Apple’s next lineup of iPhones, scheduled to be unveiled on September 12, could attract a bunch of customers who previously owned the iPhone 6 and 7 series phones. The expansion of the iPhone X lineup with brand new models and price points may help Apple to reach out to a new set of consumers who were hitherto waiting for an upgrade.
“This year’s Apple event is a departure from the past, with Apple likely to introduce not one, but rather three different iPhones, one of which is an update and the other two are fresh models,” Prabhu Ram, an analyst with CyberMedia Research (CMR), told indianexpress.com over mail. “Apple’s strategy to come up with three new iPhones is a good move to garner more consumers, and grow the iPhone base and revenues,” he added.
The technology company is said to launch three new iPhones this year: a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone Xs, a 6.5-inch OLED iPhone Xs Plus (which might be called the iPhone Xs Max instead) and a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone Xr. Like the $999 iPhone X, all three of the new iPhones will get edge-to-edge displays, alongside a TrueDepth camera system that can be used for Face ID.
Navkender Singh, Associate Research Director – Client Devices and IPDS at IDC India, believes a large base of existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 users would be interested in buying new iPhones as each model will target customers at different price points. With the pricing of the iPhone X, Apple couldn’t attract a wide spectrum of users. But the new iPhone Xs lineup promises to be much more diverse and isn’t limited to one particular model.
“Yes, globally the slight upgrades to iPhone X should help Apple do well because not every iPhone 6 or 7 user upgraded to iPhone X because of price barriers,” he says. “And with a couple of models expected to be launched at less than $1000, we should see a huge Apple base upgrade.”
Singh expects the iPhone Xs could be priced between Rs 85,000 and Rs 95,000, the iPhone Xs Plus between Rs 105,000 and Rs 115,000 and a 6.1-inch LCD version might be launched at a starting price of Rs 65,000, with the top-end model costing Rs 75,000.
Last year, Apple had come in for criticism for its $1000 price tag of the iPhone X. Despite its high pricing, Apple still sold iPhone X in large numbers, which resulted in the company being able to push up its average selling price (ASP) to $724 from $606 a year ago. The new phones could help push the ASP up even more, thus keeping Wall Street happy.
“I anticipate the prices to increase for the 2018 editions, given that Apple’s focus would be on maximising revenue in a saturated market,” Ram said. “At the top end, this would mean the iPhone Xs Plus will raise the bar for the uber premium smartphone segment. Having said that, Apple may still hold some surprises up its sleeve when it comes to pricing,” he added.
For those with a lesser propensity to spend, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone Xr. This model will bring the performance and features of its top of the line model – the iPhone X at a new price point. If the leaks are to be believed, this phone will look exactly like the iPhone X, but come with a 6.1-inch LCD screen over the OLED panel and sport aluminium edges instead of the iPhone X’s stainless steel casing to keep the costs low.
In some ways, the iPhone Xr could be the most exciting smartphone coming from Apple’s stable. The iPhone Xr will likely be positioned between the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Plus. That indicates that the iPhone Xr will be targeted at mainstream users, one that includes existing owners of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 Plus. So don’t expect the iPhone Xr to be inferior in terms of looks and features. Apple’s earlier move to sell a cheaper phone in the iPhone 5c did not work out well.
Both analysts believe the iPhone Xr will be the volume driver out of the three new iPhones. However, Ram warned that Apple could come under pressure to increase sales of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xr in the long run. While iPhone Xs Plus will garner all the attention alongwith the expected initial surge in volumes, he said, the pressure will be on Xs and Xr to ultimately drive volumes.
The new line-up of iPhones will be announced on Wednesday at the company’s Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Alongside the new iPhone Xs series, Apple is also expected to launch the Watch Series 4, AirPods 2, iPad Pros with Face ID, and an updated MacBook Air with latest Intel processors and Retina Display.