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Tim Cook dunks on iPhone X FUD: Still the best-seller

Prior to Apple's Q2 2018 results, a narrative ran like wildfire through the industry: iPhone X wasn't selling well. It was failing and it would make Apple fail with it. Hard.

It was ill-informed and, frankly, stupid. But publication after publication, person after person, fell for it. Instead:

"Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter. We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20% growth in Greater China and Japan."

That according to Apple's CEO, Time Cook, who also reported iPhone X was the top selling smartphone in China, and Apple had three top-selling phone in total. This following reports Apple was failing in China.

Some might think was politely pointing out how terrible reporting around iPhone X has been. But it's actually been worse than that.

Time and again, analysts and pundits grabbed at myopic supply chain data or rumor to paint a picture of iPhone X being too expensive and of the market rejecting it and, by extension, Apple. And reporters gobbled up and amplified the innuendo because it was sensational and attention-getting.

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Very few stopped and remembered Tim Cook once saying using single pieces of information from the supply chain never resulted in an accurate image of Apple's product performance. Very few stopped and considered that the higher priced iPhone X wouldn't need the numbers of previous flagships to score the same revenue and, if it did get the numbers, the revenue would be even higher. Very few paused to think what the unique three flagship strategy — iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8 — would mean for iPhone X in specific and iPhone as a whole.

This isn't the first time record-breaking Apple revenue has been preceded by record-breaking Apple doomsaying. On the contrary, it happens all the time. Even those who have access to bits of information about Apple don't always have context for the information or insight into how the company works.

But, the negative narratives are sensational enough to garner pundits and the media outlets that regurgitate them ungodly amounts of attention. And they're disruptive enough to let market players manipulate the stock.

It's in everyone's best interests to feed the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). Everyone, but ours — customers and people who simply want an honest, accurate account of how iPhone and Apple are doing.

We deserve better. But, to get it, we have to start demanding it.

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Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

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.

13 Comments
  • The fake news narrative that news outlets tried to push about the iPhone X being lackluster is so funny. This is becoming such a trend it’s a wonder people give those sites any credibility anymore.
  • I bought one, figured I’d help out a struggling Silicon Valley startup.
  • Skipped the x because I want the plus version. Hurry up September. My money is ready.
  • Same, plus I also wanted to wait out any possible problems with the new design/OLED/Face ID which will probably be polished more in the next model.
  • Precisely. I've been (im)patiently waiting.
  • The FUD is part of the tech landscape and this site is just as bad as the others in stoking the flames of it (that S9 performance article from a few weeks ago was particularly silly). Apple continues to perform brilliantly in the mobile world and the 8 series is definitely the best handsets they've ever created. What a lot of financial analysts were concerned about is the number of Xs still sitting in inventory, and the reduction in forecasts in supply chain. This is not FUD, this is the kind of scrutiny that any large multibillion dollar publicly trading company is subjected to.
  • The X is a good phone, just not quite as messianic as Rene et al suggest. I briefly had an X as a loan unit for a stolen 8 Plus. The screen is quitr excellent but I found the notch to be highly irritating and Face ID failed at least 4 out of 10 times (I only had it for a week so it didn't have long to learn my chiseled good looks so it would probably improve in time). The front facing camera is the best I've used on a phone, but the rear one was notably worse than my other phone (Pixel 2XL). The overall size of the phone is spot on though, and made me realise how clunky my 8 Plus was when my new one arrived. Still glad it doesn't have a notch though.
  • The X is a great phone providing you don't mind the notch. I've seen plenty of iPhone X's out in the wild, so clearly people are very happy with the device. Besides, what does this have to do with the article anyway?
  • Almost everyone I know, and most people I see around, have iPhones. I have yet to see a single iPhone X in the wild.
  • Ridiculing the doomsayers missed the point. These negative comments are deliberate efforts to drive the share price down ahead of earnings. This panicks a section of shareholders to sell, driving the price down. At this point, the instigators of this systematic scam swoop in, hoover up the shares which inevitably rise after the earnings call. If this isn't illegal manipulation, it should be.
  • That tin foil hat looks good on you.
  • Follow the money. If the pattern isn’t obvious, remove blinkers.
  • Never added up to me. I have been using my X since launch day and its been a pleasure to use. All my friends who own one agree. Now, many people balked at the higher price and went for the 8 and its more traditional home button lay out. As pointed out in the article, thats actually the brilliance of Apples strategy. If they can get 20-30% of Iphone users to upgrade to an X, they realize a revenue gain the wouldnt have had other wise.