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From long lines to no lines, people don't buy expensive X series iPhones, consumers say US TODAY's Jefferson Graham.
USA TODAY

For years Apple has been a premium brand as rare, if ever discounted products. Period.

Every year, the company can increase the prices of products, and consumers would not only happily pay, but are in long order the privilege of doing so.

So when Apple started putting misleading but seemingly consumer friendly posters in front of Apple Stores at the end of 2018, offering a new iPhone model for $ 300 off (with the replacement of your current phone), you know something else happened to the company this year.

Consumers fought back.

Many analysts have reported that Apple, in the wake of poorer than expected sales for this year's crop of iPhone, cut production, including $ 1100 iPhone XS Max, $ 999 iPhone XS and XR, the "budget" model that replaced it previous entry level new phone, $ 349 SE. The price for XR (one Apple has hawking discounts for): $ 749.

Poster for discounts on Apple's iPhone XR (Photo: Jefferson Graham)

"This should be a wakeup call for Apple," said Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. "They swung and they really missed."

The prices of the new phones are "too high," says Terry Walton, a tourist from Auckland, New Zealand. He has an iPhone 7 and didn't even think of any of the X series iPhones because it still works well. Upgrading "didn't think about me," he says.

(Walton's daughter, Olivia, thought of moving on from her old iPhone 6S, but Dad didn't agree.) With the new update, it doesn't fail a bit, but that's fine, she says.)

It was Not just iPhones that received price increases. Apple also recorded the award for the very best iPad to $ 1000 also (or over $ 2800 for a loaded model) and added $ 300 at the expense of Mac Mini and new MacBook Air computers.

The IPhones got the most attention because it is the premier product for a company that gets 65 percent of the revenue from the devices.The XS Max model is the most expensive iPhone ever.

Unlike previous years, however, Apple has not offered Consumers were much new to the 2018 models, but the flagship XS and XS Max phones had more power, but there was no resonance with consumers who thought the old iPhone 6S and 7 devices were running very well. -side display on the X-series iPhones, minus the other ka the more lens for these models and the Shinier OLED screen, but it is $ 400 more expensive than the older, current current model.

Analysts say the XR phone experienced the greatest resistance from consumers.

But don't cry for Apple. It will still sell over 200 million iPhones this year. It's just that analysts like Ives expect Apple to sell as many as 220 million phones. "We reduced it to 210 million and now think it can go even lower, to 205 million," he says.

The rest of Apple's selection was mixed. HomePod, Apple's precious, $ 349-connected speaker response to Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers, those companies virtually gave away in holiday sales for $ 25- $ 50 fizzled. A new, cheaper $ 329 iPad did well, according to Stephen Baker, an analyst at the NPD Group. "This iPad will have its best holiday this year," he says.

Apple said in October that it will no longer reveal sales figures for iPhones, so analysts just have to take their best guesses in 2019.

Remember, Apple still makes good phones. The new models were the best of the breed. There is no shortage of new features as much as older iPhones are so good, many people don't feel the need to upgrade. Not for $ 1000 and up, anyway.

"If I could see a big difference in a new phone, then maybe I would be more vulnerable to it, but $ 1000 for one or two new features … I knew I didn't get it," Keith Skinner said. , who live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

And I wonder if there is any new feature that consumers would really care about more than a full-time battery, unbreakable screen and camera as good as Google's Pixel 3 to shoot in dim light.

Every year, Apple reworkes the iPhone every year (2018 was "S" year when models get small upgrades) so in September we could see the company going back to the drawing board and really wow us again.

Or not. But, here it is!

(Photo: Apple)

In other technical news this week

People have apparently bought Fitbits and quite a few Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers for the holiday, as shown by a look at app store charts, where consumers had to download apps to run the new products. The Alexa app took the top spot on both the iOS and Google App store lists of the best free apps the day after Christmas while Fitbit was in the number 5 slot. Google Home took number 3 on the Android Play Store and came seventh on the iPhone. Among other popular apps in both stores: The Tile app, for the popular tracker, was 20 on the iPhone and 47 on Android; iRobot Home, to control the Roomba vacuums robot, was 40 on the iPhone and 91 on Android; and the Ring app for the video doorbell was 41 on the iPhone and 65 on Android.

Despite hacking, theft of personal information, frequent apologies from the social network and horrific characters in the press in 2018, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg says he is "proud" of the year Facebook has had. "Building communities and bringing people together brings a lot of good, and I'm committed to continuing our progress in these areas too," he wrote on his Facebook page.

New Year's Eve may be a bit less festive for Verizon's TV subscribers if the pay-TV provider doesn't come to an agreement with Disney. The two media companies are negotiating a new contract to hold Disney's channels, including ESPN, Disney Channel and ABC stations in New York and Philadelphia among the subscriber's channel selections. But the current contract expires on Monday, and both parties are currently playing hard.

Did Instagram Know Your Different Thursday? You were not alone. An Instagram test that changed the way users walk through their streams went across the social network. And the internet was not happy with the potential new changes. The apparent update, which seemed to be rolling out to users, changed the way people looked at the feeds. Unlike the usual method of scrolling vertically through posts from the folks you follow, the test formats had to use the users to swipe and push through it, similar to how you navigate the company's Stories function. At the end of the day, Instagram deleted the new look.

UCLA Mindfulness Instructor Mitra Manesh (Photo: Jefferson Graham)

This Week's Talking Tech Podcasts

Technical Predictions for 2019 [19659004] How to get started with Amazon Echo and Google Home

How to get used to the X Series iPhones

Peter Pham's favorite technology products of 2018

10 key apps for your phone

] Meet Innermap, the new the attention of Mitra Manesh.

And this is our latest Talking Tech newsletter for 2019. Don't forget to tell your friends to subscribe at http://technewsletter.usatoday.com. We'll be back to you next weekend with a talk at the Consumer Electronics Show, which launches January 6 with press preview. Meanwhile, you can hear the daily #TalkingTech podcast and follow me (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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