Taiwanese MNOs Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone received fewer than 30,000 pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c on 10 October, the first day they accepted reservations for the newly-launched devices. Last year, the operators combined received 300,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 5, according to news reports. In anticipation of further sluggish sales, the operators are in negotiations with Apple to lower costs for subscription packages that include the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Clearly this is more unwelcome news for Apple, following widespread reports of consumer discontent with iOS 7 and slow sales in many markets of the 5c, which has generally been perceived as too expensive to fill its intended role as a budget model. In Taiwan, the lack of consumer enthusiasm is affecting the higher-end 5s, as well, which is telling. The shortfall in demand in that country is certainly dramatic, and should cheer Google, Samsung and other providers of Android phones as much as it should dismay Apple. Though the Asian market is of critical importance, it remains to be seen how well or poorly the new iPhones are received in other regions.