It turns out that the iPhone SE is selling briskly in the U.S. and Europe

apple earnings q4 2017 logo
You wouldn’t necessarily have been able to foresee it from Apple’s disappointing earnings report last month, but certain models of the iPhone, it turns out, have been flying off the shelves in North America and Europe. According to a new report from market analysts at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the Cupertino company’s share of the midrange smartphone market got a bump from better-than-expected sales of the iPhone SE from the period between April and June.

The SE performed exceptionally well in the U.K. Kantar estimates that it was the country’s “top selling smartphone” with a 9.2-percent market share, a sell-through rate brisk enough to land the diminutive handset slightly ahead of the Apple’s pricier iPhone 6s, which also had a 9.2-percent share. Furthermore, it contributed to the growth in Apple’s U.K. device sales to 37.2 percent — up 3.1 percent from the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Elsewhere in Europe, Apple’s gains were decidedly more modest. In France, its share of the handset market grew 21 percent, and in Germany, iOS devices constituted 14.2 percent of the country’s phone sales over the period. Overall, iOS device market share reached 18.2 percent in the region — an increase of 0.7 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

A hop and skip over the pond in the U.S., the iPhone SE did just fine, too. According to Kantar, the handset accounted for 5.1 percent of all smartphone sales in the U.S. — an amount that saw Apple’s year-on-year market share climb 1.3 percent to 31.8 percent. But the SE remained firmly behind Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s, which ended June with a 15.1 percent share, and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which commanded a 14.1 percent share.

The SE’s traction — as much as 23 percent of total iPhone sales, market research firm RBC Capital Markets estimated — may seem like cause to celebrate. Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri implied as much in an interview with Bloomberg in June. “Customer demand for our products was significantly stronger than we had anticipated at the beginning of the quarter,” he said. “We were not able to fulfill iPhone SE demand throughout the quarter.”

But TechCrunch concluded that the results were a mixed bag: the SE’s comparatively low price point drove Apple’s gross margins, or the difference between the company’s revenue and production costs, down significantly this past fiscal quarter, below 38 percent. That’s down from the second quarter of 2015, when it stood at 40.8 percent.

Worse, the device wasn’t a sales success everywhere. The SE visibly struggled in China, where Kantar reports it made up a mere 2.5 percent of phone sales. Two factors were to blame, apparently: “supply constraints” and “fierce competition.” The latter continues to dog Apple — local firms like Xiaomi and Huawei have proven formidable competitors in the budget handset space. All told, Apple’s market share in the country came in at around 17.9 percent by the end of last quarter, down from 19.7 percent year over year.

The decline is in line with a broader slowdown in the smartphone market. According to analysts at IDC, phone shipments are expected to grow just 3.1 percent in 2016 — a meteoric decrease from 2015’s 10.5-percent growth and 2014’s 27.8-percent growth. China, in particular, will suffer from the symptoms of saturation: IDC estimates the country will see “low single digit growth rates” this year.

But despite the doom and gloom, Apple’s future looks bright. IDC believes that low-cost devices like the SE and efforts like trade-in programs will “bring the iPhone back to growth.” And according to Kantar, plenty of folks in the past few months chose to hold off on upgrading from an older iPhone. “Anticipation for the newest iPhone, usually released in late September every year, typically means a weaker summer period for iOS,” said Kantar. “This represents a large opportunity to upgrade these consumers to the latest four-inch iPhone.”

That will be welcome news to investors, no doubt. In its earnings report ending June 2016, Apple reported lower sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs not only compared to the previous quarter, but the same quarter a year ago. And in China, it saw a 33-percent decline in revenue. But the company’s services division picked up some of the slack — sales of Apple Music subscriptions, apps in the App Store, and iCloud storage plans jumped a collective 19 percent.

Product Review

From its stunning screen to its slick S-Pen, Samsung's Note 9 is a masterpiece

It’s jaw-dropping how much tech Samsung has fit inside the Galaxy Note 9. It’s one of Samsung’s largest phones ever thanks to its 6.4-inch screen, and the S Pen is better than ever.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from X on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

Apple may add Apple Pencil support for its 2018 iPhones

Apple's 2018 iPhone range is still a mystery. How many models will launch? What will they be called, and how big will the screens be? Here are all the rumors and everything we know so far.
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. Apple iPhone X: Battle of the ultra-premium smartphones

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the company's latest ultra-premium smartphone. The device boasts top-tier specs, an excellent design, and more. But can it take out the Apple iPhone X, Apple's own ultra-premium device?
Mobile

Google confirms it still tracks users who turn Location History off

Google is tracking your location -- even when you tell it not to. According to an investigation by the Associated Press, Google services store location data, regardless of whether privacy settings claim otherwise.
Home Theater

Crazybaby’s Air 1S true wireless earbuds won’t make you look like a dork

Audio technology company Crazybaby has launched the Air 1S true wireless earbuds, offering considerable connectivity improvements over previous models while retaining the sleek style and supreme comfort.
Mobile

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.
Mobile

The HTC U12 Plus is now available in color-shifting Flame Red shade

HTC has released some pretty great flagship phones in the past few years, and it's now aiming to follow up with another one. After plenty of rumors and leaks, the company has finally taken the wraps off of the new HTC U12 Plus.
Mobile

A subway passenger may have snagged a shot of the upcoming Pixel 3 XL

It hasn't been too long since Google launched the Pixel 2, but it's already gearing up for the next iteration, the Google Pixel 3. Here's everything we know about the upcoming phones so far.
Mobile

HMD may announce the U.S. release of the Nokia 6.1 Plus next week

It's shaping up to be a big year for HMD. After announcing five phones at MWC earlier this year, the handset manufacturer is reportedly bringing another budget phone, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, to the U.S.
Mobile

Newly leaked photos show a fully functioning Motorola One Power

Many of us have come to know and love Motorola's extensive lineup of budget phones. But Motorola makes some pretty awesome midrange smartphones as well. And it looks like we're about to see its next phone, the Motorola One Power, very soon.
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.
Product Review

Sony's underwhelming XZ2 Premium makes a better camera than a phone

Sony’s third flagship phone of 2018 is its first to ever feature a dual-camera lens. The Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium can capture ultra-low-light video far better than the iPhone X or Galaxy Note 9, but is it worth the high cost?