back to article How do you like them Apples? Tim Cook's iPhones sitting in the tree, feeling unloved by the Chinese

Apple's iPhone sales volumes in the strategic Chinese market slumped by double digits in Q4 – the firm's seasonally biggest quarter – as buyers opted for homegrown hardware makers' handsets. CEO Tim Cook warned at the start of January that Cupertino's mobile phone revenue for Q1 of fiscal '19 ended 29 December were likely to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... Tim Cook's claims that the latest flagship models are the best the company has "ever shipped" sound a little hollow."

    Well you would hope that is completely true. The latest devices must surely be the best they have shipped with only the term 'best' being in dispute based upon personal preferences. It's not exactly a mighty claim is it?

    1. Eddy Ito

      Exactly. Improving only 0.5% would make it the "best" but it doesn't mean it's sufficiently better to get people to splash so much cash for an upgrade.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But not the best value, obviously.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tim Cook's iPhones sitting in the tree, feeling unloved by the Chinese,

    It's not just the Chinese, buying my own mobile network and phone factory is looking tempting as a low cost alternative.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The only thing the XR has going for it over the 8, is that it will take two SIMs. But it still has a fucking notch. So, unless you're heavily invested in the walled garden, and the Chinese have their own walls, there are lots of reasons to go with one of the much cheaper copycats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        there are lots of reasons to go with one of the much cheaper copycats

        Many of which have copycat notches, although most enable you to "turn off" the notch.

        My current phone is a Pocophone, and that has a notch, and you can turn it off. When I first saw the Apple version, I thought "what a stupid idea", but in day to day use, that objection has degraded to "meh", and ICBA to even go into settings to turn it off. YMMV.

  3. djstardust

    What did they expect?

    Very little innovation and greatly increased prices .... with a smattering of Apple arrogance thrown in.

    Same will happen too in Western markets when people realise they simply aren't worth the money.

    The ecosystem lockin is the only thing that keeps people buying .... but like living with an abusive partner you will get to the point where you want to break free.

    I wouldn't be buying Apple stock right now.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What did they expect?

      What is the addage? Buy on the rumour, sell on the news.? Or is it the other way round? Basically, as a retail investor you're screwed anyway and should stick to low-fee indexed funds.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: What did they expect?

      There is also that one can get one "almost" as good a couple of revisions back for 10% of the current price. They are nice phones for many, they'd be freakin' awesome at £75.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm going to set up a gofundme page...

    ...help me buy all the iPhones the Chinese refuse to! Together, readers, we can save Apple!

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Huawei

    I hear the Chinese are buying Huawei phones instead of Apple, as a middle-finger to the treatment of Huawei by the West.

    You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huawei

      Completely true, even worse, Apple China (according to Chinese relatives), put out an Ad dissing Huawei; and the Chinese DO NOT LIKE foreign devils dissing Chinese brands.

      I am surprised that they sold that many; I would REALLY like to see a monthly breakdown, because I didnt see a single iDevice on sale in China during my 3 week stay over Christmas.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huawei

      Yes between the trade war and Huawei bashing in the west (whether deserved or not) Apple has a big hill to climb to sell phones there when patriotic Chinese will want to support their own brands.

      If the situation was reversed and say South Korea was picking a trade war with the US initiating tariffs and threatening even larger tariffs, and they were looking to ban sales of iPhones locally, I can imagine that there would be a pretty good sized backlash against Samsung in the US and help sales of phones from US companies like iPhones and Pixels.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Huawei

        >when patriotic Chinese will want to support their own brands.

        Its not helping Apple that the patriotic Chinese option is not only as good or better technically than the Blingfone but also a good bit cheaper.

  6. BigAndos

    iPhones have just gotten too expensive. I thought about going back to iPhone as I'm fed up with Android makers abandoning you after one major OS update (if you're lucky) but just couldn't justify the price. They are a nice bit of kit but just not worth those prices in terms of the utility you get.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      abandoning you after one major OS update

      Buy a Xiaomi, they support the phones for a long time.

      How long? I dont know, my oldest Xiaomi phone is only 5 years old.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Samsung?

      My Note 3 got it's last update possibly in November. Granted, it has not had an Oreo OS update, and is on older OS because of that. But it got updates.

      Remember, you *are* comparing a top price Apple phone to a bottom priced Android here right? As who making an Android set does not update their flagship phones for customers?

  7. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Overpriced

    You can buy the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 with 6GB RAM and 128GB ROM for £330 (including 20% tax) from Amazon UK. This model has a Snapdragon 845 SOC making it one of the fastest Android phones. Comparing this to the latest Apple Iphones

    Camera - Iphone is somewhat better in low light

    Display - Iphone OLED display is a bit better than the F1 IPS display

    Wireless charging and NFC - only on the Iphone

    Headset socket - only on the F1

    Back - Glass on Iphone Plastic on F1

    Games performance - the latest Apple SOC is somewhat faster than the Snapdragon 845

    SD card - only on the F1

    PRICE - the F1 costs £330 the Iphone X with 256GB costs £949

    So for less than $100 dollars difference in manufacturing cost, Apple wants a markup of over $790.

    I think that customers are waking up to the fact that Apple's phones are way overpriced and this is the main reason behind the fall in sales.

    1. jgarbo

      Re: Overpriced

      Hang on, no S-Pen? Without the S, any phone is only a phone, no matter how shiny.

    2. bengoey49

      Re: Overpriced

      To be fair you should compare the the price of the Pocophone to Iphone XR 128GB price ( £799 ).

      Also to be considered is the fact that Pocophone has very limited LTE bands which covers Europe and most of Asia compared , Iphone XR has wider LTE Bands cover to include the US LTE Bands. I usually leave my Pocophone at home ( UK ) when I go to the US and take my Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact.

      There were complaints that the latest Iphones have poor RF Performance / Signal Reception after they were launched last September, I wonder whether it has been sorted out.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overpriced

      >PRICE - the F1 costs £330 the Iphone X with 256GB costs £949

      £312 when I just looked now but hey that's Amzon's pricing algorithms, up and down like a tart's draws and it will probably have gone back up the next time I look.

    4. Tomato Krill

      Re: Overpriced

      I'm not sure that's what you mean; a 128GB ROM wouldn't be very useful in a mobile phone...

    5. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Overpriced

      I agree with your point but you are missing a few costs that Apple incur:

      Service, warranty and sales support in the country of purchase.

      A working mobile payments infrastructure via NFC

      A proven software patching program running over multiple years.

      (maybe) marginally less bug ridden software.

      Now for £279 you can get all of the above with an Honor 10..... thats a more painful comparison still.

      (Except maybe the marginally less bug ridden software - Im betting the Poco is similar to the Honor 10 in that respect). MIUI vs EMUI is probably much of a muchness.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: Overpriced

        Err, Xiaomi have had UK based repairs (via Ali Express), for at least 18 months, probably 2+ years, and now have UK based sales.

        You can opt for weekly or even nightly updates if you are brave enough to load beta versions.

        NFC ? meh; in 2 years, only had one customer ask if we took Apple pay, exactly the same number who have asked if we take Android pay and if we take US non Chip and Pin credit cards.

        (Answer to all three was "yes").

        Proven patching system? see my earlier post; you can even refuse to allow the update if you want; and can choose where, when and how it is downloaded.

        Less bug ridden?? I think that is a personal call, but at least the bugs get fixed, and not blamed on how you are holding it. The last Xiaomi bug that got me irritated was one that made the main camera go blurry, and that was fixed by going back to the previous ROM version for a few months, until Xiaomi fixed the issue.

        Wife has a new Mate 20 Pro, at almost Apple prices, the update process better be damned smooth.

  8. SuperG
    Devil

    No tears for Apple. If they're really hungry, they can up their prices again and tax their fanboys again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry that's in hand. With the expected move to USB C, every loyal fanbois is going to have to fork out for new leads.

      Surely nobody of any brain expects any old USB C lead is going to work on an Apple device?

      For Sale: Genuine Apple USB C super-dooper charging cable, cures all know ills, required to charge iPhone XI. Only £30, plus P&P.

  9. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Happy

    Dear Tim Cook,

    Cut the price of all Apple products by 20% and then we talk.

    Regards/Ex-iPhone User

    1. djstardust

      I was thinking 50%, but then I'm a tight Aberdonian.

  10. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Asking for a friend...

    Just asking a question for a friend... if one was to want to move away from Apple devices to another manufacturer, are there any out there that are viewed as being more security conscious rather than just plumbing for a bog standard Android???

    Asking the question another way... are there any phones out there that put security and privacy at the front and centre of their offering?

    Thanks. My friend will be delighted to hear your responses.

    1. Tomato Krill

      Re: Asking for a friend...

      I'm not 100% but my guess is the best answer is anything that'll run LineageOS?

      Or BlackBerry, they were making noises about privacy and security?

    2. nkuk

      Re: Asking for a friend...

      They're pretty niche these days but Blackberry still put security front and centre.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Asking for a friend...

      Asking the question another way... are there any phones out there that put security and privacy at the front and centre of their offering?

      Any non-smartphone, for a start.

      If you're thinking of a smartphone, no matter what model is chosen, you really need to avoid the main Google version of Android, and ensure that no Google apps or services are loaded - which probably means not being able to access anything only available through Google Play. You need to use a non Google browser, set to use DuckDuckGo or other semi-secure search engine, you'd ideally need to configure a VPN, and disable all types of backup and sync functionality. And of course you'd need to avoid Facebook, and make sure that only apps you approve of have access to things like your contacts, location data, media, browsing history (so no Amazon app, for example). And even if you pay for an app (eg to avoid Google Maps), it doesn't mean the paid app won't collect data - look at the permissions for Tom Tom GPS Navigation Traffic.

      It isn't a good situation, but if you REALLY want privacy, then the smartphone user experience is a lot more constrained than you might wish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Gimp

        Re: Asking for a friend...

        THIS for privacy, but for out of the box security, Xiaomi phones come with a remote tracking and IMIE blocking options if stolen/lost, and back up to their own cloud for data that means you can sync your replacement phone quickly and easily.

        You also get "Second Space" which allows you to hide/separate programs/data etc, that you may not want seen. useful if you use your own phone for personal and business use.

        (Xiaomi Fanboi)

  11. Slx

    Whatever about the iPhone, I bought a current generation MacBook Pro and I've gone back to using my previous one. It has the worst keyboard I've ever used. I literally can't work on the damn machine. It's like typing on a keyboard made entirely of mouse click buttons.

    Apple seems to be slipping in terms of innovation and quality control of designs. I don't honestly believe they'd have released machines as flawed as these and it's enough to send me shopping around for a PC.

  12. Portent

    It's not just phones either. Take a look around next time you're in Starbucks and you'll notice that the sea of Macbooks has diminished to a small puddle. The number of Windows laptops is increasing.

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