When Apple released the iPhone XS and XS Max earlier this year, the company removed last year’s flagship phone, the iPhone X, from its Apple Stores, in hopes that consumers would prefer to buy the new models. A new report, however, suggests that the Cupertino-based company has resumed production of the year-old iPhone X, amid rumors that Apple’s two new flagships, as well as the more affordable iPhone XR, aren’t selling as well as expected.
Citing a report from the Wall Street Journal, AppleInsider wrote on Thursday that it isn’t clear at the moment why Apple is supposedly reviving the iPhone X just months after halting its production and removing it from Apple Stores worldwide. However, people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that it isn’t unusual for Apple to manufacture legacy models for markets that have enough appetite for these older devices. As an example, AppleInsider mentioned Apple’s deal with manufacturing partner Wistron, which produces two older models for the Indian market — 2015’s iPhone 6s and 2016’s iPhone SE.
The sources also told the Wall Street Journal that Apple’s rumored decision to resume iPhone X production was carried out not only to improve sales, but also to improve profit margins. As the device is more than a year old, it costs less to manufacture or acquire components, with the equipment used to put the phones together also cheap enough to make production financially feasible.
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal also speculated that Apple is reviving the iPhone X because of its contract with Samsung to purchase a certain number of OLED panels. With production on both the iPhone XS and XS Max reportedly cut due to weaker-than-expected demand, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Apple is trying to pick up the slack by resuming iPhone X production.
Commenting on the above rumor, AppleInsider wrote that the claim is “dubious,” suggesting that it doesn’t make sense on a business standpoint for Apple to manufacture a legacy device in order to meet Samsung’s minimum order requirement. The publication added that the similarity between the newer iPhone XS and last year’s iPhone X makes it “even more unlikely” that consumers will gravitate toward the older model.
As the rumored resumption of iPhone X production was mentioned in a report centering on Apple’s supposed plans to slash the price of the iPhone XR in Japan, the Verge noted that the budget-priced device is purportedly “struggling” more than the higher-end iPhone XS and XS Max, as many Japanese consumers are opting for last year’s iPhone 8 as a lower-cost alternative. In any case, the Wall Street Journal cited a senior official at a Japanese mobile carrier, who said that it’s rare for “smartphone makers in general,” and not just Apple, to reduce prices on a device within a month of its initial availability.