Apple’s China Sales Collapse as Everyone Takes Note of Total Lack of Innovation

Previously: Apple Offering Rare Discount on iPhones in China as People Choose Huawei

It’s not just “economic slowdown” that leads to “longer upgrade cycles.” It’s the fact that nothing has fundamentally changed about the iPhone since the iPhone 6, except that they removed the button.

Instead of preparing for a situation where people didn’t need a new phone every year because we’ve reached “peak smartphone,” Apple is flailing around, changing minor aspects of the look of the phone so people can tell it’s “this year’s model,” and trying to get people to buy it as a status symbol.

The problem is, if you actually do go buy a new iPhone every year as a status symbol, you’re simply proving you are a seeker of status symbols, and a cheap seeker. An iPhone might be too expensive at $1,100 or whatever they are now, but spending that much per year doesn’t prove you’re rich. Someone who wants to prove they’re rich is going to wear a $50,000 watch, and then use a three-year-old iPhone: this shows that they are doing very well, in fact they are doing so well, they can’t be bothered with peasant status symbols like dealing with the annoyance of upgrading a phone every year.

Apple’s business practices that lack any innovation are, ironically, one of the main reasons the company cannot maintain the ridiculous sales they aim for. If they were a super-exciting company, people would probably be interested in upgrading every year. But they’re a company who is obsessed with you upgrading every year, which is not exciting at all, so no one is upgrading every year.

In China, there are worse problems, as the iPhone has become a symbol of American imperialism. That’s really an image they could have done a lot to prevent, but they didn’t. Apple’s ads are all just black women and homos, which is what the Chinese accurately view as the precise face of American imperialism.


Apple’s weak China sales performance may have shocked investors, but customers and analysts have been noting the rising challenges the company faces in its third-largest market.

Intensifying competition from domestic rivals, coupled with longer upgrade cycles as consumers spend more cautiously amid an economic slowdown, have stunted Apple’s China growth, with sales there nosediving by 13% in the quarter ending in December to $20.8 billion and missing estimates of $23.5 billion.

Shares of the company dipped about 3% in premarket trading on Friday, following the disappointing China sales.

Apple’s sales decline in China is not surprising given the strong competition it faced from local brands like Huawei and Xiaomi,” said Toby Zhu, an analyst with research group Canalys.

As the world’s largest smartphone market, China is crucial to Apple’s sales growth. For years, Apple has been the premium phone brand of choice in the country but the tide is now turning.

The tide has already turned everywhere other than Shanghai, where it is hip to be square.

The rest of China has taken on the view that using an iPhone is no different than flying a rainbow flag.

I actually think this is extreme. I don’t use a phone anymore, but from what I’ve seen, I do understand why people like the Apple ecosystem.

The pressure on Apple intensified in the second half of the year after Huawei’s comeback in the high-end smartphone market with its Mate 60 series phones powered by a domestically-made chip.

Other leading Android brands like Xiaomi also edged into the high-end turf that Apple has traditionally dominated. Xiaomi launched its premium Mi 14 model in October, touting its long battery life and camera capabilities. It sold 1 million units within a week of launch.

Canalys’ Zhu said Chinese manufacturers are gradually breaking into Apple’s core price segment by introducing higher-priced foldable products.

Chinese consumers have also complained about a lack of innovation in Apple’s iPhones, particularly in the design aesthetic, compared to earlier iterations.

I’ve said it for years: there are no improvements on the iPhone 6, unless you think removing a button is an improvement.

The complaints about this don’t really make sense, however, given that its current form is clearly the best form. I don’t know what else can really be done. You can keep making more sophisticated cameras, but what does this actually do? People just post the photos online, and I doubt anyone can tell the difference between an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 15 photograph when scrolling through Instagram.

Apple is a dead company.

Unless this VR thing takes off, of course.

Maybe it will.

We’re finally going to see it here next week, apparently. I know someone who ordered one, so hopefully I’ll get a look and be able to report in on that.