passing the buck?

Unlike the Google CEO who used a Blackberry for at least 5 years after Android was introduced.....

This is quite an assertion. I am not privy to jobs vision for the iPad because I haven’t seen much written specifically and it’s evolution is pure speculation as he’s dead now. But you can’t extrapolate from the iPhone and call it a day. And the iPad and the Watch as well are not practically products that have matured under the jobs umbrella. Critical consensus has been pretty positive about the progression of MacOS under Jobs (it was quite a rocky road but look by 2008).

Jobs was able to lift one or two products per cycle to greatness. Without him it’s a deluge of mediocrity.

Or maybe he’s just cleverly adapting to slower cycles in which customers pay more attention to durability of products pushed by a raising ecological awareness?

You're thinking as a programmer. I've accepted for programming I will always need a proper computer. But, as a very amateur photographer, the iPad Pro is amazing. I prefer using LR on the iPad Pro now. I also haven't had any cloud sync issues, speed or otherwise.

With that said, there are plenty of improvements needed. File handling is certainly one of them. How to get my RAWs into LR for example is a pain.

> Steve thought all features to the end.

This is simply not true. If you were lucky enough to have your use case match Steves exactly, then maybe.

All of the problems OP mentioned are software problems. Software on iOS is kneecapped by the 30% cut that Apple takes.

Reduce this down to as low as possible, and you will see a huge renaissance. 12% (like Epic) seems reasonable. Apps should cost $500 to launch and $100 yearly to maintain on the store, to ensure quality.

Yes because if Apple made the iPad Pro more attractive to developers all of their problems would be solved.

Taking advice from the same audience who said in 2001 “less space than the Nomad, no wireless, lame” hasn’t proven to be a winning strategy....

I'm not sure why you're praising the performance, then slamming it for the os. A big part of the reason the performance is great is because it's not running a real desktop/laptop os. If it ran osx and had the same performance, that would be something

Very well stated. I have an older iPad, which I think is a fantastic device, that I use for general browsing, managing my portfolio, and personal email. There’s no reason for me to upgrade other than maybe as a status symbol.

Honestly, none of my friends care how latest is my iPad, and neither do I. There’s no use case the newer version has that makes me think, “Wow, I need this in my life.” Speaking of which, combine all this with the ridiculous pricing of the new iPads, it just doesn’t make financial sense to throw away money.

Referring to the Pro iPads of course, the consumer (6th generation?) ones are reasonably priced. You get basically an iPhone 7 processor inside with a decent screen and tablet form factor.

The iPad Pros seem to have been an attempt to shift a certain content creation niche away from Macbooks towards the iPad range.

They're nice devices for visual creatives and for music, albeit in a rather limited way. (Kraftwerk play live with iPads now.)

But they're not a substitute for the full desktop experience. So you get a clash between Cook's smaller-lighter-thinner aesthetic and the real-world demands of professional content creation.

The result is a very expensive toy you can do serious work on sometimes, but definitely not all the time.

I think we all have a very short memory in regard to the major changes Apple made to iOS on the iPad for iOS 11.

I would expect that the iPad will become more macOS-like over time, especially with the addition of USB-C. I think that means waiting and seeing what iOS 13 brings to it.

They're not for everyone and every use case, but the app story is improving a lot. For example your comment about Word is out of date. Word for iOS is full features and has complete support for track changes and comments.

Your point on sharing files via the cloud would also apply to laptops on Wifi as much as to iPads. Yes you can tether with a Cat-5 on a laptop, but most people don't bother and do pro work just fine.

I was worried the iPad would get neglected since Android for tablets is practically abandonware at this point so it has no credible competition at the high end, but instead they're doubling down on the hardware and the software. iOS 12 for iPad was a huge upgrade and the larger screen sizes make running multiple apps side by side a lot easier. sales may have flattened, but they're consistently selling twice as many iPads as laptops.

> This is what I mean, Tim Cook does not have this obsession with details like Jobs had.

Jobs didn't want the iPhone to have apps at all. The original vision was for all third party software to run inside Safari. This is the same man who didn't want slots in the Macintosh, and killed the floppy drive as soon as he returned to Apple.

Jobs would have loved the iPad Pro.

Looks like you want a MacBook Pro.

It's not Apple's fault Intel/AMD has been producing pile of trash CPU's for years.

Hmm, I felt the same way about the iphone vs android when they were first competing. iOS felt very limited and still does to this day. I don't think this is a new problem inside Apple. Tim is no better or worse than Steve I think. Posted from my macbook :P

Agreed. As some other posters have pointed out Apple has some amazing tech in FaceID, AirPods, an ECG on your wrist. But where they fall down is the assume pros don’t want ports in their laptops, think people don’t want customizable desktops and underserve their best devices with software.

Not to mention charging money for mediocre services.

Two years ago, there was an article on the same website "Apple to slice iPhone production 10%", https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Apple-to-slice-iP...

Why can't they just keep making new phones in the size of the iPhone8? Who decided that we all want to carry around mini-tablets now?

Makes me want to go back to a flip phone.

Exactly, I’ll buy a new iPhone when they release one in a form factor like the SE. I’d also love to see a high-privacy, compact, phone-first flip phone from Apple, but I understand that I might as well pray for rain in hell.

I am in total agreement here. I never got the hang of doing "real stuff" on a phone, and prefer a laptop whenever possible. Phones should be small and portable, rather than trying to replace tablets (which are in turn trying to replace laptops, in turn desktops). The last phone I really liked was the droid razr mini. I also liked the galaxy s3.

Please, phone manufacturers: if you hear this, listen. I do not care about large phones. I couldn't care less about "screen-to-body ratio". I don't want a notch or a stupid sliding mechanism. I want a simple, small phone. It should have excellent battery life (don't care about thickness), be sturdy. Calls, texts, pictures, and emails are about all that's necessary, along with occasional web browsing and music playback. Maybe a reader app. That's it. But I guess you can't charge $1,500 for that.

Edit: Oh yeah, and leave my headphone jack alone. Seriously.

I just downgraded from a flagship android phone to a refurb iPhone SE from eBay. New battery, no visible signs of wear; $120 for everything on your list. If I have to do it every year, I'll still be ahead after 5 years.

I might look into that; the recommendation is appreciated.

> Why can't they just keep making new phones in the size of the iPhone8?

As an SE-owner, I suspect you misspelled iPhone 5s there.

> Who decided that we all want to carry around mini-tablets now?

The market. Small phones don't sell well unless they're at a significant discount. Or else Sony would have owned the Android market with their Xperia Compact series.

For a majority of users, their phones are their #1 computing platform. For many, it's also their ONLY computing platform. They need all the screen real-estate they can get.

“A majority of users” != “we all”

Who decided that we all want to carry around mini-tablets now?


The XS is the size of a 6/7/8. The screen is just bigger

Why post this without even checking your facts?


> Why can't they just keep making new phones in the size of the iPhone8

You mean, like iPhone XS?

The XS is 5 mm taller, 3 mm wider, and 0.4 mm thicker. Does that kind of difference really matter?

Considering the average adult male thumb length is ~70mm and female is ~63mm[0], that would be 7-8% of thumb length increased in height and 4-5% in width.

That's not even including the very different screen interactions on XS vs the iPhone 8, where the screen itself was significantly smaller.

[0] http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/smartphone-thumbs-2012-9...

But the iPhone 8 is already 15mm taller and 9mm wider than the iPhone 5/5S/SE which is probably the most comfortable size for a phone. Plus, the fact that the screen itself is much larger makes it more difficult to reach everything with one hand.

I previously had a Note 8 for work and have just gone back to my Galaxy S7 which, while still big, is much nicer to use - even though I thought I liked the Note while I had it.

That is with 4.0mm Bezel on every sides. So If Apple shrink the Bezel by 1.5mm, It would have the same width. Assuming you don't do Curved around edges like Samsung, Huawei has managed to make the left right Bezel shrink to 2.1mm.

The major difference between X/XS and 8 is the weight. And this make the whole phone felt very different.

I think it does when the 7/8 size is already on the edge of what is reasonable to use with one hand.

Slightly. You can feel and see the difference in size, but only if you hold them both side by side (as opposed to the weight, which is quite obviously different).

I noticed the size difference immediately when I got my iPhone X, and I still notice it every day, even if I'm not comparing it side by side with an iPhone 8. Maybe you got used to it, but I haven't, and likely won't.

I'm not you, so I can't confirm what you are experiencing, but have you considered that the screen is throwing off your perception of the phone's size? For me, the biggest difference has been in interacting with the phone, which means that my fingers have to actually cross the entire height of the device rather than just the area that used to be the screen.

Yes, that's another factor, along with the increased weight. But even controlling for those things I still notice (and dislike) the increased size.

> Slightly. You can feel and see the difference in size, but only if you hold them both side by side

Slightly larger for every iteration over years and years makes it much, much larger in the end.

I refuse to go for anything noticeably larger than the SE.

Next to not really providing anything revolutionarily new the last few years, I think their biggest problem is the $1k premium price tag, which not nearly as many are willing to pay. The product simply isn't worth the price tag for what it actually does compared to a model a few years older. People just aren't willing to fork over a few hundred extra bucks above and beyond to have the Apple brand when it's really just a status symbol, that is losing its status, and there are many various competitors that do more than great job (in some cases, arguably better). The price going from 3 figures to 4 figures, for a freaking phone, is a large mental/psychological barrier to a lot of people. A phone is not worth one thousand dollars to most people. Prices have literally doubled since the first iPhone ($499).

That's also the number one thing I hear people say when they say they won't upgrade to a new iPhone - they are getting too expensive and their current phone does more than enough. Upgrade so you can make animated poop emojis? C'mon. No thanks, I'll just pay $50 and get a new battery for my old phone and go another couple of years. At the bottom of the article, there is a link to another article, "China turns sour for Apple, leaving Asian suppliers exposed" [1]. I don't think the attitude in the following quote is unique to the Chinese consumers.

> Apple, with its high-priced lineup, probably suffered more than most from the slowing economy. The iPhone XR variant with 128 gigabytes of storage retails for 6,999 yuan ($1,018), while the latest devices from domestic competitors like Huawei Technologies can be had for around 3,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan. [1]

[1] https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/China-turns-sour-...

This basically sums up where I am at. I have a 6s plus, and while the new phones are unambiguously better, I’m just not going to spend $1k for incremental improvement.

I played with the phones yesterday at an apple store, and they were lovely. I really liked everything about them, aside from some odd phony bezels in safari.

But not for $1k. It’s not that I think they aren’t worth it. I think they are. Just like a nice bmw is worth $80k. But not to me.

I have a 6S and a company that will pay to upgrade my phone anytime. What am I missing?

You know innovation is slowing when I don't think it's worth the hassle to upgrade and it's effective free for me (since my company will pay for it).

I just upgraded from a 6s last week to an Xs. I mostly did it for the camera to take family pictures. Otherwise, it still worked pretty well.

The battery is lasts significantly longer. I kept and eye on my old phone and it was still at 90% capacity. With the 6s, I'd /usually/ make it through the day, but doing anything hefty and I might not. I purposefully stopped charging the Xs during the day today because I was curious and my phone is slightly under 50% charged in the late evening.

I bought a few wireless chargers my wife never used so I tried those. I really like it, especially at night. I think I was using an underpowered power adapter, which is why my wife had problems and gave up on it. My 6s would get pocket lint stuck in the lightning port and a few times a year I'd have to dig it out with something. I think recently the port itself on the 6s was probably getting worn out because more and more of my chargers were finicky.

I really like face id. I liked touch id, but often my hands would be wet or I'd be wearing a glove. It would be kind of annoying to move your thumb over to open your password manager or bank app. Face id is noticeably more convenient even after a day or two.

The camera is great, the speaker is noticeably louder, it's nice to get the shortcut for the flashlight on the lock screen.

I'm still getting used to the OS changes on the new phone. I had to look up how to power it off. Using swipe for Home and the other gestures were pretty easy to get used to. I'm not a fan of using the top-right for control center because I can't use one hand for it anymore. It feels slightly bigger and heavier than the 6s, but I miss having something the size of the 5. I also think it's silly that it comes with a 5w charger.

When was the 6S's battery last replaced?

I got my 6S's battery replaced on New Year's Eve to take advantage of the discounted price. I wasn't actually expecting much improvement, because the phone was only a year old and the battery supposedly had 85% of its original capacity.

To my surprise, the new battery has in fact made a huge difference. It used to be that when I left work, my phone had somewhere between 15%-25% remaining, if that. Now, it always has a comfortable 50%-60%

It was the original battery and iOS was saying 90% capacity. I had been watching the capacity since it was added to iOS and originally intended to swap it out with Apple for the $30 (or just replace it myself, like I have for previous iPhones). I really think if that's the only concern, replacing the battery has always been a huge cost/benefit most people don't seem to think about.

The 6s has a 1715 mA·h battery versus the Xs' 2658 mA·h. This is why still including the 5w charger is silly. Charging with this was already slow on the 6s. It's really hard to quantify usage, especially when the chips are so different. I really noticed the battery life start dipping when I switched to Bluetooth headphones when using the 6s. I'm hoping on the Xs either that Bluetooth is more optimized, but even if it isn't the same draw will drain a smaller percentage of the battery.

The main thing I was hoping to capture in my reply was the little, less concrete things about the update. I usually skip a few generations and a lot of the game changers are small, personal things that don't always jump out in reviews. As an old example, I don't often use AirDrop, but when I finally updated all of my devices to support it, it's way easier than messing with Dropbox, using some app with a web server, connecting a cable, or using a usb or memory stick. Other times it's better radios that power on more quickly, are faster, or more reliable.

Same experience here.

I replaced the battery after maybe two years and it was a night/day difference.

That's part of why I haven't bothered to upgrade (OP here)

You're missing that everyone is different.

A lot of people really care about the quality of the camera and the overall speed of the experience since they spend 10 hours a day on it. Don't forget that many millennials have a phone but no TV or computer. But equally a lot of people don't care about those things. And probably most of these are like yourself happy to stay on the 6s.

As Tim Cook said as long as you're happy that's all that matters because at some point you will upgrade and you will likely stay with Apple. Just not every year like maybe you used to.

Well, you'd get a super nice OLED screen with much more real-estate, but with small enough bezels to not significantly increase the size of the phone. The camera would be better, the speakers would be stereo, and web pages would load slightly faster.

You'd give up a headphone jack, which is the big dealbreaker for me, but for a price of free... eh, I could see why you might upgrade.

Better Camera. 6s is good for day but potato at night. At my job I take lot pictures of signed documents, I find the camera on XR to focus faster and take sharp photo's.

The iPhones are pretty bad at night compared to the pixel 3. Why not get that if your job depends on it?

Or even buy a small compact camera with a decent lens, thereby decoupling photography from mobile computing.

I said the same, happily using my perfect sized 5S. I got an iPhone X as a gift, but it took me over a week and literally cracking my 5S screen to bother with the update.

Battery life (5S was failing though). OLED screen is amazing. Screen real estate is great. It's a bit to big for my small hands, but it rarely gets in the way (I use assistive touch quite heavily though). Camera is good but nothing I care too much about. Swipe gestures (in lieu of buttons) is great (quick switching between apps). Tap screen to wake up (maybe existed before?) is nice.

I'd say do the update. I can't see myself using anything else going forward (until I'm forced to update in a few years I guess).

I feel like since 6s (mine is the plus) the iPhones are running just fine with all the iOS updates and it has probabaly impacted the purchase of newer iPhones. You can get it for free, but in my case I don’t see the reason to spend over a thousand dollars for minimal gain (for what I care) over what my current iPhone already does.

Don’t they typically “reduce production” in January?

Last year at this time, people were saying the iPhone X was dead.


The lineup. They have 13(!) iPhone models(not configs!) in production. SJ would be furious. The first thing he did when he came back in the late 90s is to cut the line to 3 models. Economies of scale and concentration of innovation at a single point.

Isn't this the natural plateau all product categories eventually reach? 1 billion phones sold by Apple alone since 2007, but of course Wall St needs more.

I'd wager that consumers have reached the point where phones are 'boring' and increasingly expensive utility purchases, like a new laptop. We're way past the point of "there's an app for that" style ads. Beyond the basic social network apps, messaging apps and games, people don't even bother downloading apps anymore.

Like laptops, a phone you buy today will easily last you 2-4 years (laptops last longer of course). A marginally better camera isn't going to convince people to cough up $1000+ each year when they know the pictures are going to end up in a highly compressed form on Snap/FB/IG anyway.

Let's set aside China. iPhones have increased drastically in price over the past two years. Even if their revenue would still be the same, doesn't this mean people are buying less iPhones and more people are leaving the Apple ecosystem? Leaving the ecosystem is a bigger threat for them, because they also rely on the sales of the accessories. People are more likely to buy a mac or an iPad if they also have an iPhone.

And here I am still perfectly happy with my iPhone SE.

Despite replacing my iPhone SE with a newer iPhone, I have to say that the iPhone SE really hit a sweet spot - small and thin, but no less capable than the iPhone 7. My only gripe was that the fingerprint sensor was often finicky.

Some of us like small cellphones. This trend towards bigger and bigger screens has only made one-handed usage harder for me.

> My only gripe was that the fingerprint sensor was often finicky

iPhone SE actually has an older, first-generation Touch ID sensor.

Check out the Light Phone 2 on indegogo. It might fit the bill for a small form factor phone at a good price point with a small suite of apps.

I know correlation doesn't imply causation, but I'm going with it: https://i.imgur.com/fyveqs3.png

edit: chart of AAPL stock price for the past 12 years

Of course, Apple stopped selling 4" phones a couple of months before the dip we're seeing. You can't really tell the difference if you try to include more than a decade of data, though.

graph of sales of 4" phones?

I bet they must pay with put options to keep attracting new talent!


Lol gave me a nice chuckle

That is one of the most egregious abuses of statistics I've ever seen on HN. Pretty funny. Stock price correlates with a whole raft of macroeconomic factors e.g. economy, taxation not just the specific performance of Apple. And even ignoring that Apple's performance as a stock is dependent on their overall revenue and profit mix for which they are extremely diversified. It's not just about iPhones.

What we do know is that iPhones are important to Apple and if they genuinely thought that there was a significant market for tiny phones then they would release one. They still sell the iPad mini and the smaller Apple Watch for example so it's not just they they are afraid of small things.

I'm pretty sure the graph was originally meant as satire.

I thought as much.

But still you see a lot of comments even here that Apple would be saved if they released a new iPhone SE or some other small phone.

While the SE has great specs and the form factor is nice, the screen and hence, the keyboard is a tad too small to type fast and comfortable. I think the sweet spot size-wise is the 6/7/8. They make it harder to reach top corners though (but still ok). That's a trade-off I am willing to take for a better typing experience.

Of course if they made an SE-sized phone with an XS-style screen, the keyboard would be as large as the 8 with the form factor of the SE :)

I can dream...

Ah that would be the sweet spot.

Me too.

Even though I have big hands, I like a small phone.

Same here, it is also a great phone for physical activity like running/biking where I don't need a tablet in my pocket.

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