Why Tim Cook is ‘thrilled’ Apple just made smartphones boring

Death needs time for what it kills to grow in: Why a lackluster iPhone 8 response means Apple’s X appeal is stronger than ever.

Apple, iPhone, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Tim Cook, smartphones

Apple has achieved something very smart: It has positioned the iPhone X as the new smartphone equivalent of an Aston Martin, making every other smartphone on the planet (including its own) boring. That’s why iPhone 8 sales are slack. Millions already want to spend $1,000 on the “future of smartphones.”

iPhone 8 sales reports

We’ve seen worldwide reports that the traditional queues outside Apple retail stores were lackluster for iPhone 8/Plus compared to previous iPhone releases.

  • A poll on my own small Apple-focused website reveals that 57 percent of respondents waiting for an iPhone X with just c.10 percent purchasing an iPhone 8. This broadly reflects polls elsewhere.
  • Slice Intelligence last week revealed its data that showed the first five days of iPhone 8 pre-orders were 78 percent lower than we’ve seen subsequent to other launches.
  • KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has called iPhone 8 sales “sluggish” on strength of pent-up demand for the iPhone X.

Localytics latest data also confirm this narrative.

“While new iPhone launches typically generate large crowds waiting to get into the Apple Store, it has been reported that crowds were much smaller for the latest devices.

“As the Wall Street Journal noted, slow adoption on the iPhone 8 may actually be a good sign for Apple and an indication of potentially strong interest in the iPhone X.”

They claim that iOS 11 adoption (at 22 percent) lags all previous iOS releases back to iOS 8 in terms of adoption within the first six days and that iPhone 8 adoption to be way lower than that of previous iPhones.

What's thrilling about low iPhone 8 sales?

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he is “thrilled” with how the iPhone 8 is being received.

How come?

I’d argue that he’s thrilled because reception so far shows how big a deal the iPhone X is going to be when it launches at the end of October.

“It will be interesting to see how adoption for the iPhone 8 models and iOS 11 continue to play out over the next few weeks. Apple is betting big on the iPhone X, and so far it looks like consumers may be doing the same,” said Localytics.

Apple users are waiting with a great deal of pent-up excitement for the company to introduce iPhone X.

This is the case everywhere, including in China.

Of course, that reality hasn’t reached some pundits in the reality-distorting Apple hate media. They will be proved wrong this year. Again.

Another shift: iPhone 8 Plus sales increase

Apple’s success in building hype around iPhone X has had another impact — iPhone 8 Plus sales are up.

Localytics claims that while the 7 Plus secured 0.2 percent share across its first weekend on sale in 2016 and the 6 Plus grabbed 0.3 percent in 2015, the 8 Plus has already taken 0.4 percent. That’s quite interesting.

My take?

Consumers who can’t wait for a new device are opting for the 8 Plus because its balance of features and excellent camera make it hugely attractive in comparison to the iPhone 8 and to the as-yet-unavailable iPhone X.

The iPhone 8 series camera has already been called the best-performing smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested.

Not only that, but there’s little doubt consumers are attracted by the sheer power of the A11 processor used in 8, 8 Plus and X series iPhones.

Don’t ignore the twist here: All this year’s crop of iPhones make mincemeat of all competing devices in performance terms, meaning iPhone 8's are already better devices than anything else that's on the market. Except the iPhone X.

And that's the point.

Apple's challenge

Apple’s challenge will be to ensure that it is able to manufacture enough units of the new iPhone X to satisfy huge pent-up demand.

What will happen if it fails?

Will we see growing interest in the iPhone 8 devices as the company works to remind them that those systems are also rather good? Or will Apple’s loyal customers simply stick with their existing devices in hope of better availability in future?

Wait and see.

Are you waiting on an iPhone X? Read this handy guide to help you get one of the first devices once they do go on sale.  

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