Steve Wozniak may not have been a regular Apple employee in decades, but his comments on the company continue to shape public perception of its products. Earlier this week, Woz announced he wouldn’t be buying an iPhone X, despite having jumped for Day 1 upgrades in every previous event.“I’d rather wait and watch that one. I’m happy with my iPhone 8 — which is the same as the iPhone 7, which is the same as the iPhone 6, to me,” Wozniak said, speaking from the sidelines of the Money 20/20 conference. “For some reason, the iPhone X is going to be the first iPhone I didn’t — on day one — upgrade to. But my wife will, so I’ll be close enough to see it.”CNBC goes on to note many of the same trends we’ve discussed. The iPhone X is a fundamentally risky bet for Apple, but not all analysts are on the negative train. UBS analyst Steven Milunovich writes that the softness in the market could be good or bad depending on whether people order an iPhone X or simply turn-off Apple altogether. There’s another option I haven’t previously stated — people could be raring to upgrade, but holding off to see if the iPhone X is actually worth the money or not. If they decide it isn’t, people may still be willing to pick up an iPhone 8 instead.Venture capitalist Gene Munster notes that iPhone searches are down 10% year-on-year, but also believes that demand will be split between the iPhone X and iPhone 8, and that their combined sales could lead to higher overall numbers for Apple.As for me, I’m guessing that Apple’s unit shipments could stay steady or decline, but that its revenue could rise based on the iPhone X’s $1000 minimum selling price. Whether this translates into a profit will depend on what (if anything) holds up device production. If the company can crank them out at the 400,000 figure is reportedly targeting, there’s a better chance the hardware has a positive impact.I know I’ve written a lot about the iPhone X, but it’s a genuinely interesting topic (at least to me). I’m not going to argue over whether or not Apple has actually introduced many innovative features here — Face ID, if it works, will be a step forward for biometric authentication, but many of the iPhone X’s other features have been deployed on various Android devices before. What’s unusual here is that Apple is trying to establish a luxury device tier at a price point that’s still significantly higher than the opening price for many equivalently sized devices.There aren’t many companies that could succeed at pulling this off in the smartphone market and you can bet companies like Samsung and Google will be watching to see if the iPhone X kicks Apple’s revenue and unit share upwards or ultimately fizzles. If consumers respond to the idea of an explicitly forward-looking, premium-level phone, I’d expect to see $1000 devices rolling out from Android manufacturers sooner rather than later.Whether or not they can capture market share is, of course, another story. Once upon a time, Android tablets were going to bury the iPad in a flood of cheap, highly effective clones. Today, almost no one in the Android ecosystem talks about tablets, and only Apple seems to seriously be invested in building faster, more capable devices.
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