iPhone XR production could be slowing amidst weak demand

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iPhone XR battery life is the best of any iPhone on the market.
iPhone XR might not be selling as well as Apple hoped.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

The three Asian companies that assemble the iPhone XR have reportedly reduced production. Apple is ordering fewer units because sales of this smartphone haven’t lived up to expectations.

However, the source for this information isn’t the most reliable.

The iPhone XR is assembled by Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron. All three are allegedly seeing a slowdown.

“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,” an unnamed source leaked to Nikkei Asian Review.

And this isn’t the only bad news for the iPhone. Analysts at Rosenblatt Securities lowered their sales expections. “Calendar fourth-quarter guidance reflects our cautious view on weaker than expected sell-through and production reductions for iPhone XS/XR,” wrote Jun Zhang.

A grain of salt

Keep in mind that sources in Apple’s production pipeline aren’t always reliable. For example, early this year they indicated that iPhone X had sold poorly over the holiday season. In reality, this model was Apple’s best seller, and it went on to be the world’s highest-selling smartphone.

And this report flies in the face of some analysts predictions who see the iPhone XR becoming Apple’s top-selling model.

We have to depend on second-hand sources because Apple has so far said nothing about how this product is doing in stores.

Opting for iPhone 8 over iPhone XR?

Nikkei Asian Review isn’t reporting that Apple is seeing a big slowdown in handset sales. People are just choosing two of last year’s models instead of the new XR. “Suppliers of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are getting a combined order of around 5 million more units,” according to an unnamed source.

It’s not het known why customers might be choosing last year’s model over the new one. It could be pricing. While the iPhone XR is $250 less than the iPhone XS, the iPhone 8 is $150 less than the XR.

Or perhaps some people aren’t ready to embrace Apple’s new technologies. The iPhone 8 is the last with a Home button and Touch ID, while the XR eschewed a large front button in favor of screen gestures, and employs Face ID instead.

Also, a highlight of the XR is a range of bright casing colors, but a recent survey showed buyers are very conservative about the appearance of their smartphone.

Or the sources in Asia could just be wrong. Reviews of the iPhone XR have been very  positive, including Cult of Mac‘s own. And the performance is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Plus, the battery is surprisingly large.