Apple Sales Jump in China and iPhone X Reviews Trickle In

As the iPhone X nears its widespread release on November 3 and the iPhone 8 has been on shelves for just over a month, Apple hype is reaching an all-time high, and not just in North America.

Canalys released figures showing Apple’s recent growth in China, a market they have struggled to take a firm hold in. Local Chinese smartphone competitors Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have historically outperformed Apple in the country, but the Canalys numbers are indicating strong year over year growth for the U.S. iPhone creator.

Huawei grew their Q3 2017 shipments in China by 23 per cent, moving over 22 million devices to lead the pack. Oppo declined slightly, shipping 21 million units, while Vivo grew the most out of the three, up 26 per cent to a total of 20 million phones. Xiaomi was fourth with over 15 million units shipped in Q3 2017, with Apple placing fifth at about 11 million units.

China's Q3 2017 smartphone sales.
China’s Q3 2017 smartphone sales.

These top five amounted to 75 per cent of all mobile device sales in China for the quarter. In total, the country saw 119 devices sold and shipped.

Apple’s numbers may seem low, but they represent a big bump in Chinese sales, growing 40 per cent from the same quarter in 2016. This marks the best quarterly performance for Apple in China in two years. However, Canalys believes the success may be temporary.

“Apple’s growth this quarter is only temporary. The high sell-in caters to the pent-up demand of iPhone upgraders in the absence of the iPhone X,” said Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia. “Price cuts on earlier models after announcing the iPhone 8 have also helped. However, Apple is unlikely to sustain this growth in Q4.”

The top four in China will remain tight with no clear winner as Apple will more than likely struggle to maintain sales, even with the impending iPhone X release. In early September, Huawei jumped past Apple to become the second largest smartphone retailer on the planet behind Samsung, but those numbers have likely righted themselves after iPhone 8 and X sales.

iPhone X Reviews

Speaking of the iPhone X, the first reviews have begun to trickle in. The expensive new device ($1000 USD, or just over $1300 CAD for a 64GB model), touted by Apple CEO Tim Cook as the “future of smartphones,” certainly has a wow factor when it comes to the display. Wired’s Steven Levy notes “that screen will persistently reassure buyers that emptying their wallets for an iPhone X wasn’t folly.”

However, it seems that the oft-discussed Face ID is not exactly what it looks like. Reviewers have found that it takes a couple of tries to sometimes unlock a phone, though the technology is still useful to ward off intruders. The iPhone X would not unlock to other faces or even a headshot of the user, so the feature may just take a little getting used to in terms of finding the right unlock angle.

The camera is also a huge step up, though not quite as good as the Pixel 2, if DxO scores are to be believed. Regardless, the iPhone X is the best camera Apple has ever produced and will impress mobile shutterbugs and the occasional selfie-snapper alike.

The iPhone X is available for pre-order right now (though it may be tough as several vendors have sold out) and releases November 3 in North America.