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Slow iPhone sales? iPhone XR is our best-selling model, says Apple

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Amid reports that consumers aren’t biting at Apple’s 2018 iPhones, an Apple exec reckons the cheaper iPhone XR is actually the company’s best-seller.

The iPhone XR has been Apple’s “most popular iPhone each and every day since it became available”, Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing, told ZDNet sister site CNET.

Apple tempted consumers with the $1,000-plus iPhone XS and XS Max for one month before allowing anyone to see or test the iPhone XR, which starts at $749.

The iPhone XR has an LCD display rather than the OLED on the iPhone XS. It’s also not quite as water resistant, is only available with up to 256GB of storage, and uses Haptic Touch rather than 3D Touch. But otherwise it is a comparably good iPhone for $250 less. Still, it’s $150 more than the iPhone 8.

Apple’s October quarter is the last time it will report iPhone unit sales, which were flat while revenues increased 30 percent. Apple isn’t projecting the December quarter to be a bumper one in terms of iPhone revenue.

Joswiak refused to comment on last week’s Wall Street Journal report that Apple had recently cut production orders for all three 2018 iPhone models. The paper also reported Apple was resuming iPhone X production to meet minimum screen orders in its contract with display supplier Samsung.

Apple’s share price has fallen about 20 percent since releasing figures for the October quarter and took a hit again after President Trump said he might impose a 10 percent to 25 percent tariff on iPhones and laptops imported from China.

That the iPhone XR is the outselling the iPhone XS could mean reports have been correct in suggesting the 2017 iPhone X’s $1,000 price tag was too high for most consumers.

At the time, Tim Cook told analysts that Apple was surprised to the find the “iPhone X winds up as the [best-] selling, most popular [device] for every week … since the launch”.

But that was also the first time since 2014 that the top iPhone model was also the most popular, added Cook.

The iPhone XR has an LCD display rather than the iPhone XS’ OLED, less storage, and Haptic Touch but otherwise it is a comparably good iPhone for $250 less.


Image: Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Previous and related coverage

Apple to iPhone owners: Up to $100 more for your old phone if you buy XS, XR

No discounts on the iPhone XS, but Apple will give you more for an old iPhone.

Apple restarting iPhone X production, cutting XS price over slow sales?

Apple is said to be ready to offer subsidies to operators to discount the iPhone XR in Japan.

Apple iPhone XR review: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

Apple switched up release strategies a bit in 2018 with the two high end $1,000+ models released initially, followed by one priced $250 to $350 less. The iPhone XR arrives in six color options and honestly it may be the best option for the masses.

Trump: iPhone buyers could ‘very easily’ stand paying 10% more with China tariff

Ahead of this week’s G20 meeting, Trump talks up tariffs on Chinese-made iPhones and MacBooks.

One month with the Apple iPhone XR: Long battery life, solid camera, and fun colors

After a month of use with the least expensive new iPhone, it is clear to me that it’s likely the best new iPhone for most people, including me. It has grown on me over the month and I’ve been buying accessories to support its use over the long term.

Demand for new iPhones weaker than Apple expected, claims report TechRepublic

It seems that Apple is having a hard time forecasting what the demand for new iPhones will be, and is being forced to slash production orders as a result.

Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR CNET

With all of Apple’s latest iPhones you can’t plug your standard wired headphones into the phone without using a Lightning adapter, which Apple includes along with a set of Lightning EarPods.

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3 questions for the startup market as we enter Q3 – TechCrunch

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Somehow June is over in just a few hours, meaning that we are trotting toward the third quarter’s starting line.

Leaving aside the uncomfortably rapid pace at which time is flying past us, entering a new financial reporting period is an excellent moment to pause, reflect and work out the key questions for the upcoming quarter. After all, we’ve seen so very much change on a quarterly basis lately that each quarter feels like a year.


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Recall Q3 2021, for example. After a lighter second quarter, the IPO market regained its footing last July, forcing this column to group public offerings into batches to just stay on top of them. And then Q3 set a huge record in terms of total venture capital investment to boot. Robinhood went public. It was busy.

The final quarter of 2021 was different. Seeing both the peak of many technology company valuations and their initial descent, Q4 of last year was a liminal state between the tail end of a long-running bull market and a rearing correction. Q1 2022 continued that trend, but with more bear than bull, and the second quarter — though we have yet to collect all the data — featured a moribund IPO market, rising startup layoffs, a crypto winter and more.

So what will Q3 2022 bring for global startups? Let’s talk through what we’re tracking, expecting and perhaps even dreading.

As we are on the cusp of a Friday before a long weekend, I know that you mentally have one foot on the beach. I promise that we’ll be brief today. Let’s talk through the three questions we have for Q3:

Will valuations recover?

For a brief period in the final weeks of Q2, it appeared that software stocks were mounting what could have been called a modest recovery. The Bessemer Cloud Index’s ETF closed at 25.93 on June 16, before ticking up to close at 31.21 on June 24. That bump did not last.

Since the little boomlet in software stocks, the same basket of companies is now down to 27.99 points, giving back the bulk of its gains. As the ETF traded as high as 65.51 in the last year, the recovery was modest at best. That it was also transient feels nearly rude.

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China’s tech giants promise speculation-free NFTs – TechCrunch

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The future of non-fungible tokens is getting more clarity in China as the country’s tech giants come together to formulate standards for the nascent industry.

The China Cultural Industry Association, along with Tencent, Ant Group, Baidu, and others, jointly issued a “self-disciplined development proposal” for the “digital collectible industry,” a rebranded term for NFT in China to do away with the technology’s financial aspects.

While industry associations do not have regulatory power, they can be conducive to developing standards and best practices within an industry. The China Cultural Industry Association was founded with permission from the State Council and counts Alibaba and Tencent among its members, according to information on its website.

China’s NFT enthusiasts have been watching out for regulatory directions from the top. After China outlawed cryptocurrency trading, the speculation was that NFTs in their purest form — traded with cryptocurrencies on global, public blockchains, freely and anonymously — would not be allowed in the country.

That looks to be the case. In April, China’s financial associations proposed that NFTs must not be used for securitization or transacted in cryptocurrencies.

China’s NFT industry may be a step closer to regulation with the country’s largest platform operators taking a stance. Digital collectible platforms, according to the proposal issued by Tencent, Ant Group, and others, should hold relevant regulatory permits, ensure the security of underlying blockchain technologies, enforce user real-identity checks, step up intellectual property protection, resolutely ban financial speculations, and promote rational consumption among users.

Tech firms in China have been testing the waters before NFT regulations set in. Behemoths from Tencent, Ant Group to Baidu have all launched their digital collectible marketplaces built on private, consortium chains. Users can only make purchases with the Chinese fiat currency RMB, and secondary trading is widely prohibited to prevent price gouging.

One company decided to take its ambition beyond China to explore the full scope of NFTs. In April, Bilibili, China’s top user-generated video streaming site, commissioned a Singapore-based company to launch an Ethereum-based NFT collection inspired by the site’s brand assets.

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Instagram tests ditching video posts in favor of Reels – TechCrunch

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Instagram is testing a change that turns video posts into Reels, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The company says the change, which is currently being tested with select users around the world, is part of Instagram’s plan to simplify video on the app.

“We’re testing this feature as part of our efforts to simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram,” a spokesperson from Meta said in an email.

A screenshot posted on Twitter by social media consultant Matt Navarra shows that people who are part of the test will see an in-app message that says “video posts are now shared as Reels.”

The message indicates that if your account is public and you post a video that ends up being turned into a Reel, anyone can discover your Reel and use your original audio to create their own Reel. If your account is set to private, your Reel will only be visible to your followers. The message also notes that once you post a Reel, anyone can create a remix with your Reel if your account is public. However, you can prevent people from remixing your Reels in your account settings.

As with any other test, it’s unknown when or if Instagram plans to roll out the change more widely. If the change does become permanent, it may pose some challenges. For example, it could be difficult to post a horizontal video if it gets uploaded in a vertical Reels format. In addition, Instagram did not say how this change will affect current videos on Instagram.

The test comes as Meta has been betting big on Reels. As part of its Q1 2022 earnings, the company revealed that Reels now make up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram. It’s not surprising that Instagram is looking to expand Reels even more by replacing video posts altogether. If the company does end up making this change permanent, it could boast about people spending even more time viewing Reels. 

Last year, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the app was “no longer a photo-sharing app,” noting the company was prioritizing a shift into video amid significant competition from TikTok and YouTube. The company then took a step toward its larger goal of making video a more central part of the Instagram experience by combining IGTV’s long-form video and Instagram Feed videos into a new format simply called “Instagram Video.”

If Instagram decides to turn all video uploads into Reels, it would consolidate the company’s video elements even further. Last year, when Mosseri laid out Instagram’s priorities for 2022, he said the company would double down on video and focus on Reels. He even hinted that Instagram would consolidate all of its video products around Reels and continue to grow the short-form product, which indicates that this change may have always been the plan.

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