While there can be little doubt that Apple remains a market tour de force in terms of consumer technology on a global basis, cracks may be starting to show around the seams. According to reporting from Forbes, the Cupertino-based tech titan has been quietly slashing the price of their iPhone XR by approximately $100 — and as columnist Gordon Kelly writes, Apple is “giving the discounts to carriers and retailers so they can be passed on to buyers without Apple’s name behind it. Sneaky.”
Going on to elaborate that Apple’s pricing plans remain completely unchanged on their public website in an effort to save face — and perhaps stymie recent stock losses, which are significant, per CCN — this line of thinking is surely unwelcome news both for the company’s brass as well as their most ardent consumers. Apple buyers have, at least hitherto, been undyingly loyal to the consumer tech brand — defying the so-called “walled garden” critique to embrace iTunes, the App Store, and several other proprietary functions.
With the Wall Street Journal officially referring to the iPhone XR as a failure, one that threatens Apple’s core business, it seems that there can be little doubt that the company is — without reservation — seeing some very dark days at present. Pundits and columnists from a number of financial and technological publications are starting to sit up and take notice of a slump in Apple’s overall performance — both on a product-line basis as well as in terms of sales reports.
The cost difference is notable: In China, an iPhone XR starts at around $950, while Huawei’s top-end handsets start at about $600, and Xiaomi’s comparable models start at even less. The iPhone XS starts at around $1,250, our @zhonggg notes. https://t.co/p3VXRrNnuq— NYTimes Tech (@nytimestech) January 5, 2019
As the New York Times reports, there are other pressures looming over the once-dominant Apple brand in the overseas market. In China, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are beginning to take over the lion’s share of the Chinese market, as well as the international market writ large — making the United States one of Apple’s sole strongholds. New York Times writer Raymond Zhong goes into further detail regarding an upward trend for Chinese devices and a slump for the iPhone’s status.
“They [Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo] are China’s biggest smartphone brands. Around the world — although not in the United States — they are making the handset business brutally competitive. This week, after Apple warned of disappointing iPhone sales in China, industry observers said that devices from the Chinese brands were a major culprit. As the phone market in China reaches saturation and sales shrink over all, the country’s hardware makers are pushing hard, and increasingly winning fans, in places like France, Germany, India and Southeast Asia, where consumers find that the phones can do just about everything an iPhone can do at a fraction of the cost.”
While Apple continues to lead sales figures for high-end smartphones in many nations, particularly in the West, their period of assumed dominance may be coming to an abrupt end as aggressive Chinese handset manufacturers compete amongst themselves — hungry to claim the top spot.
Is Apple in serious trouble — and will they be able to stave away the many thirsty competitors constantly seeking to dethrone them from their perch atop the luxury handset market? The answer to both questions will become a little more clear throughout 2019, making this competition one to watch.