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iPhone X headlines: is Apple killing it off?

You may have seen some headlines recently reaching beyond the usual technology publications, suggesting that iPhone X is being scrapped/canceled/killed off due to poor sales. Dig a little deeper, and it’s clear that’s not so true, but many people won’t read beyond the top line of the story, and misinformation spreads like wildfire.

Fake news?

Without outing individual publications by name, here are some intentionally misleading headlines we’ve seen over the last few days:

“Is Apple about to cancel the iPhone X? Poor sales mean device faces end of life”

“Apple could SCRAP iPhone X this year over poor sales of £999 smartphone”

“Apple set to KILL OFF the iPhone X later this year rather than drop the price”

“Apple leak reveals sudden iPhone X cancelation”

Talk about clickbait! (We’re aware of the irony of our own “is Apple killing it off?” headline in this very article, but at least we had the decency to pose it as a question rather than a statement of fact.)

But what’s really going on here – is there any truth to this story?

The real story

The nugget of information that caused this story to spiral out of hand came from industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who suggested that he expects Apple will stop selling the current iPhone X once it launches three new iPhone X-inspired designs in September.

His report says that Apple is gearing up to unveil three distinct iPhones later this year: two iterations of the current iPhone X design with OLED display, one almost identical and one “plus-sized,” alongside a third handset that would incorporate iPhone X stylings such as the “notch” and an edge-to-edge display, but with a cheaper LED display and lower specs elsewhere. This would be the more affordable option and take over from this year’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

With three iPhone X lookalikes (device names still anyone’s guess) set for sale, Apple won’t necessarily feel the need to keep the first-generation iPhone X on sale at a lower price like it usually does with year-old iPhones. Kuo merely stated that if this is the case, he expects Apple to stop iPhone X production in the summer once it has enough stock to carry through until the new iPhones launch.

So, maybe the iPhone X as we know it today will stop production about a year after it started. That much is true. But Apple releasing new devices each year is no surprise, and the new features and design choices made for iPhone X look set to live on across the entire iPhone range soon enough. It’s hardly a shock cancelation.

If you want to know more, Engadget has published a good explainer that goes into the details of the real story, and Daring Fireball examines a few bogus headlines even closer alongside some smart musings on Apple’s likely intentions. But hey, who reads beyond headlines, anyway?