LOS ANGELES — Josie Taylor swore by her Apple phones for years.
Until recently. The era of the $1,000 iPhone was just too much to bear.
So when her battery died and it was time for a new model, and her wireless company offered her a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone, for free, she jumped. And has never looked back.
“For the most part, I have been really satisfied,” she notes. “There is no reason to spend $1,000 for a phone. There just isn’t.”
She is not alone.
Apple has been having a rough time of it on Wall Street recently, in the wake of several Asian suppliers cutting back on their guidance, suggesting that sales for the new phones are way softer than expected. Analysts say Apple has cut back on production to compensate.
Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, says Apple will sell as many as 10 million fewer phones in 2018, due to the price hikes on the new top of the line models.
“Apple really opened a crack to Android to gain share,” he says. “Demand has softened.”
Android, developed by Google, is already the dominant mobile operating system, with an 85 percent market share, but much of that comes from lower-priced models popular in places like China, India and elsewhere.
Remember that Android software runs on many different kinds of phones made by different companies. When it comes to Apple, the product (iPhone) and the platform (iOS) are inextricably intertwined — making them, essentially, one and the same.
The iPhone has long been the best selling individual phone model worldwide, selling over 200 million units yearly. For 2017, Apple sold 220 million.
But this year, the XR is the phone that appears to be the problem. It’s one of the three new iPhones released in 2018. Ironically, the XR is the lowest price of the three phones, starting at $750, with $999 for the XS and $1,099 for the XS Max.
Beyond the issue with suppliers, to goose sales, Apple recently slashed the price of the XR to “from $449”, rather than its actual price of $749. The fine print is a $300 trade-in for older models.
The XR is a cheaper cousin to the XS and XS Max, with a lower resolution LCD screen, one camera lens instead of two, and the same edge to edge display of the more expensive phones.
But even at $750, the signal to customers is that the XR is too expensive, relative to the features offered, says Ives.
This year, Apple discontinued its entry-level, bargain-priced iPhone, the SE, which started at $350, which Ives says “wasn’t the smartest move.”
This helped push more consumers to Android phones, many of which are bargain priced.
The OnePlus 6, selling for just under $500, has a 6.2 screen, 64 GB of storage and 6 GB of ram.
Motorola’s Moto G6 is even more affordable, just under $300, with a 5.7 screen and 32 GB of storage.
Older, refurbished phones are even cheaper. FreedomPop, which offers low price wireless service, is selling an older Samsung Galaxy, the S5, for $119.99. It has a 5.4-inch screen.
So it can be done. For Taylor, she doesn’t miss her life in the iOS world. Except for one thing: It’s not easy being a green bubble in a sea of blue.
When she texts them, she shows in a different color than she did when communicating with iOS friends.
“It is slightly isolating when 90 percent of your friends are still loyal to their iPhones,” she says.
They “tease you for showing up as a green text bubble rather than blue,” she notes.
But at the cost of a free phone, she can handle it.
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.