Apple might retire iPhone X next year... just like it did iPhone 5 in 2013

KGI Securities financial analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a history of getting information out of Apple's supply chain, has clarified an earlier "prediction" about Apple's 2018 product line.

According to MacRumors, which obtained a copy of Kuo's note:

iPhone X would hurt product brand value & lineup of 2H18 new models if it continues to sell at a lower price after 2H18 new models launch: Lowering iPhone X's price after the 2H18 new models launch would be a negative to product brand value given 3D sensing and OLED display are features of the new high-price model. Additionally, to sell iPhone X at a lower price may have a negative impact on shipments of the new 6.1" LCD iPhone in 2H18. Thus, we estimate iPhone X will reach end-of-life (EOL) around the middle of 2018.

Often, in the Apple rumor space, the what gets conflated with the why. Someone comes across some information and instead of just reporting the information, it gets spun into a larger narrative that, at times, is partially or completely out of context. Multiply that through a chain of broken reblogs, and hilarity can and often does ensue.

Back in 2013, Apple chose not to follow its typical strategy and reduce the price of iPhone 5 by $100 to sit below the new, flagship iPhone 5s. Instead, Apple introduced iPhone 5c. It was a product that better suited the market and manufacturing goals Apple had at the time.

(In 2016, Apple did the same with the original Apple Watch: It was retired in favor of Apple Watch Series 1, which was introduced alongside the new, flagship Apple Watch Series 2.)

2018 could easily be similar to 2013, where iPhone X gives way to the new, cheaper LED form factor that better suits the market and manufacturing goals (and realities), which then sits beneath the new, flagship iPhone XI devices (whatever Apple calls the second generation and larger size versions.)

Apple doesn't set out to make one or two or three new iPhones in a year. The company sets out to make the best product line up. Often that entails keeping the previous year's device on the market at a slightly reduced price. But not always.

Forget competing for customer attention — or OLED supply. If Apple really wants to offer a less-expensive and larger sized edge-to-edge iPhone as part of this year's product line up, then retiring current iPhone X to make way for it is the way to do it.

(Let's just hope it finds higher attraction among its intended customer base than iPhone 5c did.)

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

14 Comments
  • I hope they mean just the name etc and not the actual features. I don’t think I could ever go back to living in a world with buttons on my phones screen and Touch ID.
  • If this were true I would actually welcome it. I would make the iPhone X feel a bit special.It was the tenth anniversary iPhone so we only did it for that year. I don't want the features it brought to the table to be restricted to only that phone though
  • There is no reason to remove the fingerprint reader *and not add one* on the back. I shouldn't have to "trust" that Apple isn't using the face info at other times. Unless the source is 100% open, and audited, I just have to "trust" that Apple isn't using it. Let alone that it can't get a great read on me as I have a beard to start with. Edit: Added stuff between the asterisks
  • Give it up.
    Apple will not put Touch ID in the back of the device.
    They will either keep it in the iPhone classic series (7,8,9 ...) as is, or completely replace it with Face ID in the iPhone X series.
    They clearly believe that Face ID is the future and it’s already proven accurate.
    You want multiple (confusing) authentication methods, look Samsung ‘s way.
  • Agreed. FaceID is the future going forward.
  • I hope do an SE Plus for headphone jack and Touch ID lovers… hey, stop laughing! I said "hope" not "think" there.
  • Totally agree. Face ID is the future... and probably for the Mac, too, not just iPhones and iPads.
  • So the iPhone lineup this Fall could potentially look like following: • iPhone SE: $349
    • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: $449 and $549
    • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: $549 and $649
    • 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID: $699 or $799
    • 5.8-inch second-generation iPhone X: $999
    • 6.5-inch second-generation iPhone X Plus: $1,099
  • And here I thought they can't get more expensive...but yeah, I forgot that they can and will.
  • A. While Kuo's track record is better than most, he's not omniscient. He's actually wrong sometimes. Maybe it's my part of the world, but what I see a lot of in the wild are X's, very few 8s. In three weeks or so, we get the numbers at the next quarterly report. So at the moment, I'm real skeptical about the report.
    B. Someone with knowledge correct me, but at this point Apple knows exactly what 2018 models are.
    C. I love my X, Face ID and the gestures replacing the home button. FWIW/YMMV.
  • Kuo's "insider information" comes from sources at the supply chain level. It's never 100% accurate but better than most analysts. It's true Apple knows at this point what the iPhone lineup will be come this Fall and that will be somewhat reflected in the components that manufacturers are building from now till the September. The next financial conference call is February 1st, so very soon you'll have your answer.
  • A 6.1 inch iPhone? Wow. How many iPhone X Plus (5.8 inch screen) users are there who wish the screen was a little bit larger than it already is now?
  • Myself for one. Actually it’s not even the screen that would matter to me, rather it’s the possibility of Apple keeping the dimensions of an iPhone # Plus series and simply using the real estate of the # Plus series to cover up the screen. Even if the iPhone X actually caught my attention, I still wouldn’t get because it’s still the size of an iPhone 6/7/8 overall.
  • I think iPhone X is a one-time special edition name for the 10th anniversary iPhone. There isn't going to be an iPhone XI and iPhone X is not going to continue as the name moving forward. And there won't be an iPhone 9... that would be a step backwards and that is not where Apple is going! The only path forward forward for naming that I can see, is to simply refer to them as iPhone and iPhone Plus, with the model year to differentiate future versions, just like the iMac and MacBook.