Following on from this weekend’s stunning leak of the new iPhone 11 circuit board (which shows a less than quantum leap forward for the iPhone thanks to a slightly larger battery), it’s hard to see how the upcoming iPhone launch can make a difference to Apple’s current trajectory.
iPhone sales are falling, there is nothing new in the 2019 package to tempt consumers back to the iOS-powered handsets, and the dream of software and services ‘making up the revenue difference’ is a long way off. Analysts at Rosenblatt Securities have looked at the potential for the iPhone 11 and decided to downgrade its rating of Apple stock from ‘neutral’ to ‘sell’.
They expect that the sales of 2019’s iPhone handsets, including the new iPhone 11 XR, XS, and XS Max variants to continue to disappoint. Combine this with an expectation of reduced growth from Apple’s services and it’s hard to see how Apple can deliver results that show corporate growth.
In January this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook had to warn investors that the Cueprtino-based company would miss its quarterly revenue goal by almost ten percent. For a company that prides itself on understanding its audience this was an embarrassing moment. Poor sales in China and the other BRIC markets was highlighted as contributing to the miss, and there have been few signs that this has improved over the year.
From falling sales in India to being seen as a ‘second class’ smartphone, the iPhone is not performing in the key growth markets. There was nothing in the iPhone XS package that brought new consumers to the handset after the 2018 launch, and it’s a similar story with the 2019 models.
There is a slight reworking to the circuit board that will accommodate a slightly larger battery; there will be a number of additions that will allow the iPhone to finally include features that are seen as defaults for Android-powered smartphones; and Apple may be upgrading the camera optics but it’s an ugly solution with little flair to attract the fashionable buyers.
While Android-powered handsets are pushing forward with challenges to the expected form factors in the screen and forward facing cameras, faster and more efficient communication options in 5G, a wealth of options across multiple price points, what is Apple left with? The same offering as last year with a little bit more battery power, the same design language that was tired at best in 2017, and the same feature set as mid-range Android handsets.
Apple may have a suite of products that will “blow us away” as Tim Cook has promised, I just hope he doesn’t mean this year’s ugly and boring iPhones.