A staggered rollout of two very different iPhone models, the iPhone 8/8 Plus and the X, seemed initially risky. Apple admits that it will learn something new this round.
During the 2017 Q4 Apple earnings report, analysts were keen to understand the early sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Some were keen to understand when iPhone X availability will meet demand.
The fact is, Apple isn’t sure at this point what the overall results will be. Tim Cook said, “We puts our best thinking into this. We’re gonna see what happens.”
It’s also particularly painful that Apple considers the model mix, to date and ongoing, as competitive information. Just as we’re all dying to know how well the iPhone X is doing and whether the 8 and 8 Plus are duds, so also Apple’s competitors would dearly like to know.
The other related question, not asked, is whether the mix would result in a net decline in all iPhone sales for the coming December (Q1) quarter. That’s not possible to know right now without some very clever market analysis and modeling.
Tim Cook did refer to an important factor, one that can’t yet be addressed. That’s the ability of customers to go into an Apple retail store to handle and compare models. As of Nov 2nd, with iPhone X not yet in stores, that’s not possible.
One Analyst’s Estimate
I asked Gene Munster at Loup Ventures if he had any estimates himself. Without revealing sources and methods, he provided this point-in-time product mix estimate.
- iPhone X 256 13.7%
- iPhone X 64 29.4%
- iPhone 8+ 256 13.7%
- iPhone 8 256 17.6%
- iPhone 8+ 64 9.8%
- iPhone 8 64 15.7%
No doubt those numbers will fluctuate and come to equilibrium as time goes on and customers are able to better compare models and adjust to the iPhone X backlog. But this estimate suggests that the 64 GB iPhone X is a very popular model even as the 8 and 8 Plus make up the majority of sales. For now.
Finally, Mr. Muster believes that Apple will be just fine when it comes to total iPhone sales in Q1, estimating 76.7 million. The current product mix doesn’t appear to produce a huge spike in the December quarter, probably because the supply of the iPhone X can’t meet demand. Even so, this is a pretty good situation for Apple.
Asked over and over for his best estimate of the situation, Tim Cook said. “I don’t know.” But it certainly seems that Apple, having put its best thinking into the product mix and launch timing, will do very well indeed with these iPhones.