Apple's iPhone shipments declined massively in China last month

Apple's iPhone shipments declined massively in China last month
The iPhone 11 got off to such a great start in China that Apple returned to growth for the first time in twelve months. But according to one analyst, that new-found success was unfortunately very short-lived.

iPhone sales are down dramatically in China

The latest data gathered by Credit Suisse analyst Matt Cabral suggests Apple experienced a very noticeable 10.3% year-on-year drop in iPhone shipments throughout October in China. This was followed by an even bigger and more worrying 35.4% year-on-year decline in November. 

Corroborating the news is an earlier report by Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang that says Apple is in the process of cutting iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max production by 25% for the current quarter. It should be followed up by further decreases in early 2019 for the standard iPhone 11.

Apple experienced one of its worst results in years during the 2018 holiday season in China, so any further declines could be very significant for the company which has been hoping for a rebound recently.

Credit Suisse does warn that monthly shipment data can be “volatile” but the results nevertheless paint an even bleaker picture when contrasted against the rest of the market which, overall, experienced a slight year-on-year growth of 0.2%.

Another factor worth noting is the different release cycle Apple adopted this year. In 2018, the Cupertino giant released the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max in late September but delayed the iPhone XR until late October. This created a one-off boost that clearly hasn’t been repeated this time around because Apple decided to release all of its iPhone 11 models in September.

Apple's hoping 5G iPhones will save it next year

It’s believed Apple’s poor performance in China may also have something to do with the growing interest in 5G. The company’s smartphones are only compatible with 4G LTE networks yet local consumers are now looking to purchase future-proof devices.

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Apple is working hard to fix this situation by releasing up to four 5G-ready iPhones next year but these aren’t expected to debut until mid-September, so its performance throughout most of 2020 is expected to be pretty poor in the grand scheme of things.

To refresh your memory, the Silicon Valley-based brand is reportedly developing four iPhone 12 models. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is expected to be the highlight of the bunch thanks to its massive 6.7-inch OLED display that makes use of a redesigned notch and slimmer bezels.

It’ll be accompanied by a smaller iPhone 12 Pro which should include a 6.1-inch OLED display with the same characteristics. Both of these Pro-branded iPhones are also expected to feature a triple-camera setup on the rear accompanied by a new 3D sensing system that’s more advanced than Face ID. 

People on tighter budgets are on track to gain access to two devices next year rather than one. The first will probably be called the iPhone 12 and is reportedly going to feature a compact 5.4-inch OLED display that’ll borrow the notch and bezels from this year’s iPhone 11 Pro. 

It should be slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 but a little bigger than the iPhone SE and will cram in a dual-camera setup on the back. This layout should be carried over to the larger iPhone 12 Plus which is rumored to include a 6.1-inch display. 

These iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro phones will all be powered by the next-generation A14 Bionic chipset. Rumors suggest it’ll be paired with a 4/64GB base configuration on the standard models and a 6/128GB setup on the Pro-branded alternatives.

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