Apple’s iPhone XS Max is a Winner. For Now

SVO Schiller shows 2018 iPhone lineup

Those who have an iPhone X have little incentive to upgrade to an iPhone XS. But the iPhone XS Max appears to be a winner. At least until pre-orders start for the iPhone XR.

People are always looking for a data angle to prove that Apple has failed in its concept for its suite of new iPhones each September. Then the numbers come out during the quarterly earnings reports, and Apple does just fine.

SVO Schiller shows 2018 iPhone lineup
2018 iPhone lineup and pricing. Image credit: Apple.

Last year, the late introduction of the iPhone X in November was seen as a portent of doom. Didn’t happen. The iPhone X was a hit. And the iPhone 8 did nicely as well.

This year, apparently due to technical glitches with the display, the iPhone XR pre-orders don’t start until October 19. Meanwhile, it looks like the iPhone XS Max is doing very well. Gene Munster and Will Thompson have the story at LoupVentures . “iPhone Launch Takeaway: Xs Max Demand Exceeds Historical Plus Demand.

There’s a good bit of analysis and historical data here.

1. Consumers are increasingly pre-ordering devices online to avoid long lines on launch day.

2. We expect iPhone Xr, which debuts on October 23[sic], to account for 38% of iPhones sold in the next year, compared to 21% for the Xs and Xs Max combined (9% Xs, 12% Xs Max).

The remaining 41% would presumably be iPhone 8 and 7. Note that while the XS Max is more favored, it may not be by a huge margin. The XS will find its niche. Nevertheless….

Interest in the Xs Max exceeded historical demand for Plus versions, with 70% of survey respondents buying a Xs Max vs. an average of 54% for [previous] Plus versions.

This may be due to the fact that last year’s 8 Plus had an LCD display, and this year’s XS Max has an OLED display. Or maybe, also, the movement to larger displays, thanks to amazing graphics and video capabilities and wireless bandwidths, is accelerating.

The story here is that one has to do sampling, ask customers about their preferences, and examine historical data to identify trends. We’ll know more when Apple announces its sales numbers, but the upshot is that Apple’s lineup is always strong, Apple understands its customers, there is seldom an outright dud, sales remain strong all year, and Apple makes buckets of money. In fact, most of all of it.

Next Page: The News Debris for the week of September 17th.

8 thoughts on “Apple’s iPhone XS Max is a Winner. For Now

  • I woke up this morning, but my iPhone 7 would not. I did a hard reset and it turned on which was a relief. I am going on a trip in October and am wondering if I should join Generation iPhone X sooner than I planned. Usually we wait until Christmas to upgrade iPhones, but doing it now might be for the best.

    I will be attending my 50th high school class reunion and am looking forward to seeing my old friends. Actually it is for the year before my graduation, but it was a small school and we all socialized together.

    1. I am thinking that it might have been a glitch from the recent iOS install.

      When I went to bed I did a “Hey Siri turn off all lights” and the phone was fine. Then early in the morning Siri wouldn’t respond when I asked the time. The home button would wake the phone, it wouldn’t respond to the side button. i reset it by pressing the down volume and side button which forced a restart.

  • “Those who have an iPhone X have little incentive to upgrade to an iPhone XS.”

    I don’t know why every reviewer or writer mentions this point. It should be blatantly obvious by now that most iPhone users don’t upgrade every year. Apple is very well aware of this. Both Neil Cybart and Horace Dediu have written insight articles with respect to these topics:



    ” With an iPhone installed base of approximately 750M users, less than 15% of the iPhone installed base bought a new flagship iPhone over the last nine months.”

  • Siri Shortcuts are just a patch to try and cover over the weaknesses in Siri. After reading the article it’s clear that the variables portion is missing., If I want to email my wife I can say “email Marsha”. If I want to email someone where I’d fill in the address as part of the request I’m SOL. Ages ago I played with AppleScript. It was really cool but I realized a huge weakness. I could write scripts to do a lot of things, but I don’t do the same thing over and over. I do a lot of different things and I’d have to write an AppleScript for each one. Siri Shortcuts has the same issue.

    When the AppleWatch launched my reaction was ‘meh’. It was cool but it just didn’t do enough at that point to excite me or get me to plop down a few hundred bucks for one. At that point I said, not today, but maybe someday. Call me when the fifth version is out.
    Well here we are, roughly the fifth model of AW (0-4) and watchOS5. Guess what: I’m excited about it. I’m really debating about getting one. Sure it’s ~$500 but I can see the value in it…now.

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