The Industry

The iPhone X Didn’t Sell So Terribly After All

CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone X was the most popular smartphone in China.
CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone X was the most popular smartphone in China in the March quarter. AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images

Apple reported stronger than expected sales for the iPhone X during its Q2 earnings call on Tuesday, quelling concerns that consumers were giving a cold shoulder to the premium $1,000 device the company released in November.

CEO Tim Cook reiterated throughout the call that the iPhone X was the best-selling iPhone for each week in the quarter and that it was the most popular smartphone in China. This is the first quarter in Apple’s history in which its top of the line iPhone model was also its most popular model, he said.

In months after the iPhone X’s release, there were rumblings that Apple had seriously miscalculated people’s willingness to buy a $1,000 device. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that demand for the iPhone X was so abysmal that Apple cut production goals for the smartphone in the first quarter from 40 million to 20 million. Orders for certain parts had also been cut by 60 percent, the Journal reported. The Financial Times then reported in February that hundreds of iPhone X users were taking to online forums to complain that their high-tech handsets were fumbling incoming calls, a glitch that Apple pledged to investigate.

Apple’s most recent earnings calls largely put to rest fears that the product was flailing. The company sold 52.2 million iPhones in the quarter, up 3 percent year over year. Revenue from iPhone purchases was up 14 percent year over year to $38 billion, and the average selling price was up 11 percent to $728. While Apple does not release sales numbers for each model, these overall results suggest that the iPhone X was not a flop. However, as Recode points out, the numbers were not high enough to suggest a super cycle of skyrocketing increases in iPhone purchases every other year, which some investors had hoped for.

“The iPhone X is a beloved product,” Cook said in response to an investor question about the sustainability of the device’s price point. “I think that it’s one of those things where like when a team wins the Super Bowl. Maybe you want them to win by a few more points, but it’s a Super Bowl winner. That’s how we feel about it.”