Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s
Loop includes the cancellation of the iPhone X, three new iPhone designs for 2018, the tenacity of the MacBook Air, Apple heavily promoting iOS 11.3 beta, a renewed focus on eBooks, and the EU finingQualcomm QCOM +1.51% over its iPhone LTE chip deal.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
iPhone X Set For Cancellation
Apple’s revolutionary tenth-anniversary handset, the iPhone X, may not be here for long. While most iPhones expect to have a long and happy life moving down the portfolio, there are indications the iPhone X will be a ‘one year and gone’ handset.
…acclaimed KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says disappointing sales of the iPhone X will lead to the cancellation of the model “with production ceasing in the summer”. This would be the first time Apple has canceled an iPhone model after just one generation since the iPhone 5C in 2014.
Kuo, who has a long track record successfully revealing Apple’s plans, said lack of interest in China is the main reason. In China big screens are king and the iPhone X’s polarising “notch” is seen by Chinese consumers as removing too much usable space. Especially when the cheaper iPhone 8 Plus actually delivers slightly more.
What Replaces The iPhone X?
In the era of Tim Cook, more is better, so the iPhone X may be replaced by three new handsets in Q3 this year. All will feature the notch that Apple hopes to make iconic, and all of them will bias towards the fashionable trend of larger screens. Kelly once more:
Kuo believes Apple will enjoy a better end to 2018 with 10% growth as the outgoing iPhone X will be replaced by a total of three new iPhone X-inspired designs: a second generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus and a “$650-750” 6.1-inch iPhone SE replacement which will be fitted with Face ID. Apple hopes it will be the latter two that once again excite the Chinese market.
That said, this is not the end of the world, just a simple course correction after a poor launch of the iPhone X and iPhone 8 portfolios:
Kuo’s report will likely result in declarations that Apple’s downfall is imminent, but to me this is ridiculous. For starters, the 5% and 10% growth figures actually stand in contrast to the global smartphone market, which is expected to shrink by 5% in 2018 as users hold onto their phones for longer.
Why The MacBook Air?
With the MacBook Pro occupying the high-end macOS laptop market (with the Touch Bar) and the mid-range, plus the MacBook occupying the entry-level up to the mid-range, why does Apple still sell the MacBook Air? Lacking notable updates since early 2015 the Air is a sad reflection on Apple’s current attitudes to progress, as I discussed earlier this week:
The MacBook Air occupies a key place in Apple’s history. But sometimes how you leave the stage is just as important as the story you told as you entered the stage. If the Air had left alongside the return of the MacBook in March 2015 it would have left on a significant high, would have handed over the market segment to the MacBook, and that decision would have been a genuinely courageous one.
Instead the MacBook Air lingers, still demanding one thousand dollars, still offering weaker specifications than the competition, and keeping Tim Cook’s inability to make difficult public decisions in the spotlight.