iPhone discounts ease Apple’s pain in China only briefly

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China iPhone sales
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Photo: Apple

Temporary price cuts in China offered only a temporary boost in iPhone sales, according to industry analysts watching how Apple would follow up dismal year-end figures in the depressed Chinese smartphone market.

To start 2019, Apple revealed unexpected revenue shortfalls, blaming it mostly on a sharp drop in demand for iPhones in China.

Budget iPhone XR ends 2018 outselling both iPhone XS models

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iPhone sales
Critics say Apple needs to build more affordable iPhones.
Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly said the company would rather make the best smartphone than the cheapest.

Yet, Apple’s budget model iPhone XR sold more in the U.S. during the fiscal quarter that ended in December than the iPhone XS and XS Max combined, according to new research.

Even brilliant Pixel 3 ads won’t get iPhone users to switch

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Pixel 3 ads
Google wants you to laugh as you watch its Pixel 3 ads on YouTube. It also wants you to switch phones.
Screenshot: Google/YouTube

Google and Samsung have smartphones many critics say are as good or better than the latest iPhones.

But making a device to rival Apple’s isn’t the hard part. Getting iPhone users to switch is.

Google acknowledges this in a series of video ads launched this week to convince brand loyalists to switch to its newest and well-reviewed flagship, the Pixel 3.

‘Research’ labels iPhone users in China as the ‘invisible poor’

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China iPhone sales
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone is a coveted totem of status in most parts of the world. In the United Arab Emirates, the wealthy elite buys them two at a time.

But to carry an iPhone in China means you’re less educated and trying to hide dire financial straits. The well-off prefer Huawei or Xiaomi smartphones.

This according to research conducted by the Shanghai firm Mobdata, which looked at income and education backgrounds of smartphone users.

Apple loses marketshare but still makes the most money

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Apple profits
Apple can afford to lose some marketshare because of how profitable it is.
Illustration: Cult of Mac

Apple is the headline in two new studies. One seems alarming as it shows Apple’s share in the smartwatch market has declined by 14 percent.

But the second study shows Apple as the biggest money maker in the smartphone market by a long shot. Thanks to iPhone X, Apple held 62 percent of the market share in Q2. Its closest rival, Samsung, has suffered double-digit sales losses and is a distant second at 17 percent.

iPhone bucks global smartphone market downward trend

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IDC global smartphone market
A sequential chart shows Apple was briefly at the top of the global smartphone market, but not in Q1.
Photo: Cult of Mac/IDC

The total number of smartphones shiped worldwide in the first quarter of the year declined, but Apple was immune, experiencing a small increase. Its share of the global market grew as a result.

Arch-rival Samsung was hit though, seeing a small decrease year over year despite the launch of its new flagship models.

India won’t give in to Apple’s tax break demands

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India
Apple wants to dramatically improve its 2 percent share on the smartphone market in India.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

Apple’s goal of snagging a sizable piece of the growing smartphone market in India may prove more expensive than hoped.

India’s Department of Revenue rebuffed Cupertino’s requests for 15 years’ worth of tax concessions to set up manufacturing facilities, according to published reports. The bad news comes a month before Apple is set to begin building the iPhone SE in that country.

India will fast-track approval for Apple Stores

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India
Apple wants to dramatically improve its 2 percent share on the smartphone market in India.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

India has indicated it will bypass the usual regulations for foreign companies and grant easy approval for Apple to establish retail outlets there.

This comes as CEO Tim Cook tries to tap new global markets, especially India, a country of 1.3 billion people where it has seen small gains in iPhone sales.