Amid reports that consumers aren't biting at Apple's 2018 iPhones, an Apple exec reckons the cheaper iPhone XR is actually the company's best-seller.
The iPhone XR has been Apple's "most popular iPhone each and every day since it became available", Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing, told ZDNet sister site CNET.
Apple tempted consumers with the $1,000-plus iPhone XS and XS Max for one month before allowing anyone to see or test the iPhone XR, which starts at $749.
The iPhone XR has an LCD display rather than the OLED on the iPhone XS. It's also not quite as water resistant, is only available with up to 256GB of storage, and uses Haptic Touch rather than 3D Touch. But otherwise it is a comparably good iPhone for $250 less. Still, it's $150 more than the iPhone 8.
Apple's October quarter is the last time it will report iPhone unit sales, which were flat while revenues increased 30 percent. Apple isn't projecting the December quarter to be a bumper one in terms of iPhone revenue.
Joswiak refused to comment on last week's Wall Street Journal report that Apple had recently cut production orders for all three 2018 iPhone models. The paper also reported Apple was resuming iPhone X production to meet minimum screen orders in its contract with display supplier Samsung.
SEE: Apple iOS 12: An insider's guide (free PDF)
Apple's share price has fallen about 20 percent since releasing figures for the October quarter and took a hit again after President Trump said he might impose a 10 percent to 25 percent tariff on iPhones and laptops imported from China.
That the iPhone XR is the outselling the iPhone XS could mean reports have been correct in suggesting the 2017 iPhone X's $1,000 price tag was too high for most consumers.
At the time, Tim Cook told analysts that Apple was surprised to the find the "iPhone X winds up as the [best-] selling, most popular [device] for every week ... since the launch".
But that was also the first time since 2014 that the top iPhone model was also the most popular, added Cook.
Previous and related coverage
No discounts on the iPhone XS, but Apple will give you more for an old iPhone.
Apple is said to be ready to offer subsidies to operators to discount the iPhone XR in Japan.
Apple switched up release strategies a bit in 2018 with the two high end $1,000+ models released initially, followed by one priced $250 to $350 less. The iPhone XR arrives in six color options and honestly it may be the best option for the masses.
Ahead of this week's G20 meeting, Trump talks up tariffs on Chinese-made iPhones and MacBooks.
After a month of use with the least expensive new iPhone, it is clear to me that it's likely the best new iPhone for most people, including me. It has grown on me over the month and I've been buying accessories to support its use over the long term.
It seems that Apple is having a hard time forecasting what the demand for new iPhones will be, and is being forced to slash production orders as a result.
With all of Apple's latest iPhones you can't plug your standard wired headphones into the phone without using a Lightning adapter, which Apple includes along with a set of Lightning EarPods.