Why Apple's iPhone X Follow-Up Could Be Surprisingly Cheap

Apple could bring face recognition to a wider market.

Unsplash / Drew Coffman

Apple could bring the iPhone X’s design to a broader market, according to a Monday report. The company introduced the smartphone at an event last September with an eye-watering $999 starting price, making it Apple’s most expensive phone by a mile. It didn’t stop fans from queuing up on launch day, but lackluster sales suggest the company could switch strategies.

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News (translated by BGR) claims Apple will start producing its next lineup of phones in May. The lineup will follow a similar strategy to last year, where the X debuted alongside the cheaper iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. This year, Apple is expected to introduce an LCD-based iPhone at $799, an updated 5.8-inch iPhone X at $899, and a 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus at $999. Buyers looking at the current X will save $100 in the new lineup alongside improved internals, while people happy to spend a grand on a phone will get a gargantuan screen that offers even more space on the go.

Concept art of the iPhone X alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Benjamin Geskin/Twitter

The claim stands in contrast to a report from UBS bank analysts Steven Milunovich and Benjamin Wilson, who claimed Apple would introduce the above lineup at $100 more than the above structure. The pair reasoned that once Apple has established a pricing tier it likes to maintain it, but it’s arguable that Apple would maintain its tiers with a $999 X Plus as it’s still offering the company’s best phone for a dollar under a grand.

The iPhone X hasn’t exactly been a runaway sales success. In January, it emerged the company was scaling back production from 40 million in the first quarter to just 20 million, wile maintaining the 30 million target of the 8 and 8 Plus. The company said in its most recent earnings call that iPhone sales are down one percent year-over-year to 77.32 million. The so-called “super-cycle” of sales expected from Apple’s launch of three iPhones was swiftly pronounced dead.

The report claims Apple will avoid the staggered launch of last year’s lineup and push to launch all three in mid-September. CEO Tim Cook unveiled last year’s lineup at the Steve Jobs Theater on September 12, so a mid-September launch implies a slightly earlier announcement.

Other specs around Apple’s new phones are unknown — it could perhaps take some inspiration form the Samsung Galaxy S9’s adjustable camera aperture.

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