Roundup: Apple wants to hike iPhone prices again

Read to the end for an important statement about X… or Twitter?

Roundup: Apple wants to hike iPhone prices again
Tim Cook pointing in the direction of his plan for iPhone prices. Photo: Apple

Apple is a juggernaut, but it’s having a hard time charting a path forward. Earlier this year, it canceled the Apple Car and released the Vision Pro to poor results. In recent months, CEO Tim Cook has been jetting around Asia not just to shore up its supply chain, but also to try to find new markets for sales growth as Chinese consumers turn toward domestic brands.

In Business Insider, I wrote about the troubles Apple is facing [pl / es / archive]. After a series of category-defining hardware products under Steve Jobs, the company has struggled to replicate it under Cook and there’s nothing on the horizon to suggest that will change anytime soon. Instead, Cook’s strategy has been to push up prices and build a larger services business to try to make more money off existing customers, all while doing much more to keep investors happy.

When Apple released its quarterly earnings in early May, it had a sweetener to distract investors from its continuing stagnation and the increasingly worrying picture for the company’s sales in China: Cook announced a larger dividend and a $110-billion share buyback, the biggest in its history. It might keep investors happy for now, but it’s not a good sign for those looking for a long-term strategy.

Almost perfectly on cue, news leaked this week that Apple seems to be planning a “Slim” version of the iPhone 17 that will be even more expensive than the iPhone Pro Max, which built on the price hike that followed the release of the iPhone X in 2017. To me, it’s a further signal that Cook doesn’t have a real plan other than trying to keep squeezing existing customers for more money once again. But how long can that go on?

Apple aside, there are plenty of great recommended reads, labor updates, and other news items in this week’s roundup. I particularly liked the pieces calling Facebook the “zombie internet” and the longread on Silicon Valley going back to Saudi Arabia and the UAE with hat in hand for more money. Plus, if you’re a paid subscriber, don’t forget to check out the new reading list for the coming months.

Over on Tech Won’t Save Us, I spoke to Paolo Gerbaudo about the Chinese automaker BYD, how its vertically integrated production model works, and why it’s presenting a big threat to US automakers. It was a fascinating conversation.

Just a reminder that I’m speaking on May 23 and 24 in Copenhagen, and on May 27 in Berlin. I may also be doing another event in Berlin on May 25 — if you might want to attend that, keep an eye on my social media.

Have a great week!