Sales of the iPhone 7 have suspiciously slowed down more than iPhones usually do at this point in their lifecycle. Tim Cook blames us. More specifically, Tim Cook blames iPhone 8 leakers and people spreading leaks for a drop in demand, stating, “We are seeing a pause in purchases of the iPhone due to earlier and much more frequent reports about future iPhones.” People seeing how great the iPhone 8 will be are unlikely to want to waste money on the iPhone 7 right now. Cook’s definitely correct, the iPhone 8 leaks we’ve seen have shown off an incredible device that would be a fantastic leap forward in iPhone design, that would certainly cause interest in the current iPhone to drop. However, if the current iPhone wasn’t so shockingly lackluster, customers would still be buying it.
Tim Cook’s trying to put the blame on iPhone 8 leakers, but he should really be looking at the iPhone 7 (above) a bit more closely. Whoops, sorry, that’s a three year old iPhone 6. You can tell because it still has the popular headphone jack at the bottom. Wait… no, it couldn’t be. Do you think? Could the uninspired iPhone 7 be Apple’s actual problem?
The new iPhone leaks every year, but I’ll give credit to Tim Cook, this year was certainly a bit different. News of a special edition iPhone had leaked last year, claiming the device Apple would reveal this year would be revolutionary. No matter what Apple revealed, the iPhone 7 was going to be a slight disappointment, because it could never live up to the hype surrounding the iPhone 8 (iPhone X, iPhone Edition, iPhone Extra Special, etc). However, Apple revealed a smartphone that would be a huge disappointment any year. It shares the form factor of the iPhone 6, a worn out design that was never too impressive and is hard to grip, Apple removed the headphone jack, making it impossible to listen to music while charging without an adapter of some kind (something I, and many others, do every day), and their best new feature, the new dual camera, was reserved for the iPhone 7 plus. Sure, Apple improved the area around the camera a bit, introduced optical image stabilization for the smaller iPhone 7, removed the ugly antenna bands, introduced stereo sounds, tweaked the screen, and improved the processor, but these were seen as changes that were a long time coming. Most of those updates could and should have been introduced with the iPhone 6. Basically, the iPhone 7 fixed many of the small problems of the iPhone 6, while leaving the worst problems alone and introducing new ones. The iPhone 7 was never going to be a success, and there’s no way Apple didn’t know that.
Perhaps a “gap phone” was Apple’s goal all along. Release a phone that wouldn’t revolutionize cellphones, would rehash an old design, and save on costs as well as development time. Introduce a phone that was just unique enough to sell new devices, while helping customers grow accustomed to missing the headphone jack. The large screen of the iPhone 8 can’t fit a headphone jack underneath it without growing fatter, so Apple had to get rid of it. Instead of surprising everyone, they got customers used to the idea with the iPhone 7. They saved time and money on development by using old hardware, so they could focus on making the iPhone 8 a gigantic leap forward. Apple knew they were releasing their “best iPhone ever,” but they also knew that it was only slightly better than the one that came before it.
This leaves Apple in a tricky spot. They can’t blame the lackluster iPhone 7 for a drop in sales, because that would make them look bad. They can’t claim the iPhone 7 was disappointing because they were working on a phenomenal new phone that would take two years of focuses development, because that would hurt sales more and reveal their hand by confirming the iPhone 8. Basically, there was little they could say right now to explain the drop in iPhone 7 sales, so Tim Cook stuck with an old favorite, blaming leakers and the press. We’ll have to wait to see the iPhone 8, but hopefully his gamble will pay off.
- India Ashok, IBTimes: “Tim Cook blames escalating iPhone 8 leaks for fall in iPhone sales.“
- Olivia Solon, The Guardian: “Apple reports surprise drop in iPhone sales, again.“