When Apple announced three different iPhone models back in September, the cheapest of the trio was the iPhone XR. That device was announced alongside the iPhone XS and XS Max, but didn't ship until late October. More recently a teardown of the iPhone XR found that the smartphone uses hybrid iPhone 8 and iPhone XS internals offering iPhone XS levels of performance for less money and with reportedly better battery life. Despite being cheaper than the XS, the iPhone XR is a $749 "entry-level" smartphone, and early reports allege that it isn't selling well.
A new report claims that Apple has told three separate iPhone XR suppliers to either reduce expectations for orders or to eliminate manufacturing lines for the device. According to that report, Apple has told Foxconn and Pegatron, its two main suppliers, to stop plans for any additional production lines for the iPhone XR. Foxconn had prepared 60 production lines for iPhone XR assembly but was only using 45 of them; Apple has now allegedly told Foxconn to eliminate the other production lines.
Smaller Apple supplier Wistron was reportedly told to eliminate all expectations of producing iPhone XR models; Apple had previously told the supplier to stand by for rush orders according to the report. If accurate, these reports sound very similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 5C years back when the device launched to moderate demand and orders were reduced a month after its launch. Apple has stated that overall sales for the holiday season will be lower than expected; that warning comes after Apple announced it would no longer offer numbers on iPhone sales for the quarter.
As for why demand for the iPhone XR is low, it could be that many Apple fans who wanted an iPhone went with the iPhone XS with its starting price of $999. Shoppers wanting a more economical device potentially saw the iPhone XR as overpriced, and either kept their old iPhones, chose cheaper iPhone 8 models, or moved to Android. Some iPhone fans have complained that the iPhone XR is too large preferring a device sized like the iPhone SE that is easily pocketable; Apple's new iPhone line has no smaller screen devices.