Apple iPhone X Might or Might Not Be In Trouble
Apple’s iPhones are critical to its business and its cash hoard. But now speculation is that the money machine may not be humming as well as expected.
The upcoming iPhone X smartphone, available on Nov. 3, may be having manufacturing problems that could lead to a more limited availability at launch than investors had hoped. There’s also talk of whether slower-than-expected iPhone 8 sales are due to shoppers preferring to wait for the iPhone X or something more troubling—like disappointed customers.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Apple. For instance, the company is believed to be making a healthy profit on the sale of each iPhone, further bolstering arguments by industry watchers who believe the iPhone X and iPhone 8 will help Apple reach new financial heights.
This is Fortune’s latest weekly roundup of the biggest Apple news. Here’s last week’s roundup.
- Apple kicked off the week right with the release of an update to its free desktop operating system macOS High Sierra. The software includes several new features, including faster performance, thanks to a new file system that allows for quicker transfer and accessibility of folders. It’s available now as a free download in the Mac App Store. However, some users complained about possible security problems that dampened enthusiasm for the update.
- After its first weekend of availability, the iPhone 8 and its larger alternative, the iPhone 8 Plus, suffered from lower-than-expected demand, according to research firm Localytics. In fact, the iPhone 8’s early estimated sales were lower than for last year’s iPhone 7 in terms of overall share of the iOS market, according to Localytics. Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus, however, attracted a larger share of customers than the iPhone 7 Plus did in its first weekend of availability last year.
- Even if iPhone 8 is having trouble attracting customers, it should still generate a nice profit for Apple excluding assembly and staff costs, among others. According to an IHS Markit report this week, Apple makes $411.06 on the sale of each new iPhone 8, and $510.92 on each iPhone 8 Plus sold excluding those additional costs. Apple, however, hasn’t confirmed iPhone 8 pricing and the amount of profit on individual sales.
- The iPhone 8’s glass back panel will cost customers $99 to fix under the company’s warranty, Apple revealed this week. In comparison, Apple charges $29 to fix an iPhone 8 screen that’s under warranty.
- There is major debate over Apple’s iPhone X. One report this week suggested that iPhone X is suffering from manufacturing problems with its Face ID scanner, and that fewer phones will be available for their November premiere than otherwise expected. That report spooked investors, who sent the company’s shares down more than 1% in one day. But as I explained this week, worries about the iPhone X is overblown and everything will likely be fine.
- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week complained that Apple should turn on the FM frequency chips inside its iPhones to allow users in hurricane-damaged areas listen to radio stations for critical information. The problem, however, is that Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 don’t come with FM radio chips.
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One more thing…Apple’s Beats division is releasing a new, high-end Studio3 Wireless Headphones next month. I’ve been testing them for the last few weeks. Here’s my review. The short version? They’re really, really, really good.