Apple Inc. is cutting back production of the iPhone 14 Plus and is increasing the output of the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro due to lukewarm demand for the mid-range model, market research firm TrendForce said.
The share of more expensive iPhone 14 Pro series has increased to 60% of the total output from the initially planned 50%, and it could rise to 65% in the future, the report said.
Apple’s focus on high-end models may help it counter the softness in smartphone sales. In the thick of the chip crisis, Apple’s Pro and Pro Max premium tier of devices, which have been strong sellers, helped the company push margins higher.
The TrendForce report said that rising U.S. interest rates could crimp consumer spending, undermining the demand for iPhones in the first quarter of 2023. This could lead to a 14% year-on-year drop in production to 52 million units.
Analysts have in the past said the iPhone 14’s Pro and Pro Max versions were selling at a brisk pace, although demand for the base model, typically Apple’s best seller, has been underwhelming.
Apple was the only vendor in the top five to register a growth in shipments in the third quarter, improving its share of the global smartphone market to 18% from 15% a year ago, according to research firm Canalys. The increase in share came as the overall smartphone market shrank 9%, Canalys said.
Last month, the company said it would manufacture its latest iPhone 14 in India, as the tech giant moves some of its production away from China to hedge risks arising from the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing.
TrendForce estimates the share of Apple’s output from India to exceed 5% in 2023 and increase over the years.