iPhone 15 (Pinterest/@Uncrate)
While China remains a key market for the iPhone, the iPhone 15 series appears to be experiencing slower sales in the region compared to its earlier versions. Counterpoint Research, a notable research firm, has indicated that in the first 17 days since its launch, the iPhone 15’s sales were down by 4.5% in comparison to the iPhone 14. The exact number of units difference was not detailed.
Counterpoint cites the launch of Huawei’s Mate 60 series, along with China’s still-recovering economy post-pandemic, as reasons for the slowed sales of the iPhone 15 series. Edison Lee, an analyst from financial services company Jefferies Group, also projects even lower sales figures for the iPhone 15 with a double-digit decline. Lee aligns with Counterpoint in attributing the decline to the Huawei Mate 60 series. The new Huawei phones reportedly outsold the iPhone 15, but specific sales numbers were not mentioned.
The Huawei Mate 60 series made its debut at the end of August with the Mate 60 and Mate 60 Pro models, followed by the Mate 60 Pro Plus in early September and the Mate 60 RS Ultimate Design at the end of September. This release timeline closely coincided with the global release of the iPhone 15 series in early September.
Jefferies Group analysts, including Lee, believe Huawei’s mobile sales will surpass Apple’s by 2024. Similarly, Counterpoint estimates that just the Mate 60 Pro model will sell between 5 to 6 million units this year in China alone.
Another factor weighing on iPhone 15 sales is reported overheating issues, particularly with the iPhone 15 Pro, causing decreased demand. Apart from these concerns, iPhone 15 sales also coincided with a ban on iPhone use in China, particularly among government institutions and state-owned companies.
If the iPhone 15 series sales drop as projected by analysts, it will mark one of the worst sales performances for the iPhone since 2018, when it faced stiff competition from local Chinese brands like Oppo and Vivo which attracted significant consumer attention in Asia.
Upon its release in September, several issues were reported with the iPhone 15 series, most notably overheating, especially among iPhone 15 Pro users. The overheating issue, initially suspected to be due to the titanium material of the iPhone 15 Pro, was later clarified by Apple as a bug, not the titanium material. As a remedy, Apple released an iOS 17.0.3 update. An Apple spokesperson, as quoted by Forbes on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, identified several conditions causing the iPhone to heat up more than usual and acknowledged a bug in iOS 17 impacting some users. This will be addressed in a software update, they said.
In addition to the iOS 17 bug, Apple also mentioned increased background activity as a cause of overheating, especially during settings adjustments or data restoration. Apple also listed several apps, including Instagram, Uber, and the game Asphalt 9, which could cause the device to heat up faster. Another cause is related to USB-C charging. Charging using an adapter with power above 20 watts can cause the device to heat up faster.
In relation to this issue, users are advised to use appropriate power adapters. It should be noted that not all iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max devices experience this issue, and Apple emphasized that there are no safety risks to users. If the device temperature exceeds normal levels, iPhones have built-in temperature regulation to protect its hardware.