Chinese Online Retailers Start Second Round of iPhone Discounts

Online retailers in China have begun discounting iPhones for the second time this year. Reuters reports that several mobile vendors this week announced discounts on iPhone models, including Apple's latest flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Gadget retailer Suning.Com Co Ltd said it would slash the price of the iPhone XS by as much as 1,000 yuan ($148.95) from its official price. Suning had lowered the prices of other iPhone models in January along with other retailers, but those cuts excluded the iPhone XS.

Pinduoduo Inc, an e-commerce site best known for selling inexpensive goods, has also said it would sell the 64GB edition of the iPhone XS for 6,999 yuan, a drop of over 1,000 yuan from the official price.
JD.com is also reportedly poised to offer discounts on its Apple products, including the iPhone XS and XS Max, which escaped the online retail giant's first major round of discounts in January.

Apple first dropped iPhone prices for third-party distributors in China on January 10, allowing vendors to purchase iPhones more cheaply and pass those savings on to customers. Apple cut prices on most iPhone models, but the XR saw the biggest discounts.

Apple launched the price cuts after seeing iPhone sales fall significantly in China during the holiday quarter of 2018, leading to lower iPhone revenue than expected. One report said Apple was seeing improved iPhone sales in China following the price cuts.

Apple has also partnered with Ant Financial, the finance arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and several state-owned banks to let consumers purchase iPhones via interest-free loans.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January that the company was reevaluating its pricing strategies in some international markets, returning to pricing that's "more commensurate" with what local prices were last year to boost its iPhone sales.

Cook also said he believes Apple's higher prices were a factor in the declining number of iPhone upgrades that led to a weaker holiday quarter. In some international markets, the strength of the U.S. dollar amplified pricing increases.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR
Tag: China

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Apple’s Limited Time iPhone XS and iPhone XR Trade-Up Promotion Ends March 4 in Australia

Australians looking to take advantage of Apple's limited time iPhone XS and iPhone XR trade-up promotion should act fast, as the offer ends Monday, March 4 in Australia, according to an update to Apple's website.


As in the United States, Apple is offering higher trade-in values for select older iPhone models towards the purchase of a new iPhone XR or iPhone XS. The iPhone XR starts at $1,229 in Australia, for example, but customers can purchase the device for as low as $849 when trading in an iPhone 7 Plus until next week.


The promotion began in the United States in late November and expanded to Apple Stores internationally in late December.

Apple has been heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a prominent banner on the homepage of its website, store signage, App Store editorials, emails to older iPhone users, and more since the smartphones launched last year.

In a letter to shareholders last month, Apple said it saw fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated last quarter, primarily due to greater-than-expected economic weakness in the Greater China region. Apple said making smartphone trade-ins at its stores easier is one step it would take to improve results.

No end date has been specified for the U.S. promotion as of yet.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Apple Extends iPhone XR and iPhone XS Trade-Up Promotion Until March 25 in China

In late November, Apple launched a limited time promotion that offers up to $100 in additional credit when trading in an iPhone 6 through iPhone 8 towards the purchase of a new iPhone XS or iPhone XR in the United States.


Apple expanded the promotion to additional countries in late December. While no end date has been set in the United States, fine print on Apple's regional Chinese website reveals that the extra credit will be available through March 25, 2019 in China, an extension of the previous February 28 end date in Japan.

March 25 happens to be the rumored date of Apple's next event, where it is expected to announce new subscription-based news and streaming video services — although March 25 in China is March 24 in the United States due to time zone differences.

The promotion is available at Apple Stores in participating countries. It is also offered on Apple.com and with monthly payments in the United States. With the monthly payment option, customers can get a new iPhone XR for as low as $18.99 per month or a new iPhone XS for as low as $29.99 per month for 24 months.

If paying in full, the iPhone XR and iPhone XS start at $449 and $699 respectively with the trade-in of an iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8 in the United States.

Apple has been heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a prominent banner on the homepage of its website, store signage, App Store editorials, emails to older iPhone users, and more since the smartphones launched last year.

In a letter to shareholders last month, Apple said it saw fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated last quarter, primarily due to greater than expected economic weakness in the Greater China region. Apple said making smartphone trade-ins at its stores easier is one step it is taking to improve results.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Apple Reportedly Advised Technicians to Push iPhone Upgrades to Customers With Out-of-Warranty Devices

Last month, Apple lowered its revenue guidance for the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year by up to $9 billion due to fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated, primarily due to economic weakness in the Greater China region.


A few months prior to the announcement, Apple began heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a limited time promotion, prominent banner on its website, emails to older iPhone users, store signage, App Store editorials, and other uncharacteristically aggressive tactics aimed at boosting sales.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman previously reported that Apple reassigned some of its marketing staff to focus on bolstering sales of its latest iPhone lineup in late October, around the time the iPhone XR launched. The report cited an unnamed source who described the efforts as a "fire drill."

In a report this week about Deirdre O'Brien succeeding Angela Ahrendts as Apple's retail chief, Gurman elaborated a bit more on Apple's tactics to promote its latest iPhones, claiming that the company advised its technicians to "push iPhone upgrades to consumers with out-of-warranty devices."

Senior retail staff were also tasked with making sure other employees were suggesting upgrades, according to Gurman:
In December, as Apple executives worried about demand, the company asked retail employees to promote the new iPhones using methods not seen before. Technicians were told to push iPhone upgrades to consumers with out-of-warranty devices. Senior sales staff had to make sure other retail workers were suggesting upgrades, and easels offering generous trade-in deals for the iPhone XR were erected in stores. Apple's online homepage was also replaced with reduced iPhone pricing that required a trade-in of older models.
We presume this refers to Genius Bar technicians at Apple Stores, but there is also a network of Apple Authorized Service Providers, some of which double as authorized resellers that offer the latest Apple products for sale.

It's unclear if the tactics had any influence on Ahrendts stepping down from her position. Unlike her short-lived predecessor John Browett, who reportedly pushed Apple retail employees to aggressively upsell products, Ahrendts focused on the experience with free Today at Apple creativity sessions and more.

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that "customers are holding on to their older iPhones a bit longer than in the past." In a letter to shareholders, Cook said Apple is undertaking and accelerating initiatives to improve its results, such as making it simple to trade in a phone at its stores.

Apple's reported efforts to push iPhone upgrades creates an interesting juxtaposition. On one hand, the company's environmental chief Lisa Jackson recently said customers using its devices longer "is the best thing for the planet," and on the other hand it is more aggressively encouraging customers to buy a new iPhone.

Skip to 1:23:51 mark for Lisa Jackson's comments

Whether the tactics are effective will be harder to gauge going forward, as Apple no longer discloses unit sales in its quarterly earnings report. Apple forecasted revenue between $55 billion and $59 billion in the current quarter, which would be down from $61.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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iPhone Sales Growing Following Price Cuts in China

Apple is seeing improved iPhone sales in China following some recent price cuts on the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and older models that were introduced earlier in January, reports Chinese site Feng.

Apple dropped iPhone prices for third-party distributors in China on January 10, allowing vendors to purchase iPhones more cheaply and pass those savings on to customers. Apple cut prices on most iPhone models, but the XR saw the biggest discounts.


Shortly after Apple implemented the pricing cuts, vendors in China started offering discounts on various iPhone models. The XR, for example, was available from JD.com for 6099 yuan ($899), while Suning, an electronics store similar to Best Buy, started selling iPhone XR for 6199 yuan ($914).

Those prices are more affordable than the iPhone XR from Apple's own online store, where the device is priced starting at 6499 yuan ($958).

According to Feng, data sourced from Alibaba suggests that iPhone sales on the site have increased by 76 percent in China since January 13. Suning, meanwhile, saw Apple traffic and sales "explode" with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and XR in particular seeing purchase boosts. Apple sales from Suning have increased by 83 percent since January 11.

Apple launched the price cuts after seeing iPhone sales fall significantly in China during the holiday quarter of 2018, leading to lower iPhone revenue than expected. The Cupertino company is hoping sales will soar during Chinese New Year in February, improving overall performance in China.

Apple is also promoting older iPhone trade-ins and monthly pricing for iPhones in many countries around the world, including the United States, in an effort to boost iPhone upgrade numbers.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple is reevaluating its pricing strategies in some international markets, returning to pricing that's "more commensurate" with what local prices were last year to boost its iPhone sales.

Cook also said that he does believe Apple's higher prices were a factor in the declining number of iPhone upgrades that led to a weaker holiday quarter. In some international markets, the strength of the U.S. dollar amplified pricing increases.

Apple is expecting revenue of $55 to $59 billion in the second fiscal quarter of 2019 (first calendar quarter), which is below the $61.1 billion in revenue Apple earned in the second fiscal quarter of 2018. It's not clear if the pricing changes in China and other international markets will be a big enough boost to pull Apple out of its slump going forward, but for the first part of the year, Apple is still expecting lower iPhone sales.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR
Tag: China

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Apple Lowering iPhone Prices in Some International Markets to Boost Sales

Apple CEO Tim Cook today told Reuters that the company is “rethinking” iPhone prices outside of the United States. Setting prices in U.S. dollars has made phones more expensive in local currencies, so Apple is planning to lower prices.

Cook says that in some international markets, after assessing macroeconomic conditions, Apple will go back to pricing that’s “more commensurate” with what local prices were last year to boost sales.

“When you look at foreign currencies and then particularly those markets that weakened over the last year those (iPhone price) increases were obviously more,” Cook told Reuters. “And so as we’ve gotten into January and assessed the macroeconomic condition in some of those markets we’ve decided to go back to more commensurate with what our local prices were a year ago in hopes of helping the sales in those areas.”

Apple has already started lowering the price of the iPhone for third-party distributors in China, and price cuts could also be introduced in other areas like India and Brazil, where the iPhone is prohibitively expensive and has seen stalled growth due to high pricing.

Cook may provide details on specific areas where price cuts will be implemented during the earnings call.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Apple Shares New ‘Full Circle’ Experimental Video Shot on 32 iPhone XRs

Apple today shared a new experimental Shot on iPhone XR video that features footage captured using 32 iPhone XR devices mounted on a bullet time rig.

The video depicts various materials, including fire, colored water, dry ice bubbles, and colored slime, in a rotating rig that provides a 360 degree view.


The video is accompanied by a behind the scenes look at how it was made, complete with a demonstration of the crazy camera rig that Apple constructed from 32 iPhone XRs on bullet time mounts.


The video, in addition to using a custom iPhone XR camera rig with multiple devices, also uses specific iPhone camera techniques like slo-mo, which can capture slow motion video at 240 frames per second.

This is the second experimental video Apple has made with the 2018 iPhones. Back in September, ahead of when the new iPhones were released, Apple shared an experimental Shot on iPhone XS video using materials like clay and ink to demo slo-mo, 4K, and time lapse.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

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Ming-Chi Kuo Says ‘Worst Soon Over’ in Regards to Slowing iPhone Sales

Earlier this month, Apple lowered its revenue guidance for the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year by up to $9 billion due to fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated, particularly in the Greater China region.


Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, believes the "worst" will be "soon over" in regards to the slowdown. In his latest research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo opined that the "share prices of Apple and most iPhone suppliers are generally priced in the negative."
Our report published on December 14, 2018, was the first to cut the estimation of 2019 iPhone shipments to 190mn units or less; the current market consensus on 2019 iPhone shipments (160–180mn units) is much lower than our estimation and we believe the share prices of Apple and most iPhone suppliers are generally priced in the negative.

We maintain our forecast of 188–192mn units for 2019 iPhone shipments. We believe the downside risks of share prices for the Apple and iPhone supply chain are limited in the near term given that 2Q19 iPhone shipments will likely be better than the market consensus.
Kuo has slightly cut his estimate for iPhone shipments in the first quarter of 2019 from 38–42 million units to 36–38 million units because the "demand for new models in China and emerging markets is lower than expected," but he believes the decline will begin to ease starting in the second quarter.

Specifically, he estimates iPhone shipments in the second quarter of 2019 will reach 34–37 million units, slightly higher than the market consensus of 30–35 million units. That would still be a roughly 14 percent decline on a year-over-year basis, but far better than an estimated 29 percent drop in the first quarter.

As long as the US-China trade war does not worsen, Kuo expects the improvement to continue into the second half of 2019, with iPhone shipments likely to be generally flat compared to the second half of 2018 thanks to stronger replacement demand, trade-in programs, and market share gain in European markets.

Kuo maintains his forecast of 188–192 million iPhone shipments in 2019.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Apple Now Promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS Trade-Ups With Monthly Payment Option

Apple today updated its website to promote a monthly payment option for iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ups in the United States.


With the trade in of an older iPhone at an Apple Store in the United States, customers can get a new iPhone XR for as low as $18.99 per month or a new iPhone XS for as low as $29.99 per month for 24 months as part of a limited time promotion.

Paying in full remains an option, with the iPhone XR and iPhone XS starting at $449 and $699 respectively with the trade-in of an iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8. These values are up to $100 higher than usual. Apple hasn't specified an end date for the promotion in the United States, but it is February 28 in Asia.

The monthly payment trade-in option is not available online. There is zero interest collected and a credit check is required.

Apple has been heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a banner on the homepage of its website, store signage, emails to older iPhone users, and more since shortly after the smartphones launched last year.

Earlier this month, Apple slashed its revenue guidance by up to $9 billion for the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year. In a letter to shareholders, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is undertaking and accelerating multiple initiatives to improve its results, including making it simple to trade in a phone at its stores.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Apple’s iPhone XR Was the Best Selling iPhone in U.S. During Holiday Quarter

Apple's iPhone XR was the best selling iPhone in the U.S. during the holiday quarter despite the fact that it was not released until the end of October, according to data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

The iPhone XR accounted for 39 percent of sales during Apple's first fiscal quarter 2019, which equates to the fourth calendar quarter of 2018. The iPhone XS and XS Max, meanwhile, accounted for 26 percent of iPhone sales.


Combined, the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max accounted for 65 percent of all holiday quarter iPhone sales, compared to 61 percent for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X in the year-ago quarter.

The iPhone XR almost matched combined sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus at the same time least year, and it represented the largest quarterly share for a single model since the iPhone 7 in CIRP's historical data.

More iPhone buyers in holiday quarter of 2018 also chose iPhones with upgraded storage than in the year-ago quarter.

"For many years each additional storage level carried a $100 premium. Now iPhone prices increase from $50 to $200 for incremental storage, depending on the phone model and the size of the boost in storage. The percentage of iPhone buyers who paid up for increased storage grew to 38% this quarter from 33% in the year ago quarter. Based on the elevated pricing associated with larger storage, as well as the model mix sold in the quarter, we estimate Apple increased its ASP to well over $800."
While multiple reports have suggested the iPhone XR sold well, it did not sell as well as Apple had expected, at least in some areas around the world. Apple recently lowered its earnings guidance for the first fiscal quarter of 2019 due to weak iPhone sales and has reportedly cut iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max production for the January to March quarter.

CIRP gathered its data from a survey of 500 U.S. Apple customers that purchased an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch during the October to December 2018 period.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

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