Whenever Apple launches a new product, you can bet your bottom dollar that people will be queuing to buy it on day one. The sight of thousands of Apple fanatics lined up outside of stores waiting for them to open is a common one; there’s a passion behind these devices which is almost worrying, but it says a lot about how high items like the iPhone and iPad are held in the esteem of consumers.
However, something very odd happened last week when the iPhone XR launched – people appeared to stay at home. CNET has been tracking the event all over the globe and reports that unlike most iPhone launches, this one was curiously lacking when it came to lines of Apple fans, waiting with their cash in hand.
“At the Apple Store in the middle of Sydney, the entrance was quiet in the hour before doors opened,” says CNET. “Where lines have stretched around the corner in anticipation of buying Apple’s newest phone as recently as last month’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max launch, there were just a handful of people waiting for the iPhone XR. Meanwhile, there were a few dozen people at London’s Covent Garden store and the Fifth Avenue New York store.”
So what happened? Well, Apple took a slightly different strategy with this year’s iPhones. The iPhone XS and XS Max – arguably the ‘flagship’ devices – were launched a short time ago, with the iPhone XR – the cheapest option out of the three – being held back a couple of weeks. It could well be the case that all of the hardcore Apple fans got their shiny new phones when the XS models came out, leaving a smaller group to pick up the XR.
However, many have been predicting that the XR would be the surprise best-seller of the trio, due to the fact that it has the same Bionic A12 processor but costs significantly less. That may well still be the case as the number of people queuing up for a launch by no means signifies how successful a phone is going to be; the XR will probably become a very steady seller over the next 12 months as people upgrade their contracts and are drawn in by the promise of cutting-edge power for a lower price than the XS and XS Max.
Still, this could also be taken as a sign that something’s amiss. Apple’s previous attempt at creating a ‘budget’ device – the iPhone 5C – was apparently a disappointment in terms of sales, leading the company declining to create a direct successor. Hopefully, the same fate won’t befall the promising XR, which we’ll be reviewing very soon indeed.