Apple Reportedly Cuts iPhone XS and iPhone XR Production Orders Amid Lower-Than-Expected Demand

In recent weeks, Apple slashed production orders for its latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR models due to "lower-than-expected demand," among other reasons, according to unnamed sources cited by The Wall Street Journal.

iphone xs vs xr
The report claims the production cuts have hit the iPhone XR hardest, with Apple said to have slashed its production plan for the device by "up to a third of the approximately 70 million units" it had asked some suppliers to produce between September and February, amounting to a reduction of up to 23.3 million units or so.

And in the past week, the report claims Apple told several suppliers that it cut its production plan again for the iPhone XR, as it battles a mature smartphone market and increasing competition from Chinese vendors like Huawei.

The production cuts are said to have "reignited frustration" among iPhone suppliers and "raised worries about Apple's ability to forecast demand."

We've heard this narrative before. Last year, a flurry of reports variously referred to the iPhone X as a "failure," "disappointment," and "flop." Another report said the iPhone X "did not live up to the hype." Yet, the iPhone X went on to become not only the top-selling iPhone at Apple, but in the entire world.

Apple also reported record-breaking iPhone revenue of $61.5 billion in the iPhone X launch quarter, so the device was anything but a flop.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has dismissed these kind of reports in the past. During an earnings call in January 2013, he noted that the company's supply chain is very complex and that conclusions shouldn't be drawn from singular data points:

Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to interpret that data point as to what it meant to our business. The supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for things. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There is an inordinate long list of things that can make any single data point not a great proxy for what is going on.

Apple's financial chief Luca Maestri has also cautioned about trying to determine iPhone demand based on potentially misleading supply chain reports.

It is possible, however, that Apple is increasingly struggling to forecast iPhone demand. Today's report claims that Apple was "excessively optimistic" about its initial production forecast for the iPhone X, which it proceeded to slash "by some 20 million units" for the first three months of 2018.

Unfortunately, iPhone sales will be less transparent going forward, as Apple announced that it will no longer disclose iPhone unit sales in its earnings reports starting with the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year.

Justifying the move, Maestri said unit sales are "not particularly relevant for our company at this point," as they are "not necessarily representative of the underlying strength of our business." He added that Apple may provide qualitative commentary related to unit sales if the info is valuable to investors.

Apple will still disclose iPhone revenue on a quarterly basis, however, and any significant year-over-year decline in that amount would help indicate if iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR demand is truly lower than expected.

AAPL is down nearly 15 percent since Apple's earnings report on November 1.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

Top Rated Comments

2ilent8cho Avatar
26 months ago
Need to cut the price, not the orders.
Score: 251 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sequential Avatar
26 months ago
keep robbing your customers and eventually it's going to come back to you.
Score: 175 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacFather Avatar
26 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 146 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radon87000 Avatar
26 months ago
Good. Time to bring prices down to a sane level.
Score: 115 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
26 months ago
Apple also slashed iPhone SE production — to zero. :mad:

That's when they lost me as a phone customer.
Score: 110 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruiserBear Avatar
26 months ago
Their greedy push for bigger profit margins was bound to bite them in the ass. I won't be surprised one bit if the new iPad Pro sees sales fall off as well. They can't continue to raise prices with this much competition.
Score: 97 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
ipad pro 2020 display

Black Friday Week Kicks Off With Up to $150 Savings on 2020 iPad Pro

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:37 pm PST by
As we head into Black Friday week, we're seeing some of the best deals of the season so far, with Amazon and Best Buy today discounting the latest iPad Pro models by up to $150 at the lowest prices we've ever tracked on these models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep ...
macos big sur m1 macs restore issue

Apple Provides Instructions to Fix macOS Reinstallation Errors on M1 Macs

Sunday November 22, 2020 3:30 pm PST by
Shortly after the launch of Apple's new M1 Macs, we saw reports that attempts to restore and reinstall macOS on those machines right away could result in an installation error that would leave your Mac non-functional. Specifically, the error message would read: "An error occurred preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update. Please try again." Over the weekend, Apple p...
iPhone 6s main

Rumor Claims iOS 15 to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and Original iPhone SE

Sunday November 22, 2020 9:25 am PST by
Apple will drop support for the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus in next year's release of iOS 15, according to a rumor shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. If the rumor is accurate, that would mean iOS 15 will be compatible with the following Apple devices: 2021 iPhone series iPhone 12 Pro Max iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 12 mini iPhone 12 iPhone 11 iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 11 Pro ...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
xlK6MS4MLqVFaskl

iFixit Shares iPhone 12 Pro Max Teardown Revealing L-Shaped Battery and Bigger Camera Module

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:53 am PST by
In the last of its iPhone 12 series teardowns, iFixit has published its iPhone 12 Pro Max disassembly, which reveals some unique differences in the design of the internals, including the full extent of the larger camera system responsible for the improved low-light performance on Apple's largest iPhone to date. On opening the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the first obvious difference compared to the...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...