Apple Gets Re-Crushed: New iPhone Prices Too Damn High?

Time for some hefty share buybacks.

Apple suppliers are talking and filling in some details on demand for iPhones. And shares of Apple dropped another 4% mid-morning, after having dropped 6.6% on Friday, after it had reported revenues and earnings Thursday evening. Earnings and revenues rose sharply in the quarter, but only on price increases, not on increased device sales. This was spiced with an iffy forecast for holiday sales and the announcement that it would stop releasing unit-sales data for iPhones, Macs, and iPads to throw a merciful veil over the situation.

On Friday and Monday morning, market cap has plunged by about $100 billion. Shares are now down 14% from their closing price of $232.07 on October 3:

It’s tough out there in the smartphone market – and that’s what Apple has become dependent on. The market is mature. Overall global shipments in 2017 were flat and are expected to inch down this year, according to IDC. In this environment, sales increases come down to a zero-sum market share battle, and Apple’s high prices appear to not be very helpful in that respect.

“Apple has signaled disappointing demand for the new iPhone XR” that started selling in October, the Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning, citing sources from three Apple smartphone assemblers, headquartered in Taiwan: Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry), Pegatron, and Wistron.

Apple told Foxconn and Pegatron to halt plans for additional iPhone XR production lines, the sourced told the Nikkei:

“For the Foxconn side, it first prepared nearly 60 assembly lines for Apple’s XR model, but recently uses only around 45 production lines as its top customer said it does not need to manufacture that many by now,” a source familiar with the situation said.

According to the source, Foxconn would produce 20% to 25% fewer units (or about 100,000 fewer units per day) than the “original optimistic outlook.”

Apple supplier Pegatron, according to the Nikkei, “is suspending plans to ramp up production and awaiting further instructions from Apple, a supply chain source said.”

“The utilization for the XR production is not reaching its maximum capacity now,” the source added.

Wistron, a smaller Apple supplier, was asked to stand by for rush orders, but has received no orders for the iPhone XR for this holiday season, according to Nikkei’s sources.

This puts another big damper on hopes for breath-taking iPhone XR sales this holiday season. Among the new models, this is the less outrageously expensive one, compared to the iPhone XS and high-end XS Max.

Instead, customers appear to go for the older and less expensive iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models, for which the key suppliers are respectively Pegatron and Foxconn. The Nikkei:

“Suppliers of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are getting a combined order of around 5 million more units,” one source said. Apple previously planned 20 million units for the older iPhone models this quarter, but raised the figure to 25 million units, the individual said.

The Nikkei added:

The Silicon Valley company prepared more cautiously for production this year, looking to avoid severe inventory corrections later. Apple asked suppliers to prepare 20% fewer components for this year’s new iPhones compared with last year. The company is now reviewing iPhone demand weekly to adjust orders quickly in response to the market, a source said.

Price does matter, it seems. Apple has done exceedingly well positioning and marketing its products at prices that are often far higher than those of its competition. This has produced enormous sales at big-fat profit margins, leading at the peak to a $1 trillion market capitalization, and you can’t blame the company for its ingenious strategy of using its excellent and innovative products to relentlessly wring out enthusiastic consumers to the maximum possible.

But this strategy appears to have its limits in a mature or even declining market for smartphones, where the zero-sum battle for market share with Chinese and Korean smartphone makers is also fought on price.

So now is the time for Apple to step in and blow some serious money on buying back its own shares, to get them to turn around, for crying out loud.

Here’s the myth of the share-buyback “blackout period” and the real price of “unlocking value.” Read…  Where the Heck are Share Buybacks in This Rotten Market?

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  106 comments for “Apple Gets Re-Crushed: New iPhone Prices Too Damn High?

  1. Nick says:

    Who the hell has $1000+ to spend on a phone every few years and how much damn technology and apps etc. do you need or even use in a phone. This is why the stupid cellphone industry has gone to “leasing” phones. I mean my god……..there is something wrong with an economy when you can “lease” everything from shirts to cellphones. Our economy is so reliant on debt and credit……..good luck. With the help of the FED we have created a permanent economy based on cheap money. The crash is going to be EPIC!!!!!!

    • Dan Romig says:

      In April, my five year old HTC phone no longer ran one of the apps needed for my business because of its older Android OS. Otherwise it worked perfectly.

      The best solution was to by an HTC Bolt from Amazon that was refurbished for $140. And even though this is a legitimate business expense for my accountant to deduct at tax-time, I am not into forking out a thousand or so bucks for the latest and greatest iPhone XS Max.

      • Joe says:

        I’m still running a Galaxy Note 1. Since the batteries are iffy, I have internet access turned off most of the time. It’s good enough for calls and texts which is about all I use it for.

      • Jos Oskam says:

        Couldn’t you install LineageOS on your old HTC? For me this has proven to be a very nice way of ressurrecting old phones with good hardware that were only obsoleted because they no longer received Android updates. See .

        • Dan Romig says:

          I did go to my local Sprint store and asked their tech to see if he could install the newer version of the app I needed, and he was not able to do it. The OS was Android 4.1.1 on my EVO phone from 2013.

          I was not aware that there may be a way to update Android on older phones …

          The Bolt runs Android 7.0

          The funny thing is Sprint would not sell me a phone at their store for a buyout price; they would only sell me one on a payment plan. Online, you could buy one with no monthly payments.

    • RangerOne says:

      Who buys phones on a payment plan? Here you have your answer. Like leasing a car, some people just get used to always paying for a phone :/

      In fairness phones can start to run into minor issues pretty early just given their heavy usage and chance of repeat accidents. So phones will never last quit as long as tablets or worse PCs.

      Which is good if you are hoping for steady device turnover.

      • raxadian says:

        Never last? My Nokia N8 still works quite well, is just that most apps haven been updated in years so I mostly use it as a MP3 player and to tke pictures nowadays.

    • Tang says:

      I should be the champ. Still using a htc small footprint for calls and texting. Given free as a bundle 11 years ago.
      Another htc given 8 years ago also free. Use this for whatsapps. Very careful with charging them. Batteries both original and still running good. The batteries are no more available.

    • Jaco says:

      We have spots all over the local radio stations here advertising financing for tanning salon packages.

      So in essence to offer financing for a package of tans and other spa treatments, they almost have to believe the prospective customer has exceeded their borrowing capacity through conventional means.

      Very telling.

    • MaryR says:

      I agree that price is way too high but it isn’t just price. The phone is so large it will no longer fit in the average man’s pockets, whether cargo pants or shirts.

      My husband will not buy one for this reason alone.

      I won’t buy based on price.

      It’s a lose-lose for Apple….

  2. I know nothing, but isn’t this what happens? After consumers resist paying full retail the providers step up with bundle incentives? They eat the higher cost and Apple wholesales to them? So far this market looks a lot like late 2012 and 2013 was up 25% off those lows.

  3. medialAxis says:

    Didn’t Buffet buy some Apple? And followed it, of late, by buying himself (well, Berkshire Hathaway)? Interesting times?

    • Sofa King says:

      I believe he also called the iPhone “enormously underpriced” at $1000.00

      I guess Tim Cook ran with it…

      My question is: Doesn’t Apple’s defiance of the theory that the cost of Technology goes down over time screw with the Feds inflation philosophy?

    • polecat says:

      A bite from a poison Apple ??

      I think they’re rotten to the core .. like just about all high tech nowadays !

    • MCH says:

      But speaking of Berkshire,the old dude is buying back his shares too. I think Wolf is having an influence, granted, it’s only a paltry 12 billion, but hey, it’s happening. Wolf gets the credit, pounding so hard on buybacks that he managed to even convince old man Buffet.

      Influence gained…

  4. Howard Fritz says:

    Apple has always fascinated me with its ability to sell subpar gear and at a markup and the yuppies eat it up. Nonetheless, this business model wherein they’ve become a status symbol while older models are more reasonably priced appears to have worked phenomenally well for them. I doubt the death knell will sound for them anytime soon but I wonder how will they compete when China can make the identically performing phones at a third of the price.

    • Marcus says:

      I’m not trying to pick a typical online slap fight over apple products, but my experience is simply different. Every time I’ve bought a new phone or laptop, I have researched extensively to get the highest customer rated and highest tech rated products. This resulted in some great phones like the HTC One which I loved and a fantastic Samsung Series 9 laptop. Both just stellar.

      Then, I decided to test the waters and got an iPhone 8 and MacBook Pro. My forehead is probably black and blue from smacking myself over not doing this a long time ago. Apple is simply much much much better. It’s not just the cross-device integration (which I love), it’s the steady high level performance without the odd slow downs or glitches that always buggered my other devices occasionally. My apple stuff works at a high level 100% of the time.

      But, I’ll not buy another phone or laptop until these are on death’s door. I think the problem is that phones are getting too good. The marginal improvements simply don’t matter if you are staying in the same product line.

      • RangerOne says:

        There is little doubt that in regards to hardware and software quality control Apple tends to get the highest marks. The extra control they posses over their environment means that their quality and experience are far more consistent than any other platform.

        They don’t get slowdowns as often because their OS’s and software are tailor made to run on a very specific set of hardware. Their hardware is priced for quality and they only build a small variety of hardware to ensure they can focus on a few good designs instead of a more shotgun approach from companies like Samsung.

        The primary reason I generally do not use Apple and I think the biggest thing you sacrifice by using them is and always has been flexibility.

        From apples software to its hardware, everything is designed with the philosophy of, you don’t get a choice of how to do things. Apple knows which way you should be doing things. I personally cant stand this and its why I am willing to suffer through using slightly buggier products that offer me more choice in how I setup and use them.

        • JZ says:

          I solve this by using apple to run virtual machines. Much more reliable than OS running on other hardwares. Reliability and stability is good. Gaming sucks.

        • Jim says:

          To the contrary, I find that Apple has one of the most open OSes since they switched to Unix – and that long time ago. Most free tools from Unix/Linux world simply run out of the box on OS X. And whatever is missing can be easily installed using tools like “brew”. This is simply impossible under windows platform, the one that is truly closed. Of course android, being another star of Unix universe, is even more open, but it lacks some discipline in my view, which is totally a matter of preference.

    • intosh says:

      Subpar gear based on what facts? Care to substantiate the claim?

      I think the phone prices are just ridiculous but I can recognize great tech when I see it. Do you even know a bit about the micro-processors powering these new iPhones? Do some research and tell me how subpar they are.

      “Identically performing” only if you’ve never used both. Samsung and Google have been at it for a long time and still their phones are not yet on par in terms of polished and consistent user experience. End-to-end control of the product, from hardware to software to services, gives Apple a unique advantage over Android manufacturers. Their mobile micro-processors dominance by a landslide is just one of the glaring manifestations of this advantage.

    • fajensen says:

      Apple has always fascinated me with its ability to sell subpar gear and at a markup and the yuppies eat it up

      Sorry to disagree, but, the Apple hardware (and software) is the best available that consumers can figure out buying and using.

      It’s not just the design.

      People here tested running numeric simulations in a VMware Linux image on a MacBook Pro. Those ran 6 times faster than doing the same work on the theoretical much faster Dell Xeon box procured to do this with.

      Conclusion after several trials was that VMware and Apple must know some deep tricks on eking performance out of thermally- and memory- limited hardware whereas the likes of Dell kinda slaps something together and if it runs Windows, it is good and it ships.

      Sure, one can also buy the “pro” HP hardware, run FreeBSD (or VMWare vSphere Hypervisor / Xen) then FreeBSD / Linux on top and get some real performance per buck there too – but – this is not in a nice package that Significant Other Person a) can figure out how to use and b) will tolerate inside the living room.

      Or one can use AWS. One can buy a lot of computing for the price of one MacBook Pro or a fast HP Proliant Box!

      It is a shame that Steve Jobs is no longer around because the minions are bound to ruin the brand eventually, IMO.

      • JZ says:

        Besides consistency and reliability, I chose Apple over others because my relationship with Apple is simple. I pay money for their stuff. My relationship with google, Microsoft and Amazon has been weird. They sell me stuff at or below cost or free!
        Because of that they have to monitor my life and sell the digital version of me to Advertisers and Government. F*** that!

    • safe as milk says:

      i was a longtime apple fanboy and stock holder. they served me very well while steve jobs was alive but apple hasn’t done any significant improvement to the mac ecosystem in years. i have started replacing the macs in my household with chromebooks. for work i’ve gone from mac towers to hp’s running windows 10.

      apple has become a phone company pure and simple. i never got the higher priced models but i am still very happy with my iphone se which can be had for under $200 via straighttalk. of course, apple just cancelled that model. i will probably buy one more while they are still in stock but i suspect that my future is android. this is coming from a guy that was buying apple stock when everyone else was buying dell.

      • chris Hauser says:

        me too, gonna run out and buy a backup.

        the outlook for apple in ten years looks……positive,

  5. Ron says:

    The wife and I picked up two Iphone 8’s due to a V sales event and I have to admit that I will never use most of the Tech that is available on the phone so I can’t imagine buying any kind of upgraded version. I am older but my daughter who is 36 and a tech junkie has an iPhone 6 and feels the same way as I do so not only is it a cost issue but also the upgraded features of these new phones have a smaller consumer base that is interested enough to pay for these new improved features.

    • John Hope says:

      How right you are Ron. Stupid is as stupid does and we’ve all been stupid over these Apple products until now . Now Apple is in the gimmick phase i.e. its descent . What goes up must come down.

    • Mickey says:

      I bought the 8 when i recently switched to xfinity mobile which lowers my monthly service cost.

      Driving factor after cost was the 4.7 inch phone, since almost everything else was over 6 inches.

      Old phone was HTC One which served me well but its batterery was not easilyreplaceable and xfinitys could not accept it when moving service over.

      I use my phone as a phone when i am out. Lite usage for internet, email and texting.

      And i got a 300 rebate on a 600 buck phone which made the transition easier.

      Iwould have preferred a 4 inch apple se, but that does not figure in with apples revenue strategy.

  6. Not this time says:

    The mobile providers..Sprint, Verizon, and T Mobile have all instituted new “lease” programs with “upgrade” being done easily…but the days of getting the phone for free as part of your lease are over. My daughters “upgrade” to an 8 from a 7 over a year ago cost us $375 out of a Lease fee…through Sprint.
    With the Price of a new version i phone at $700 plus I would not expect the lines forming we usually see for the newest version of an i phone…the features are not that “wowing” and the upgrade costs are mostly for additional memory…

    • MC01 says:

      Wise words.
      My work mobile provider (Vodafone), offers an upgrade to the iPhone XR for a €150 intial fee plus €17/month for 30 months. That’s €660 + VAT. Why should I bother when Apple can sell me iPhone 8’s at €500 + VAT each? And I bet once Christmas season is over we’ll get “special offers” on the 8 pretty much every fortnight from Cupertino. But for now the plain vanilla 6’s do everything we need and are none worse for the wear thanks to their nifty (and mandatory) €3.50 Chinese custody.

      I am sure there are a lot of image-conscious management types who are getting similar talks from their bosses, but we are evil types who value long term financial viability over looks, hence it’s all Toyota’s instead of BMW’s and old clapped out iPhones instead of the latest model from Cupertino.

      • Jim says:

        Hold on there, my 330ci served me better than any Toyota would have and I had it since 2004. I only change oil every 24000 km and that’s pretty much it. Long time ago I was silly enough to buy Corolla, which cost me dearly in maintenance and regularly brought me to ditch during winter.

    • Mch says:

      In other words, at one point, Apple made the carriers to be the suckers. The carriers finally wised up, and now the consumers are being made the suckers again.

  7. Harrold says:

    Any idea how the rest of the new iPad & laptop lineup announced last week is faring?

  8. Rob says:

    You can buy a good smart phone in the UK for $75

  9. Petunia says:

    Most of the women I come across already have an iphone and many have an iwatch. I’m in the minority with my $14 smart phone, which is 2 years old and perfectly fine.

  10. GSH says:

    You may resist but you’ll be forced to upgrade over time. New OS version will not install on your old phone and new apps will require the new OS. Happened to me twice now. A perfectly good phone (iPhone 5) now only useful as a media player or hotspot for an alarm system. Of course, I only upgraded to a refurbished iPhone 6s plus for $275. Not a lot of profit for Apple.

    • forrmer says:

      Thankfully my flip phone does not have this kind of upgrading problems. And since I can make and receive phone calls with it, I’m happy ;-)

    • WSKJ says:

      GSH and others above have commented on planned obsolescence of operating systems and old devices, and this forces most of us to buy new devices from time to time (my old iPhone died at a very inconvenient time a few years ago; I have a newer one now).

      Another important factor which drives the update cycle is the battery. The iPhone has the built-in battery which cannot be replaced (OK, barring you super-techies). From the October Benchmark lithium symposium in Newport CA (I got secondhand from one who attended):

      Lithium batteries (including all of the existing subtypes) for Devices are designed, and will be designed, to last 3 years. Barring major tech advance which boosts battery longevity, or Device designs which allow battery replacement, this seems to me to drive a predictable obsolescence/replacement cycle, for Apple, and other high-end manufacturers.

      You being a car guy, Wolf, I add the OT info that the symposium outlook on lithium battery life for plug-in-and-charge electric vehicles is 8 years; and the biggest near-term (to 2025) planned investment in Li batt. R and D, of the automakers , is Volkswagen.

      • Paul says:

        My wife and daughter have had batteries replaced in their various iPhones several times in Thailand.
        Local IT center has shops that do it for about $30.

      • Gandalf says:

        Dunno if it’s still on but Apple had a deal to replace batteries on iphones for $25 due to the scandal and outrage when it was discovered that older iphones that updated their OS. were slowed down deliberately if their batteries were dying.

        So, I got my iphone 6 battery rplaced at the Apple store for $25 3 months ago.

        Otherwise not an Apple fan. Grossly overpriced, proprietary everything, refuses to put in a USB flash microcard.

        • fajensen says:

          refuses to put in a USB flash microcard.

          Apple is just being up fromt about how things are, see:

          Most Android branded devices (indeed shipping with the most pathetic internal memory capacity) refuses the relocation of apps onto the USB-flash, thus nullifying the idea of having that option in the first place.

          The thinking is probably that it would be bad if one could move their crapware to removable flash and then change the flash device to get rid of it :)

        • Gandalf says:

          I seriously doubt you’ve ever even owned an android phone before. I find them far easier to use, and more versatile, especially if you want them to interface with a Windows PC. The crapware can be avoided if you buy directly from a third party vendor like BH Photo rather than a cellphone carrier. ALL OF YOUR DATA, PHOTOS, CONTACTS AND SETTINGS can be stored in a 128GB microSD flash drive that costs less than $50 (instead of $100-200 ripoff Apple-head dollars), and then easily offloaded to a home desktop or NAS disk storage instead of having to upload to an unsecure (remember the hacks of celebrity nude photos?) cloud.
          My last android phone was a Sony Z5 Compact, which I really liked. The battery died, and as I also had this iphone 6 workphone that I wasn’t using, I just switched the SIM card into the 6. Then the battery died on the 6, right when Apple had that $25 special to change batteries. So I fixed the battery on the iphone 6 instead of the Sony. If the iphone ever becomes unfixable, or Apple stops supporting it, my next phone is definitely going to be an android

      • MC01 says:

        I’ve repaired several iPhones, replacing screens, power buttons, proximity sensors and, yes, even batteries.

        The beauty of iPhone’s when compared to pretty much all of their competitors is that you can find any spare part you want, either from smashed phones or some AM supplier. Have no idea where to start? YouTube is full of useful “how to guides” you can pause and rewatch as many times as you want.
        Grab yourself a smartphone repair kit (beware the cheaper ones have Torx screwdrivers that will wear out very quickly) and a fastener map for the phone you are working on, find a spot in full light and get to work. It’s a good way to spend some time on a rainy weekend.

        Regarding hybrids and EV batteries… both Europe and the US lag well behind Asia. Panasonic alone owns an unbelievable 45% of the market, but all top ten manufacturers are Asian. I don’t know what possessed Nissan to sell their battery division to the Chinese, but they’ll have plenty of time to regret the decision as Mizuho plugs the holes in their budget once again.

        • Gandalf says:

          Check out the Chinese website. Tons of spare parts and accessories for every cellphone you can imagine. They are all made there anyways, including iphones

    • Jim H. says:

      GSH: Interesting perspective you present. Viewing from below, I was given an old 5 before a European trip last spring/summer. It was resting unused in the desk of a friend who had upgraded. Being a flip phone user, it was an incredible gift. Though I didn’t need a phone in Europe, it was marvelous to have the capabilities of camera, email access etc. All the apps I need work just fine, and though the time may well come when an upgrade is necessary for now it suits my needs perfectly. It did take awhile to master the tiny keys but even that is no longer an issue.

  11. Rick says:

    The law of diminishing returns in smartphone tech is upon us. There isn’t much innovation left, so they just make it a little bigger with anew color. But they only can play that game for so long. Most users use hardly any of the features anyway. I don’t buy a new car every year. Nor a new TV. Nor a new computer. I usually upgrade those every 5 years or so. Why should my smartphone be any different. The brainwashing is strong with Apple. And since that is working less and less, they cripple their old devices with software “upgrades”. Problem is, with OnePlus and others entering the premium US market, Iphone is in more trouble than they realize. They will have to buy another 1 billion shares back, cutting their outstanding shares in half since 2012. That’s all they have left in the tank.

    • medialAxis says:

      One bit of innovation left is a mesh network. A peer to peer network in which you don’t need to have a service provider. You just buy a phone and call others directly, if in range (cost zero, other than use of battery). If out of range, calls hop through intermediate phones (each of which charges a fee). Long distance calls, that’d cost too many hops, could hop onto, and off, the internet via WiFi in someone’s front room (again you pay a fee). Not sure the likes of Visa could handle the payments, more likely have to be a crypto dedicated to the mesh, or something like bitcoin (using the lightning network, of course).

      A start up called goTenna is sort of half way there, only it doesn’t involve fees..

      • DF says:

        The problem with smartphones being used as mesh nodes is that none of the local radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.) have very good range, so you need lots of hops across the mesh network to get any sort of good distance.

        Gotenna Mesh uses higher power levels (~1W), lower frequencies (915MHz band instead of 2.4GHz/5.8GHz), and lower datarates to be able to get longer distance communications between nodes.

        Finally, there’s some mesh protocols that are using blockchain to credit/pay for bandwidth used by various users on the mesh network.

      • fajensen says:

        Mesh networks does not work very well beyond 5 hops, especially when the network is dynamic (devices join, change place and leave). There is a lot of solid research on this subject because of the need for networking of sensors and small embedded systems.

        Silicon Valley is all about not doing homework and failing: It does not surprise me at all that yet another startup never bothered reading any of that and got funded anyway.

        If only they would go public so one could short the stock ….


        • DF says:

          Gotenna Mesh’s has some new firmware coming out that allows for up to six hops. If each hop can do a mile or two, that allows one to cover some decent distances, and can probably successfully cover a mid-sized city.

          With “infrastructure” nodes high up and with higher-gain antennas, you should be able to do better than that.

  12. MF says:

    Apple isn’t a marketing slouch, so this missed target probably means the market has shifted suddenly.

    Some possibilities:

    1. Mid-market is evaporating as aspirational buyers are capitulating; abandoning the idea that they can buy their way up the social ladder.

    2. Apple product ownership is fading as a status symbol in mid market; buyers are moving to something else, and we’ll find out about it in a few quarters.

    3. The upcoming holiday buying season is already a dud, and Apple’s XR experience is just a harbinger of it.

    4. Recent attention to phone addiction has caused mid-market buyers to reassess smart phone ownership in general. Dumb phones are the new black.

    5. Everyone’s in the Caribbean, getting drunk and trying to avoid thinking about the elections. Sales will pick up after the 15th.

  13. jon says:

    Apple still is one of the most fair valued tech companies out there.

    I own a lot of apple shares but pity the people who spend money on iphones and other overpriced apple products..

    Guess, I need more suckers..

  14. TrojanMan says:

    In have an iPhone X and the face recognition doesn’t work very well. If I wear a hat and sunglasses, which is a lot of the time, forgettaboutit. Really disappointing and makes me miss the fingerprint sensor. I doubt Steve Jobs would have ever signed off on releasing a feature that works so poorly.

    • MCH says:

      Don’t you remember that when Jobs kicked the bucket, there were experts who said that Jony Ives and Tim Cook put together is like a Steve Jobs. It’s like you’ll never know that he was gone. Yep, experts alright.

      Say what you want about the guy, he was a jerk, an asshole, etc, etc…. but he did know how to market a product, and integrate something new.

      Not many other people can lay claim to that.

  15. Joe Banks says:

    In regard to your last paragraph Wolf, are you getting cynical or have you always been that way? (“to get them …[iphone sales] to turn around “)…. I often read your articles and just as often don’t understand your thesis. This time I did and it made me chuckle.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “them” = shares. That paragraph is about share buybacks, not iPhone sales :-]

      • Joe Banks says:

        Yes I understood and liked it, hence the chuckle

      • Erle says:

        Speaking of shares, HNHAF, that being Honhai Precision Industries was down another 36% today. As you mentioned in the text is that is FOXCONN which is the boondoggle in Wisconsin that I am convinced was the unacknowledged reason that the Governor lost to an absolute twit.
        The deal for Wisconsin was a bad one and I particularly objected because I am a manufacturer here and get no breaks. There is an article from BBG here:
        I haven’t seen very many corporate welfare deals that worked out for the taxcows anywhere.
        Perhaps a subject for the future?

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Yeah, these corporate welfare deals get to me too. But it doesn’t matter how riled up I get, they keep happening. See Amazon :-]

          Here in San Francisco, Twitter got a special payroll tax deal to move its headquarters a few friggin blocks. This stuff just never ends, and politicians who put these deals together are getting praised when the deals are made. Later, when the deal falls apart, or when all the warts come to light, the politicians are usually gone (literally, in Mayor Ed Lee’s case).

  16. MCH says:


    How dare all of you not follow along with Leader Tim’s narrative. It’s not about how expensive the phone is, this is all about privacy. Our wonderful iphone provides some of the best encryption around, and as demonstrated, we don’t share anything with the government, and our armies of lawyers are ready to defend your rights no matter who or what you are. The nasty old government won’t get access to your phone.

    The iPhone is the best product out there, and we don’t pretend to give you something for free only to turn around and sell you (our customer) as the product.

    Please get with the right narrative here, you get what you pay for, with us, you get the best in protection, unlike those guys who sell you cheap stuff, and then loaded it up with surveillance ware. We don’t do that. We’re not Google or Facebook. So don’t pay attention to the cost of the phones. That’s not what’s important, what’s important is that we at Apple value your privacy. and your money.

    *end sarcasm*

    On the other hand, if you give up your privacy by downloading tons of Facebook and Google apps, that’s not our fault, we want to give consumer choices. Rope to hang themselves if possible, but our phones are very reasonably priced. If you don’t believe leader Tim, just ask the Chinese middle class. They love Apple.

  17. Paulo says:

    Let me tell you about my smart phone and how it changed our lives. Ohh, I forgot, we don’t have one/I don’t have one. We have a land line that we pay $38.00 per month for which includes pretty much unlimited calling in N America (day or night) for whoever wants to use our phone. I think the phone itself was about $25. It works when the power is out, go figure.

    On vacation? We don’t want to take calls or make any. Same for at night, before bed, outside…whatever. I just came in for lunch and looked at the answering machine on the way to the kitchen. My thought was, “Great, no calls, everything must be just fine with pops We’ll phone and check up, tonight.”.

    My son uses an android extensively. However, unless he holds his head just so and faces north/northeast, it won’t work where we live. He’s looking for a booster antenna kit for his house, maybe another $700. When I talk to my sister our calls get dropped, and last week she ran into a store, had a window smashed out of her car, and the ‘hidden’ phone was swiped. It took hours (on her husband’s phone) to get everything straightened out despite her thumbprint security system. But don’t worry, everyone knows where she is at any given moment now that she has replaced it. According to her, she can’t live without her phone. Now that she has a new one I suppose we can rest easier.

    Travel security? I take a $100 ham radio with me and a list of repeaters. If I am in the boonies I can talk to anyone, including every logging truck or commercial operator, tugboats on the Strait, even aircraft. Funny, never had to use it, but it’s in the glove box.

    Smart phones, from what I can see, have taken over people’s lives. They ruin meals, interrupt conversations, ruin sleeping patterns, and tether people to outside influence. Why anyone would pay for one, much less $1,000 US dollars, is beyond me? Crazy.

    • Kerry says:

      Mind control is very prevalent. In fact, the word “government” in Latin translates to : Govern = Control Ment = Mind Mind control. People are happily paying for their enslavement…

    • Erle says:

      I see your point. My wife ragged upon me to get a cellphone for years. I had one that she supplied and used it eleven times in nine years, but it doesn’t ring anymore.
      So I bought a new one-a Blackberry because of the high security that their software can accommodate. No Twatter of Face**** or any social media.
      I would guess that WolfStreet will load fast as it does on my home XP Pro box. LOL.
      I am having my Ham X-cvr re-capped and checked out.
      Wow, 100 bucks for a mobile? That’s to good to be true.

  18. Unamused says:

    Seems like a lot of money to put out to make sure TPTB can track every moment of your existence and hack your life to pieces on a whim, all with the utmost convenience. At least with conventional technologies they have to work at it a little.

    In ‘1984’ people loathed the telescreen, unless they were terrified or brainwashed by it. These days people queue up and pay a premium to get the latest version.

    Sheeple. There’s just no saving them. So be it.

    • MB732 says:

      Read somewhere regarding lost privacy…The only surprise to Orwell seeing things today would be that people are paying to give up their freedom and their biggest fear is that no one is watching them!

  19. Kerry says:

    I sure am glad I never even started with a normal cellphone. How ironic it is that people are paying dearly for their own enslavement…

  20. Matt P says:

    I can get last year’s top of the line specs in a $250 phone this year with a battery that lasts all day, so why would I buy a phone for $1000? I will replace this one in 3-4 years when the battery starts draining too quickly.

    • mtnwoman says:

      MattP, What phone is $250 with last years top of the line specs? Seriously.. shopping..

      • Ripp says:

        Moto G6 $230 – If you buy with Google Fi service ($30/month) it’s $199

      • Matt P says:

        I bought mine last year, Moto G5s for me, G5s plus for the wife. $200 and $250 each. Ripp below says G6, so looks like the Moto trend continues. I did a lot of research comparing specs and looking for a close to clean Android experience since I was coming from Nexus 5 and I couldn’t be more pleased with my purchase.

        My wife’s runs a little slower than mine though with better specs because she has it loaded down with every messenger app imaginable – facebook app+messenger, line, whatsapp etc. It’s still acceptable, but if you load your phone down with crap, it will run like crap.

    • WT Frogg says:

      Bought a new in box unlocked Galaxy Note 4 running 6.0.1 last year for $400. Deleted most of the bloatware it came with. Loaded a 128GB SD card with music playlists and 40 GB of movies for when I travel. Simore dual Sim card ( handy when traveling just get a local sim card) which cuts out the ridiculous roaming charges.
      Once I find issues with apps not working on that OS version I can easily root the phone and install the latest and greatest version.
      Has a replaceable battery and I have spares just in case one dies.
      Can’t validate replacing this unit for many years to come barring losing it or a battery flame out.
      Full phone encryption, VPN when on the web either on WiFi or Data, and secure zero knowledge apps to keep prying eyes at bay.

  21. EcuadorExpat says:

    Gotta love these luddites bragging about not needing this or that. Sure you can go live in a tent under an overpass and use no technology, including showers, electricity or toilets. Most of these folks still think it is a telephone. It’s not, it is a portable computer that can can make phone calls and run a million different programs.

    You cannot miss something you don’t know exists, so I suggest the luddites just STFU and stop so proudly displaying their ignorance. Today, if you do not have a smartphone, you are an alien in your your own culture.

    First off, the iPhone 6 is a dog, it was proof of concept for new technology that was polished in the 6s. If you are not using a 6s or above, it’s like driving a 20 year old car.

    When I migrated my wife and I, seniors, to iPhones, we eliminated 17 electrical devices from our household. It was one hell of a garage sale that simplified our lives immensely. And BTW, I buy used phones on eBay or amazon, and I have never paid more than $200 for a phone. When I upgrade, I sell my old phone for 75% of what I paid for it. And the integration is priceless. Everything just works, and all the time, while we watch our senior friends struggle with Windows and android products. When you buy apple, you become a member of an integrated electronic ecosystem. It’s not just a phone or a tablet or a computer. That ecosystem costs money which I gladly pay.

    Apple products are the BMW of the electronics world. If you cannot afford a Beemer, then go buy your Chevy, but please stop bothering people who appreciate and can afford quality.

    As for the financial situation, Apple could reduce their profits by half, and still be more financially viable than 90% of the Fortune 500.

    • Unamused says:

      ->Gotta love these luddites bragging about not needing this or that. Sure you can go live in a tent under an overpass and use no technology, including showers, electricity or toilets.

      As if anybody needs a cell phone for any of those things. That’s the phoniest false equivalence I’ve heard since yesterday’s rallies.

      ->When you buy apple, you become a member of an integrated electronic ecosystem.

      Ah, you’ve been assimilated. Resistance was futile, was it?

    • Gandalf says:

      “Apple products are the BMW of the electronics world. If you cannot afford a Beemer, then go buy your Chevy, but please stop bothering people”

      Aha, long ago I noticed that the great majority of BMW owners in America were status crazed jerks and A-holes more likely to cut you off in traffic than the average driver, willing, like Apple- heads, to pay 20% – 50% more for perceived status than real value

      I like Hondas made in America, sensible cars. You rarely get cut off in traffic by one. And, that Accord V6 could take off like a rocket

      Me, I use an iphone 6 because it was given to me by me employer

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Ouch! Slow down a little, Gandalf, with your broad brush. You’re slinging paint all over the place.

        I bought two 5-series in my life, one in 1999 (V-8, performance package, sweet car!) when I was still living in Oklahoma, and the other in 2003, after we’d moved to Europe (inline 6 gasoline, also sweet, but not quite as sweet). I sold that one three years later when we move to Japan. Looked brand new.

        Some people just like cars.

        To be honest, I now no longer care about driving or cars, but back then heel-and-toe driving these things on windy roads was pure pleasure.

        Obviously, as befits my a-hole status, I also own an iPhone :-]

        • Gandalf says:

          Not such a broad brush, if you consider why people buy BMWs above the 3-class. Status, power, maneuverability, just the right combination in the midst of freeway congestion to show that slowpoke sensible guy driving a Honda that you have a better, faster, more maneuverable car, with German engineering!!! (and, by extension, that you have more money and are therefore a superior being) by cutting him off in traffic.

          But it speaks well of you that you’ve given up on that phase of your life

      • Laughing Eagle says:

        Gandalf let me add a comment to “that Accord V6 could take off like a rocket”. I tested the V6 and the VTec4 and the 4 had enough guts for me and on the interstate gets 39mpg verses the V6 which got 8mpg less. The V6 only leads to speeding tickets. Because if you got it you use it.
        Nobody builds a small engine better than Honda and I am a gear head who still owns a 1983 Olds Cutlass 35 years later. I also have a 1987 Honda mower and I live in Florida where you mow 6 months in a year. I know how to take care of engines, but my money will always be with Honda. They can build the most efficient engine per liter.

      • Jim O says:

        No thanks, I had Accord V6 that cost me almost like 3 series and had nothing but trouble with it. Sloppy drive, terrible on corners. Got rid of it eventually due to faulty transmission after paying through the nose for services.
        Was happily driving my 330 ever since.

        Hey, some people just like real cars ;)

    • shmakdwn says:

      > If you cannot afford a Beemer, then go buy your Chevy, but please stop bothering people who appreciate and can afford quality.
      > I buy used phones on eBay or amazon, and I have never paid more than $200 for a phone.

      LOL, so you can’t afford quality either and have to slum it over on ebay buying your precious techware of dubious origin/quality?

    • Jon says:

      Thanks, I need more people like you :-).

    • Lion says:

      What were the 17 electronic devices you were able to eliminate ?

      I’ve only come up with TV remote.

      We use the cellphones for flashlights, though I keep a back-up. I can’t eliminate our landline because our cell phone service is not fully reliable. BTW, I live near Irvine CA in the middle of several millions.
      A camera to an extent, but even the best cellphones can’t match / replace the functionality of a DSLR (so says my professional camera friend). The cellphones have eliminated watches, but ours weren’t electronic. Not sure maps count as electronic, but we no longer use paper maps. Magnifying glass, this is a plus for me, specifically at restaurants. One might say a thermostat, but our electronic one works great, don’t see a need to replace something that is still functioning well.

      I’m thinking we just aren’t a very electronic household.

      Seriously, I would like to see your list, your home must be very high-tech ?

    • Jos Oskam says:

      “…If you are not using a 6s or above, it’s like driving a 20 year old car…”

      I am in fact driving a 53 year old Ford Mustang. And using an old Samsung flip phone. Cooking with cast-iron skillets. Typing this on an old desktop PC. Repairing almost all of my stuff myself. Not caring a whit about the latest tech gadget and refusing to be taken for a ride by social media and peer pressure.

      In understand that in your worldview, this makes me a luddite who does not appreciate and can not afford quality.

      I think this gives a clear indication of your mindset and attitude. Let’s just say I don’t admire them.

    • safe as milk says:

      wt frogg, getting a different perspective on this site is refreshing and i’m not being sarcastic. i think your comparison of apple to bmw is apt. steve jobs said the same thing. however, there are a lot of reasons not to be in the apple world that have nothing to do with being a luddite or poverty.

      it’s really a question of personal preferences. i value my privacy highly. sharing my location, fingerprint, facial recognition, etc. in return for convenience is a bargain with the devil. i don’t find the conveniences afforded by apple to worth this trade.

      i agree that apple’s integration is second to none. android is a joke in that regard. that’s probably the main reason that i still keep apple products around. sadly, they keep adding “ticky-tacky” crap to their interface and my patience is wearing thin. the competition is getting better all the time and apple really need to up their game. i mean, tim cooks big contribution is that watch… seriously?

  22. Lance Manly says:

    >You cannot miss something you don’t know exists, so I suggest the luddites just STFU and stop so proudly displaying their ignorance. Today, if you do not have a smartphone, you are an alien in your your own culture

    Um, yeah. So most of the commentators have been saying they can get what they need from a smartphone with a model that is cheaper/easier to use than the latest iphone. So calling them Luddites is not conducive. Maybe if you mention the added value of the technology to their lives that would be a better argument.

    • Unamused says:

      -> So calling them Luddites is not conducive.

      Now I’m for sure never getting a cell phone.

      Whiz-bang electric gadgets, suitable for low-brow twaddle and wasteful purchases, come up pretty flat when you’ve had high-end scientific equipment, a Bosendorfer grand, and orchestral instruments for toys.

      Thoreau warned us not to become ‘tools of our tools’, but then, how many patrons of antisocial media have even heard of him?

  23. Unamused says:

    ->New iPhone Prices Too Damn High?

    If they paid me to take one the price would be too high. I am not a cog in something turning.

    • elysianfield says:

      I might get one of those fancy phone/computer/BFF Security blankets if we ever get cell service where I live….

      Unlikely, however ever to get cell service.

  24. Companies only buyback shares when their stock is at an absolute peak. This makes for a great excuse when they file for chapter 11.

  25. Bill says:

    You can charge $1000 for a phone or you can expect customers to buy a new one every couple of years, but you can’t do both.

  26. ft says:

    I don’t understand the in and outs of stock buybacks and suspect that having it explained to me probably wouldn’t help much.

    I do understand that the cost of buying individual devices to cover all the functions available on my iPhone X make its price seem quite reasonable. Mine is under-utilized but the rest of my family seems to have their whole life stored on their phones. We typically go four to five years between phone replacements.

    There is an elegance to Apple products that other brands don’t match, and a lot of us seem willing to pay for it. On the other hand, my 70yr young bones drive a WRX instead of a Beemer and I am much more likely to cut off Gandalf (above) in traffic.

    • Rick says:

      Companies buyback their own stock and then retire those shares. Apple has retired over 1.5 BILLION shares since 2012. They used to have 6.6 Billion shares outstanding. Now only 5 billion. So they reduce the outstanding shares available, thereby making each remaining share more valuable, theoretically, since ownership of the company is split between less shares. By doing this, their Earnings per Share metric goes up without having to earn any more money, since the earnings are split between less shares. Making it appear that the company is doing better than before. However, it’s only perception. Indeed, many companies these last 5 years have DECREASING revenue and profits, as compared to the past, but have used buybacks to keep the company share price from falling.

      • Rick says:

        The price of a stock is only an illusion. The perceived value of something based on “future expectations”. And what keeps that illusion alive are the institutions. Are enough of them invested in that illusion. You saw in 2008/9 what happens when the illusion gets shattered. But this is a rare event. The global central banks are indeed the great OZ behind the curtain. They support the illusion since there is no other choice.

      • fajensen says:

        In my opinion it is OK & “honest” to use earnings to buy back shares since by doing it, the company will also be reducing it’s liabilities by repaying som of the money it has borrowed from shareholders.

        It is not OK & “dishonest” to borrow money to buy back stock because by doing that, they are not only assuming more debt, they are also replacing the very weakest of the debtors, shareholders, with much stronger ones – bondholders. That is just bad all around.

        • Unamused says:

          Quite simply, borrowing for stock buybacks reduces the value of a company while increasing its price.

          Worse, it allows company officers to increase their compensation by degrading the company. This directly contradicts the goal of aligning the interests of management with those of the company.

          Taken to its logical conclusion, company officers rob and murder the very company which hired them to ensure its prosperity. Further, it directly contradicts the purpose of the company in the first place, to serve the needs of the society which charters its very existence.

          This is not capitalism. It is piracy. It was illegal until 1982 when pirates took over the government, and they have been finding new ways to gorge themselves ever since, to the detriment of society and to its eventual extinction.

          And now there is no way to stop them.

          “My mommy always said there were no monsters. No real ones. But there are.”

      • ft says:

        Thank you Rick & fajensen; I see a little light.

        • Rick says:

          No problem ft. Just remember, the global vested interest in US stock indexes (of which Apple is a big part) is quite large. There is a reason US indexes reverse intraday losses over 75% of the time. The recent “sell off” losses have been more than cut in half. And after gaining over 300% since 2009, the DJIA is merely a few percent away from it’s all time high. The US stock market is highly regulated.

  27. raxadian says:

    Apple: Our sales are dropping? I know lets release even more new Iphones by year!

    Honesty Apple knows they have no market grow and what it does? Release even more phones instead of sticking to one phone by year like it used to do in the good old times.

  28. Winston says:

    iPhone XS Max 256GB – $1,249.00.

    First of all, $1,249 for a PHONE? Or, as far as I’m concerned, $750… or $500… or anything over $200.

    Then, taking this into consideration:

    Apple build costs for 256GB iPhone XS Max estimated at $453
    25 Sep 2018

    The new 256GB iPhone XS Max is comprised of roughly $443 worth of parts according to the latest report out of TechInsights, merely $47 more than the build cost of last years 64GB iPhone X.

    • WSKJ says:

      256 GBs, wow, that sounds like a lot, probably all I would ever want/need. But wait, with all those GBs, I don’t like the planned obsolescence……..(I do realize that Verizon or someone else I don’t trust, will be happy to transfer all my memory to my new cellphone, but still, it doesn’t feel right)

      • Erle says:

        Tough luck when the non removable battery gets tired running all of that,
        I bought a Blackberry Z10 when they flopped and were cheap. You could buy new batteries for ten bucks and have enough walkaround for a week of no recharge for fifty bucks. If you dropped it and broke the display, they cost under twenty dollars. Yes they did have limited bloatware that would run under the OS but that was not so appealing to me anyway. The security was a big plus.

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