AWT News Update: December 18, 2017

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iPhone X availability rises, iPhone 6s devices with old batteries might be slowing down, and Apple raises iPhone prices in India in return for the country raising import taxes:

  • The iPhone X is now available same day at most US Apple retail stores, and production is going so well that global supply equilibrium is expected in the next month
  • Apple may be reducing the performance of iPhone 6s devices with degraded batteries to prevent shutdowns
  • India raised consumer electronics import taxes; Apple raises iPhone prices 

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for December 18, 2017.  

Thinking about picking up an iPhone X for Christmas, either for yourself or someone else? There’s good news — the iPhone X is now available for next-day delivery in the US as well as same-day pickup from most stores. Analyst Gene Munster from Loup Ventures expects that global supply equilibrium will be reached by mid-January, which should help sales in Apple’s second fiscal year 2018 quarter ending March 31. Availability has been climbing over the past few weeks; just in the last week, iPhone Xs were available at just 27 percent of US Apple retail stores. By the end of the week, they were available at 54 percent of stores. Since the iPhone X is much more expensive than other models, Munster also believes that the overall iPhone average selling price will be $740 — that’s much higher than the average Wall Street prediction of $705. Before the iPhone X launched, average selling price for iPhones was $619. The iPhone average selling price will see a benefit in this quarter ending December 31, 2017, but limited availability during much of the quarter means that Apple’s financials won’t see the real boost until the next quarter.

If you have an iPhone 6s running iOS 10.2, 10.2.1 or 11.2 and  you think your phone is slowing down, you might not be wrong. The founder of Geekbench publisher Primate Labs, John Poole, plotted the kernel density of Geekbench 4 scores and has visualized a link between lower performance and degraded battery health. Under iOS 10.2, almost all iPhone 6s devices benchmarked similarly in performance. Since 10.2.1 arrived in January of 2017, the distribution of iPhone 6s Geekbench scores is multimodal, meaning that while most scores are still around a specific peak, there are other small peaks around lower scores for groups of phones running the test. Apple said that it made improvements in iOS 10.2.1 to resolve occurrences of iPhone shutdowns that a small group of users were having. The cause of the shutdowns was reportedly uneven power delivery from older batteries which would cause the devices to shut down. A Reddit discussion about the Geekbench charts has fueled speculation that Apple is intentionally slowing down older iPhones to maximize power efficiency and stability when battery capacity has degraded. If you run Geekbench on an iPhone 6s and see that your device isn’t running around the average score, you may want to have your battery replaced. Apple charges $79 out of warranty to replace the battery in all eligible iPhone models in the US, which would not only bring your phone back to the ability to hold a charge longer, but may also speed it back up to its original performance. 

Apple and the country of India have been sniping at each other for years, but we all thought that the start of production of some iPhone models in India would stop that. Well, apparently not. The country decided recently to levy a heavy increase in import taxes on consumer electronics, so Apple has retaliated in kind by raising the prices of several iPhone models — none of which are made in India. A 256GB iPhone 8 now running the local equivalent of about $1,237, while a 256GB iPhone X costs the equivalent of $1,647. Apple would like to expand local manufacturing in India, and has requested tax breaks and other incentives in exchange. The Indian government is making little or no effort to help.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.