Apple says the iPhone XR is its best-selling phone, but doesn’t provide sales figures

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak has commented in an interview with CNET that the iPhone XR has “been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available,” seemingly in an attempt to downplay analyst reports earlier this week that the iPhone XR was performing worse than Apple had intended.

It’s the first official word from Apple as to how the new iPhones are performing. It arrives at a time when the company’s lineup now includes its priciest phones ever — even the “budget” $750 XR costs more than any base model iPhone ever has — along with reports of slashed shipment orders earlier this month that have led to concerns that sales may be down.

And while the XR may in fact be Apple’s best-selling iPhone, the issue is that Apple isn’t giving any hard numbers as to how many iPhones it’s selling. Without concrete data, there’s no way to know if the XR is a runaway success or just selling better than even weaker numbers for the pricier XS and XS Max. Both of the pricier phones are just updated versions of last year’s X, suggesting they could be selling worse than expected, making the XR’s sales seem stronger in comparison.

That said, while there’s plenty of speculation as to Apple’s iPhone future, there may not be real reason for concern, at least where Apple is concerned. After all, there were similar reports of cut down shipment orders before with last year’s iPhone X, that ultimately turned out to have resulted in drastically increased revenue for the company despite flatter unit sales. And Apple’s strategy in general has seemed to shift toward selling fewer, more lucrative devices than a race to the bottom, which may not be a bad thing.

Unfortunately, chances are that the industry and Wall Street will have to get used to this kind of iPhone uncertainty. Even if revenue is up when Apple announces its next quarterly earnings, it’ll be hard to make a judgement call as to how well the new iPhones are really doing, seeing as Apple decided not to reveal unit sales for its devices going forward.


Smart move by Apple. They know the iPhone is reaching saturation point. And it can’t be the source of growth year over year much longer. That will come from the Services Division.
iCloud, iTunes, Apple Music and whatever they have planned for TV and Apple Books.

Exactly. Which is why I’m disappointed that the base model new phone (XR) was priced high. I kinda hoped they maintained pricing on that one and more than cover up the shrinking ASPs and/or slowing upgrade cycles with revenue from services.

There’s a problem with that model though… Services growth will always be limited by the number of devices. If Apple keeps selling fewer, higher priced models, there will be a smaller install base to extract Services revenue from.

I’m sure Tim Cook knows what he’s doing better than I do, but I’m starting to see some red flags that Apple are thinking short term to continue propping up their shareholders’ unquenchable desire for ‘more’ off the back of a decade of insane growth. If Tim admits things have hit a wall, shareholders should accept it, but they won’t and he’ll be out of a job!

The install base is healthy because of older models and the refurb market. IPhone X, 8, and 7 are still available new at a lower price point. People can and do afford them, just not the latest model therefore the latest model figures don’t reflect install base.

Hw didn’t say anything about the latest model reflecting install base, he said services would be restricted by the number of units sold. Refurbs are only available if people are buying new phones.

And why anyone would buy a 7 or an 8 with their terrible screen ratio is beyond me!

Must be nice to be able to not consider price.

Because believe it or not but there’s the vast, vast majority of the general public that doesn’t care about stupid shit like screen ratio.

Side note: screen ratio? That’s your critique? Not resolution but the ratio? LOL

I think the importance of the refurb and secondary market is very under reported. Apple now sells refurb units on it’s own website. I suspect that is why apple focused ios12 on speeding up older devices. If you want to grow your services, it helps to have as many iphones up and running as possible. When i was last in India most of the iphones my colleagues were using were refurbs.

Well there is over 1 Billion Apple Devices sold.
It will be awhile before negative device sales
really effect revenue.
So there should be enough time for Apple to come up with new types of devices.

If Apple sold this with a 1080p display for $500 this would’ve been a smash hit. It’s a budget phone with a high end phone price.

The display resolution isn’t a significant issue. It’s still a better display than most LCDs

But not OLED, and that’s a problem. How many flagships are using LCD these days? I agree that resolution is not a problem. The display looks pretty good by itself, but it’s color and vibrance pale by comparison to OLED.

There are many people, including me, who prefer LCD

Do you have anyway to back this up?

Do a search.

I think the color on the iPhone XR is as good as the X and XS. The only downfall in regards to color is black levels, and I don’t find those truly noticeable except at night. And using them side by side for several hours a couple weeks ago, I was truly impressed by the XR’s screen. It’s vibrant, but not over saturated. At the distance I use a phone the pixels aren’t even close to visible.

I’m just not sure how anyone can argue that it’s a budget phone that should be sold at budget prices when the only thing "budget" about it really isn’t.

I used the Xs for two weeks before swapping to the Xr. Literally the only times the Xs is superior is viewing photos and websites/ apps that use dark mode.
Anything else LCD is as good if not better.

I was also impressed at how good the screen was on the XR. I want that amazing battery life and 3D Touch though.

The Xr has great battery life.
Miss 3D Touch though

Yeah… I’ve compared my 8 plus to my co workers XR… the screen is ridiculously bad… for a 750 USD phone… seriously!

I call bullshit.

LCD screens have no problem; the user is only seeing a difference in the night, but even then, it’s minimum.
OLED is better for media consumption while LCD is better for office workload.

OLED isn’t that good for fast moving model either.

The difference is only apparent when you hold it side by side with an OLED display. Which I think people would do for a few minutes before buying and never do again.

Apparently it’s of lower quality than the LCD found in the iPhone 8, however.

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