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There’s been a seemingly constant influx of dismal reports and analyst downgrades in recent weeks suggesting that Apple’s latest iPhone XS and iPhone XR aren’t selling quite as well as the company anticipated. Between the original news that more consumers might actually be purchasing its year-old iPhone 8 Plus (in lieu of brand-new offerings like the iPhone XR), to more recent revelations that Apple moved to cancel millions of its previously-placed iPhone XR orders — there’s more mounting evidence now than ever before hinting that’s the case.
Now, in what might arguably represent the latest of Apple’s struggles to jump-start new iPhone XS and XR sales, a report published this week by Bloomberg notes that the company reassigned several of its marketing staff from the individual projects they were working on, to focusing exclusively on iPhone marketing.
“Company executives moved some marketing staff from other projects to work on bolstering sales of the latest handsets in October, about a month after the iPhone XS went on sale and in the days around the launch of the iPhone XR,” a source familiar with the situation (but who requested anonymity) told Bloomberg, describing the situation as a “fire drill” — a poignant overture hinting that newer iPhone models aren’t selling well.
Lending even further credence to this stark outlook, Apple recently updated its official Apple.com webpage with a number of new tell-tale additions, including the launch of a limited-time promotion where those trading in select iPhone models with the intent of upgrading to an XS or XR will receive an additional ~$100 in trade-in credit.
A new banner is also now plastered across the top on Apple’s main landing page, promoting a previously unreported promotion where users trading in an iPhone 7 or newer can snag the all-new iPhone XR for just $449*. (*See the company’s website for more details on this limited-time offer).
Apple appears to have also updated the marketing terminology and style on its website with new descriptions of iPhone XR and iPhone XS features, as pointed out by 9to5Mac. As recently as last week, Apple offered succinct, one-line-zinger marketing slogans — i.e., “Brilliant. In every way” — to describe its signature iPhone XR. In the abstract slogan’s place, Apple now lists several major features, including its “All-screen design. Longest battery life ever in an iPhone. Fastest Performance. Studio-quality photos” to describe the mid-range iPhone XR.
Ultimately, as Bloomberg points out, these are just the latest indications from Apple that its 2018 iPhone models aren’t selling as effortlessly as we’ve witnessed in the wake of previous iPhone launches.
On Tuesday, Apple’s stock (NASDAQ; AAPL) shed an additional 6 percent based on a downgrade issued by British mega-bank HSBC, who noted in their analysis that iPhone growth is effectively “over” for now.
“What has made the success of Apple, a concentrated portfolio of highly desirable (and pricey) products, is now facing the reality of market saturation,” HSBC analysts wrote in a note to investors.