Chinese customers take wait-and-see view of iPhone 8

Updated 2017-09-22 09:31:08 Global Times

Three days after Apple unveiled several new phones and new versions of its Apple Watch, orders in China from different platforms are lower than for the iPhone 7, and experts said it would take time for Chinese consumers to decide which device would be worth their money.

At JD.com Inc there were 1.5 million bookings for iPhone 8 in the three-day period, while for the iPhone 7, there were 3.5 million bookings at the same point, domestic news site wallstreetcn.com reported on Thursday.

On the booking platform of telecom carrier China Mobile, there were 1 million orders for the iPhone 8, far fewer than for the iPhone 7 at 2.5 million and iPhone 6 at 3.5 million, the report said.

"I don't think I need to upgrade to the iPhone 8 as I bought an iPhone 7 just three months ago," a consumer surnamed Wang told the Global Times on Thursday. "Why bother? I am still happy with my iPhone 7."

"I'd rather wait longer for the iPhone X," another of the new models, a consumer surnamed Chang told the Global Times.

"Chinese consumers might be waiting for the moment when they can have a hands-on experience to test the functions of the iPhone X. If they are convinced, they will buy the iPhone X, instead of the iPhone 8," Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday. "Of course it will also depend on the supplies of the iPhone X. If consumers have to wait a long time to buy it, they might turn to the iPhone 8."

A Chinese consumer surnamed Huang has already decided to purchase iPhone X. He is enthusiastic about the full-screen design and curious about the Face ID function.

"Not all iPhone users can afford the pricey iPhone X," Zhu Dalin, an analyst with IT research firm Analysys International, told the Global Times. "The iPhone 8 functions don't live up to the expectations of Chinese consumers. However, iOS users' stickiness is relatively high. They are unlikely to switch to the Android operating system."

Considering the lifecycle for each series is 18 months to two years, Zhu said the market for new models may be getting saturated.

Supply-wise, Zhu predicted that the iPhone 8 situation will be stable while iPhone X availability might be tight because the model's technical requirements are higher and mass production might take longer.

The Apple Watch Series 3 won't be available until Friday.

On Thursday, a review of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE was published by theverge.com, a U.S.-based technology news and media site, which said that Apple Watch's connections were missed and there was a notable battery drain.

"Consumers need to decide whether they will need to upgrade their Apple Watch," Wang said.

According to Wang, the consumers need to be sure if their local telecom carriers support the cellular connection or not, and Apple might need to negotiate with telecom operators for some functions.

"Right now, even if someone buys an Apple Watch 3, it will only function as an Apple Watch 2 until support is offered by China's three major operators," Wang said.

Apple has admitted there is a glitch in the Apple Watch 3 that affects its ability to connect to wireless networks independently of an iPhone, according to the Financial Times on Wednesday.

The iPhone 8 will be on sale this Friday at 5,888 yuan (3) and the iPhone X will be on sale on November 3 at 8,388 yuan in the Chinese mainland market.

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