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Chinese consumers react to iPhone 12 lineup launch: Where are the headphones?

Written by Wency Chen Published on 

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New features and price points expected to spur sales, while “stingy” boxes cause some controversy.

Apple rolled out its 5G-enabled iPhone 12 lineup on October 14, featuring new designs and improved camera quality, at its “Hi Speed” event. Chinese Apple fans stayed up late to follow the event, which was held at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Beijing time, and were showing mixed reactions.

Some reports said the event “lacked creativity,” while other netizens called Apple’s decision not to include a power adapter or headphones in the package “stingy.” However, most agreed that the wide range of price points will likely spur sales.

The latest version of Apple’s handsets arrived in a variety of different sizes and colors—5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 12, 6.1-inch iPhone Pro, and 6.7-inch Pro Max model. Prices range from USD 699 to USD 1,099 (Chinese versions start at RMB 5,499 to RMB 11,899). When it comes to the design, the iPhone 12, with its flat steel edges instead of a rounded design, are a nostalgic flashback of the iPhone 4.

Compared to the last-generation iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 is 11% thinner, 15% smaller, and 16% lighter, according to Apple.

“If you have decided to buy an iPhone 12, the first recommendation is the iPhone 12 mini, because it’s cheaper. If you take battery life into consideration, the iPhone 12 is better,” said one tech blog on the Sohu news portal.

However, most online comments, at least on Twitter-like microblogging platform Weibo were negative, with people complaining about Apple removing items from the package that previously came included, like headphones and adaptors.

Less extras

Apple said in the launch event that the decision to scrap accessories would help reduce waste, since the iPhone box will be smaller without the items. Not everyone bought the excuse, however.

“Translation—saving money for Apple,” one Weibo user commented.

“If I need to buy chargers and headphones separately, there will be two more boxes,” commented another netizen under a post about the news.  

One of the most exciting moments for the legions of Chinese gamers watching the event was when Tencent-owned Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, showed up, demonstrating the upcoming mobile version of the immensely popular video game on the new iPhone. Apple said the model’s new A14 Bionic chip and 5G functionality would make the playing experience extremely smooth.

Despite the negative reviews online, analysts have high expectations for the sales of the iPhone 12 series. Apple could ship as many as 240 million iPhones this year, helped by customers who haven’t upgraded in several years and because of excitement for 5G, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing Katy Huberty, a veteran Apple analyst for Morgan Stanley. That would set a record, beating the 231 million devices sold in fiscal 2015. iPhone 12 will be the best selling one among the four models, according to TF Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, making up around 40% of shipments at launch.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are available for preorder on Friday, and the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available on November 6, Apple said.

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