More iPhones might be on the way in 2019.
Apple's (AAPL) new phones will include a higher-end model as well a successor to the iPhone XR, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The costlier phone will reportedly include a triple-camera setup, presumably with the goal of competing with a crop of Android phones that feature more cameras.
The report of a successor to the iPhone XR raised some eyebrows, considering it's commonly viewed as the runt of Apple's most recent slate of phones that included the XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
With a less costly LCD display and fewer features than the others, the iPhone XR was intended as an entry-level iPhone. But its $749 price point was substantially off, according to Wedbush's Dan Ives.
"Fundamentally, it's a mispriced product probably by around 20 percent," he said. "They need to do some significant price cuts and price it probably in the $550 to $600 range."
For investors, Apple's iPhone strategy has been a subject of intense interest over the past several quarters, and was only magnified with the company's recent warning that its fourth quarter revenue will fall billions short of expectations, largely due to weaker-than-expected sales in China. Apple has already tested the waters in reducing the cost of its phones, recently turning to promotional discounts to boost sales.
The guidance cut placed a spotlight on the importance of China as a consumer market for Apple, with CEO Tim Cook pinning the weakness there on a slowing Chinese economy that's been made worse by the ongoing trade conflict between the U.S. and China.
Reports of a new iPhone XR may have come as a surprise to many, but according to Ives, a lower-priced phone could play a critical role as Apple tries to stave off heavy competition from rivals such as Samsung (SSNLF) , Huawei and others.
"The biggest threat to Apple is losing a Chinese customer to a competitor," Ives added. "China is 20% of the install base. They need to go after China, really double down on it, importantly from a pricing perspective."