Apple could drop the iPhone X sooner than expected. A report revealed Friday shows the company’s $999 smartphone, which only launched two months ago, could face early retirement because of low demand.
In a memo by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by AppleInsider, the Apple watcher claims that around 18 million iPhone X devices will ship in the first quarter of 2018. However, the phone’s weird design — with a notch in the top of the display housing a face recognition sensor — has had a negative effect on sales, particularly in China where the 5.8-inch screen is regarded as having less usable space than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. Because of this, Apple may stop producing the device by the summer and roll out three new models later this year.
The move would be a marked change for Apple, which normally sells its flagship devices for a few years after first hitting the market. The iPhone 6S, the oldest smartphone Apple sells, first hit the market in 2015. When a new flagship device launches, Apple tends to lower the price of last year’s model and continues selling the older device.
Beyond the design decisions, the Face ID scanner has proven controversial as an alternative to the tried-and-tested Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple claims it’s a more secure unlock method, with a one in a million chance the device will unlock with the wrong face. Reviewers claimed the feature had the hallmarks of a first-generation product, as it required a readjustment of the way people use their phones.
However, this doesn’t mean Apple is planning to ditch the face-scanning capabilities present in the device. The TrueDepth sensor, which has been compared to a miniaturized Microsoft Kinect for the way it beams infrared to take a 3D scan of a user’s face, will likely find a new home on the three new models. Among the potential lineup would be an “iPhone X Plus” model aimed at alleviating the concerns over limited screen space.
Dropping the iPhone X would leave it as something of an oddity in Apple’s release lineup. The phone that chief designer Jony Ive referred to as a “new chapter” of the company’s history would also be one of the devices with the shortest stay on the market.
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