Apple is reported to be restarting production of last year's iPhone X model after sales of its newer devices, including the iPhone XS and the XR were weaker than expected.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the move comes shortly after the firm reduced its production orders for all three of this year’s models, which began to go on sale in September.
However, Apple still has an agreement with Samsung to purchase a specified number of OLED display panels, so it is thought the resumption of iPhone X production will help meet these obligations, the newspaper stated.
Apple is also said to be hoping that the iPhone X will make up for lower than expected sales of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, taking advantage of the fact that last year's model is now cheaper to produce as components and manufacturing equipment have become older and therefore more affordable.
It is still a surprising move, however, given the fact that all of 2018's models were warmly received by reviewers and Apple has a reputation for very strong brand loyalty among its consumers. This could be an indication that the saturation of the smartphone market is now reaching a stage where fewer people feel the need to upgrade.
The iPhone XR in particular is said to have been struggling to find an audience. The device has been pitched by Apple as a more affordable alternative to the flagship XS, but it seems many budget-conscious Apple consumers are favouring last year's iPhone 8 instead, which remains available and is priced more cheaply than the XR.
While the iPhone 8 does not have the latest design features of the XR, such as the edge-to-edge, slim bezel display or the wide range of colours, it seems many people have decided these are options they are happy to do without in order to secure a cheaper handset, which may be a lesson Apple and other smartphone makers are looking at closely heading into 2019.