Everyone Underestimated the iPhone That ‘Saved’ Apple

Iphone Xr Camera Credit: Angela Lang/CNET
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It’s pretty clear that the iPhone XR was Apple’s best-selling smartphone last year. But one marketing firm has gone so far as to claim that the device “saved” the Cupertino tech giant.

The firm, Awin, isn’t actively affiliated with Apple, nor does it even sell smartphones. Instead, the firm is a global affiliate marketing network that has access to specific data that may show just how popular the iPhone XR is.

Awin derives its data from a global network of advertisers. More specifically, it actually gathers data using the ads it serves to customers — allowing the company to determine which devices are being used to view those ads.

The results are pretty impressive. The firm notes that the iPhone XS saw a “rather healthy launch” last year, but it paled in comparison to the iPhone XR. Awin reports that the iPhone XR’s launch was 146% larger.

Even after its launch, the marketing firm says that the iPhone XR has continued to be Apple’s best-selling smartphone. “You could even say that the iPhone XR saved Apple,” the firm writes.

Awin’s data is backed up by other firms, too. According to a July report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the iPhone XR was by far the best-selling Apple handset in the third quarter of 2019.

The iPhone XR alone made up about 48 percent of the iPhones sold during that period.

Another report, published this month by IHS Markit, indicated that iPhone XR shipments topped all other smartphones — even Android devices — in the first half of 2019.

IHS Markit says that Apple shipped a total of 26.9 million iPhone XR devices globally in the first half of the year. That’s about double the shipments of the #2 smartphone on the list, Samsung’s Galaxy A10.

This Year’s Lineup

The data bodes extremely well for Apple and its new iPhone 11 lineup. The iPhone 11 sports more advanced features than its predecessor but actually costs $50 less.

And Apple hasn’t given up on the iPhone XR, which now starts at $599. Despite the fact that it’s a year old, the iPhone XR is still a capable and powerful device, since Apple’s handsets typically have a significant performance lead over their Android counterparts.

Awin even notes that the iPhone XR’s discounted price could be a performance test against lower-cost Android competitors form the likes of Huawei and OnePlus. The XR’s new $599 price tag is only a bit more than popular handsets like the OnePlus 6T.

Apple has alway seemed more focused on the premium end of the spectrum. But the iPhone XR and this year’s iPhone 11 do suggest that the company knows that significant parts of the global smartphone market aren’t willing to pay $1,000 for a smartphone.

The iPhone 11 became available for preorder this morning. It’ll ship to consumers and arrive in stores next Friday, Sept. 20.

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