The shock profit warning issued by Apple earlier this week sent shockwaves through stock markets around the world.
CEO Tim Cook revealed that he expected his company’s revenue to drop by around $9 billion, thanks in large part to weaker iPhone sales.
While Cook blamed economic conditions in China and that country’s burgeoning trade war with the United States, the news comes at a time when consumers seem to be thinking twice before shelling out for Apple’s bestselling product.
Put simply, we’ve reached peak iPhone. Why? Here are five key reasons.
1 Same design once again
Apple may have decided to triple its iPhone range in 2018, launching the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.
But it’s hard for average consumers to ascertain any major difference between the trio and 2017’s near identical iPhone X.
The latter did at least offer something new, with no home button and a new notch design.
But the fact is that Apple has done little to try and stand out from the crowd over the past year, with incremental, hard–to–explain improvements seemingly failing to convince consumers.
It’s no surprise that analysts have suggested sales of new iPhones could have slipped by as much as a third in the past three months.
What's the difference between the XS and XR? We outline them for our one-stop guide.
2 Hefty prices
Apple has never been known for offering its products on the cheap.
But the simple fact is that the current batch of iPhones are simply too expensive for some people who'd like to own them.
The ostensibly affordable iPhone XR starts at £749, rising to £899 for the largest 256GB model.
A standard iPhone XS costs £999, while the most expensive iPhone XS Max, with 512GB storage, costs £1,449.
To put that into perspective, a top–end new MacBook Air costs £1,399.
Consumers are seemingly unwilling to pay so much up front, or splash out upwards of £100 a month for a contract.
3 Rival phones
Apple is facing the stiffest competition it’s ever seen in the smartphone market.
While Face ID might make the iPhone XS stand out, consumers don’t want to pay a premium for it, and can turn to any one of a number of rival products that offer features that are just as good as Apple’s.
At the top–end, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro are every bit as good as the iPhone XS.
And with the OnePlus 6T, consumers can snag a killer smartphone with excellent functionality for just £499 SIM–free.
Why pay more for something just as decent that you can get for literally half the price?
4 Older phones are lasting longer
At least of Apple’s iPhone woes is down to its own impressive attempts to make older devices last longer.
Having taken a critical mauling for slowing older iPhones down, its iOS 12 software works well on older handsets dating back to 2013’s iPhone 5s.
That means there’s really no need for consumers to pay out for a new phone when they can keep their old one on a SIM–only deal and save a fortune.
5 Woes in the wider economy
Tim Cook is right to express concern about economic woes, even if they aren’t the sole reason for the profit warning.
The fact is, China and the US are engaged in a brutal trade war that deeply affects Apple’s supply chain.
Throw in a contracting Chinese economy, with people spending less, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for dwindling sales.
Is this the end for the iPhone? No. But are its days as the only phone in town over? Certainly.