iPhone X ‘world’s best-shipping smartphone’ during holidays, Canalys reports

iPhone X, 3D sensors
Apple introduced the iPhone X in September, and began selling it in November. (Apple)

Amid reports that Apple might discontinue the iPhone X later this year, a new report from Canalys found that Apple shipped 29 million iPhone X units during the fourth quarter of 2017—including 7 million in China.

“The iPhone X performance is impressive for a device priced at US$999, but it is slightly below industry expectations,” explained Canalys analyst Ben Stanton in a post on the firm’s site. “Apple struggled with supply issues in early November, but achieved a massive uplift in production in late November and throughout December. This helped it meet and even exceed demand in some markets by the end of the quarter. One major benefit to Apple is that customers are increasingly realizing the residual value of their old smartphones, opting for trade-in programs to offset the high price of the iPhone X. But that big price tag, and Apple’s split launch strategy, still had an impact, and shipments were not the fastest ever for an iPhone.”

Those numbers are significant in light of a separate report claiming Apple will discontinue its current iPhone X model once the company introduces its 2018 iPhone lineup later this fall. That rumor comes from Wall Street analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, who predicted that Apple’s iPhone lineup this fall will feature two new devices with edgeless displays, one a 6.5-inch iPhone with an OLED display and the other a 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display.

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Regardless, Canalys’ numbers indicate success for the iPhone X, at least at a global scale. As for the United States, another research firm found that the iPhone X is also selling well in Apple’s backyard. According to a new report from Wave7 Research, the iPhone X is generating demand throughout the U.S. market.

“iPhone X purchasers are choosing the 64GB variant 70% of the time at T-Mobile, 67% of the time at Sprint, 61% of the time at Verizon, and 59% of the time at AT&T. This figure is much higher at stores in low-income areas,” the firm noted in a report.

Those findings are noteworthy considering other recent research that casts some doubt on Apple’s continued momentum in the smartphone industry. For example, a new survey by Wall Street research firm Cowen found that the number of current U.S. iPhone owners planning to buy a new iPhone “was near the lowest levels since conducting our survey.”

“iPhone appeal moderating across the industry,” the firm wrote in a new report.

Separately, according to fresh data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple’s share of the smartphone operating system market in the United States fell during the three-month period ending in November despite the release of three much-anticipated high-end handsets.

Apple is scheduled to report its quarterly financial results Feb. 1, at which time the company will likely shed light on its iPhone X sales as well as its general smartphone momentum.