I really can’t believe they’re using these names:
Introducing the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR…
The naming won’t affect the sales at all. It’ll make it slightly confusing for the sales people at cell phone providers – but iPhone buyers will happily FaceID their Apple Pay money to a new model every 1-3 years.
Mission Impossible iPhone
Ben Thompson has a great take on what he’s appropriately calling The iPhone Franchise and how what we’re seeing now with the iPhone XR is the near perfection of Apple’s previous attempts with the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 8 to release a new, non-flagship iPhone.
Last year, meanwhile, was in many respects the opposite of the iPhone 5S and 5C launch, at least from a framing perspective. The iPhone 8 was the next in-line after the iPhone 7 and all of the iPhones before it; it was the iPhone X that was presented as being out-of-band — “one more thing”, to use the company’s famous phrase. The iPhone X was the “future of the smartphone”, with a $999 price tag to match.
And, just like the cell phone providers who each year bump their rate plans slightly higher in advance of new iPhones, Apple is pushing the average selling price higher each year:
Apple should be fine though: overall unit sales may fall slightly, but the $1,099 XS Max will push the average selling price even higher. Note, too, that the XR is only available starting at $749; the longstanding $650 iPhone price point was bumped up to $699 last year, and is now a distant memory. To put it another way, to the extent the XR cannibalizes the XS, it cannibalizes them with an average selling price equal to Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone from two years ago; the iPhone 8 is $50 higher than the former $550 price point as well.
If their strategy holds up this year with the iPhone XS Max, and I see no reason why it won’t, then I wonder if we’ll see the same thing next year with an even more premium – XS Max Superduper? – iPhone model at the top and a similar $50-$100 price bump along the line?
It used to be that I had iPhone envy because I was a year or two into a contract and couldn’t justify upgrading because of the contract buyout cost. Now I really can’t justify the cost of a new flagship iPhone even when it’s my “turn” to upgrade.
I think I’m going to be a non-flagship, every 2 year with my cellular contract, iPhone buyer for a long time.