Apple shipped 29 million iPhone Xs in the fourth quarter of 2017, research company Canalys said, as elsewhere reports questioned the future of the flagship smartphone.
Canalys said adoption was driven by upgrade demand in “operator-centric markets”, where the US vendor enjoys a large installed base and customers can finance the $1,000-plus smartphone over a number of months. Another highlight for the device was the fact 7 million iPhone Xs were shipped to China.
While the overall performance was impressive for a high-cost smartphone, Canalys analyst Ben Stanton said it is still “slightly below industry expectations”.
“Apple struggled with supply issues in early November, but achieved a massive uplift in production in late November and throughout December. This helped it meet and even exceed demand in some markets by the end of the quarter,” he said.
The vendor’s iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 also shipped well during the quarter.
AppleInsider reported KGI Securities believe Apple will ship around 18 million iPhone X smartphones in the current quarter, with the device likely to reach the end of its life when Apple announces its iPhone refresh later this year. Previously devices have stayed in the portfolio, but shifted down the price levels.
Of course, with iPhone X marking the first time the company offered a premium option above the traditional iPhone 8, the situation is somewhat different. A lower priced iPhone X would compete directly with the next iPhone, creating a complex sales proposition for the vendor – something Apple usually avoids.
KGI Securities also believes iPhone X proved less popular in China than predicted, because the “notch” in the front screen which houses sensors gives the impression there is less usable space than for iPhone 8 Plus.
Technologies from iPhone X are expected to make it into other iPhones, and an “iPhone X Plus” model may also be introduced to offset concerns about usable screen size.