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Reportedly, Apple’s iPhone 15 series is experiencing considerably lower sales than its predecessor, the iPhone 14, in China.

Globally released less than a month ago, the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max seem to have already been embroiled in more controversies than the iPhone 14 family in its entire existence so far, with legitimate durability concerns being followed by relatively widespread out-of-the-box defects, even more frequent overheating issues, and several other bugs that don’t appear to have been universally and satisfactorily fixed.

While it’s currently unclear if all this negative press and the unfavorable reports of so many early adopters around the world have had an effect on the quartet’s recent sales numbers, multiple trustworthy sources are claiming that Apple is not doing great at the crucial Chinese box-office.

How bad is it?

Said estimates currently seem to vary from bad to… worse for Apple, as Counterpoint Research believes the iPhone 15 lineup is about 4.5 percent behind the iPhone 14 series after 17 days of measured availability in the region while Jefferies analysts are putting the year-on-year dip in double-digit territory, which would clearly be a terrible result for the world’s number two smartphone vendor.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max (pictured here) might be similar, but they’re apparently not similarly successful, at least in China.

Apple, mind you, occupied second place in China’s overall sales chart by manufacturer between April and June 2023 as well while merely settling for the number four spot back in Q3 2022. It’s too early to know how Counterpoint, for instance, will wrap up its Chinese shipment report for this year’s third calendar quarter, but at least Huawei is poised to beat Apple due among others to the massive popularity of the state-of-the-art Mate 60 Pro.

Huawei was ranked (well) behind Apple in its homeland both in Q3 2022 and Q2 2023, being now predicted to prevail in this head-to-head high-end battle for the entirety of next year.

Of course, this is far from Apple’s only big regional rival, and because China remains a very value-focused market, brands like Vivo and Oppo and even the likes of Honor and Xiaomi will probably further contribute to the iPhone 15 family’s problems. Believe it or not, these are apparently worse than they’ve been for the past several iPhone generations, with initial estimates suggesting “one of the worst debuts in China since around 2018” for an Apple-made handset series.

iPhones will always have America

“Always” is obviously a long time and no one can really predict how the US mobile industry will look three or five years down the line, but for now, Apple seems impossible to beat on its home turf.

Yes, the iPhone 15 series has reportedly posted “double-digit” growth compared to the iPhone 14 lineup in terms of their sales over their first nine days of commercial availability, which should definitely take “some of the sting off the China numbers.”

This Counterpoint Research graph perfectly illustrates how far ahead of the competition Apple is in the US smartphone market. - Apple's iPhone 15 series is reportedly selling 'far worse' than the iPhone 14 in ChinaThis Counterpoint Research graph perfectly illustrates how far ahead of the competition Apple is in the US smartphone market.

This will undoubtedly allow Apple to remain by far the largest smartphone vendor stateside in both Q3 and Q4 2023, but in the long run, many analysts and market researchers believe that “weak demand in China” might translate into “lower-than-expected global shipments” for the iPhone family on the whole.

That doesn’t sound very encouraging for a tech giant that’s made a lot of effort to grow in two key global markets over the last few years. We’re of course talking about China and India, and ironically, the former region looked like a slightly easier nut to crack than the latter, especially with local media reports last month suggesting iPhone 15 sales were getting off to a flying start.

That was clearly either fake news… or at least grossly exaggerated news, with what was originally described as booming demand suddenly falling off a cliff for unknown and hard-to-guess reasons.

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