Apple’s upcoming X model is denting sales of the iPhone 8

Consumers’ acceptance for the latest versions has been short of the mark

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By BLOOMBERG

Apple Inc’s latest smartphones — the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus — are officially available in the local market, but consumers’ acceptance for the latest versions has been short of the mark.

Past launches of the iPhone saw euphoric consumers making a beeline at retailers in order to be the first to own the iconic gadget.

But the latest iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have not generated the same elation like their predecessors. A picture of a muted atmosphere at the iPhone 8 launch in the Klang Valley has been circulating in the social media.

The iPhone 8 — considered the premium for the smartphone market — is priced up to RM4,399, while the 8 Plus version sells up to RM4,899.

A source from an authorised reseller said sales for iPhone 8 were not anticipated to soar, as the new device offered a few differences compared to the iPhone 7.

“We sold some, but truthfully the iPhone 8 only has a faster processor and different camera features that have been added in. There are not many differences to the iPhone 7,” said the reseller to The Malaysian Reserve.

The iPhone has been one of the tech giant’s greatest success, selling over 700 million phones since it was first introduced a decade ago.

But reports across several markets showed slower sales for the iPhone 8. Market and analyst reports suggested the Cupertino, California-based tech giant will struggle to show good responses for the iPhone 8.

The eighth generation of the iPhone is facing an uphill battle, as consumers await the November launch of the iPhone X, which will commemorate 10 years of the iconic brand.

The iPhone X will incorporate facial recognition technology and an edge-to-edge OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen, a first for the mobile device.

The local reseller for iPhones said the X model was indeed a big step up from the iPhone 8. Analysts have also viewed the iPhone X as a game changer for Apple.

Moreover, local consumers are waiting for the iPhone X, despite the fact that the phone will be priced at about RM5,149 to RM5,899.

“Many consumers would rather pay the higher amount for a better phone with upgraded technology like the iPhone X,” said the local reseller.

“The timing for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch is very close. If it wasn’t, the sales for the iPhone 8 would have been better,” he said.

In the meantime, telecommunication companies (telcos) have announced different plans and packages for the iPhone 8.

However, consumers are also hoping that prices for the iPhone 8 will be slashed with the November launch of the X series.

Apple Malaysia Sdn Bhd recently announced the slashing of the iPhone 7 prices by about RM600.

A Facebook user said he would wait for the telcos to reduce the prices for the iPhone 8 once the iPhone X comes out.

“With the launch in November, there’s a good chance I might be able to get the iPhone 8 at a cheaper price with a good plan,” he added.

Celcom Axiata Bhd, Maxis Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd have each announced various packages to woo customers — but not everybody is taken by all the deals offered.

“Manufacturers like Apple churn out phones at least once a year.

“Impulsive buyers will default on their current plans to go for a new one. But in reality, you end up paying much more,” said iPhone user Isaac Hiew, who works in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Apple Malaysia said it is positive about the sales of the iPhone 8 and is looking forward to the launch of the iPhone X in November. The company did not disclose orders for the iPhone 8.