EC What Happened To The Iphone?

Still, Apple might be a proxy for macro factors. Consider that even in today’s world a smartphone is a big-ticket item. Economic weakness because of sluggish labor markets could be a major factor holding back customer excitement for the iPhone 7 and now an iPhone 8. The timing of this shift in Apple’s iPhone fortunes is one that we have seen time and again:

Since around the middle of 2015, the outbreak of “global turmoil” produced by the “rising dollar”, Americans have among other negative trends become noticeably more reluctant to sell their existing houses or buy new cars. It appears as if we can add iPhones to that catalog. It’s much too consistent to simply dismiss because of the Fed’s rhetoric or even their actions (given their track record) as to “rate hikes” and the inflation/growth expectations they supposedly represent.

It’s not just a US story, or an Apple one, either. Smartphone sales as a whole dropped by a record 9% globally in Q4 2017. The big reason? China.

Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics, said: “It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16% annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of ‘wow models’.”

Or maybe China’s economy just isn’t all that robust. That’s not how it is described, of course, but then again when is it ever characterized as anything other than strong, robust, or booming?

Apple’s struggles, indeed those of the whole smartphone market overall, are not conclusive evidence one way or the other. There are plausible explanations on both sides. It is still a compelling possibility that maybe the globally synchronized boom just doesn’t have any boom in it.

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Power Hedge 2 years ago Contributor's comment

I saw a survey back in August that essentially said that Chinese people as a whole felt that the iPhone X was far too expensive and they weren't interested in shelling out that kind of money for a smartphone.

Personally, I have an iPhone SE. I won't be buying another iPhone until Apple offers another one with a 4" screen. For me, the new phones are far too large.

Surae Magruf 2 years ago Member's comment

#Apple is proving itself to be little competition in the field of ingenuity as of its most previous models. However, it's still going to sell well due to its brand. Many consumers are more concerned with brands. Clout reigns over functionality these days.

David J. Tanner 2 years ago Member's comment

I agree, there's nothing to get excited about anymore. So it's a tad faster or a tad thinner. Who cares? It's not worth shelling out another $300 to $700. They gotta wait for the next meaningful technological enhancement to get people to bite.

Better yet, #Apple should be looking for something else that needs to be redesigned.

Louis Jackson 2 years ago Member's comment

I have an iphone 7 which still feels brand new to me. I didn't really need to get it at the time, but I was eligible for an upgrade. I honestly like my old 6 just as well. As long as they're doing little more than upgrading processors and cameras, I won't buy a new one anytime soon. I don't understand how people get so excited over the newer ones.

Danny Straus 2 years ago Member's comment

i believe Android devices stay relevant longer than Apple devices. I have an old iPad that's pretty much a paperweight since almost every app needs a newer OS. But Apple won't let me upgrade to the latest OS.

Roland Murphy 2 years ago Member's comment

I have the same problem. Would be nice if Apple let me continue to use the old apps which worked just fine. But they force you to upgrade the app (it will force close saying an upate is needed). But when you try to update, it fails because the operating system is too old. The whole thing is a shrewd scam by Apple and it's why I too switched to Android. I just hope they don't end up doing the same thing.

Louis Jackson 2 years ago Member's comment

I may look into alternatives like Android when I'm ready for a new phone (hopefully at least a couple of years from now).

Angry Old Lady 2 years ago Member's comment

I agree with everything you said. But lately I've noticed a definite slowdone in my old Apple devices. They are downright sluggish. I feel that I'm being forced to upgrade and now I learned that Apple did it on purpose! My husband never had this problem with his android device. He is still on a Galaxy S3 and it works perfectly.

Louis Jackson 2 years ago Member's comment

That was inexcusable what Apple did to older phones. Supposedly even some iphone 6/7's were affected. I think Apple is supposed to be fixing that issue.

Angry Old Lady 2 years ago Member's comment

I heard that their "solution" was to sell people new batteries at a discounted price. I'm sure many will opt to just buy a new phone altogether. Besides who can afford to be without a phone while the battery gets replaced. We can't do it ourselves like old phones.

Louis Jackson 2 years ago Member's comment

I read that there would be a software update that would allow users to improve power and show more data regarding the health of the battery. Hopefully this will be the case.

Louis Jackson 2 years ago Member's comment

Here's the release from Apple back in December that mentions the software update in early 2018 :

Kevin Richards 2 years ago Member's comment

#Apple has excelled at identifying the next big thing and making it better. It did it with computers, MP3 players, tablets, and phones. It never invents a thing. I think they've run out of ideas. $AAPL

Ayelet Wolf 2 years ago Member's comment

This is true, but as you said, that is where #Apple excels and will continue to do so. The problem is that it's difficult to get excited about new phones or tablets when old ones still work so well (despite Apples attempts at intentionally slowing down older models to spur new purchases).

If history is any judge, when the time comes, Apple will identify the next "big thing," make it better, and make a killing. $AAPL will go then go even higher.