In September, Apple made some significant changes to its iPhone lineup, but users may have missed one.
There were the major announcements that an iPhone 8 and an iPhone X is coming this fall. However, the tech giant also revised its offerings for iPhone 7. The company no longer sells a 256GB iPhone 7, previously the hugest capacity, leaving consumers with only three options: a 32GB, a 128GB, or the 256GB iPhone 8.
According to archived websites that were accessed via the Wayback Machine, on September 12, the same day that it unveiled the iPhone 8, Apple stopped selling the 256GB model. We also inquired with an Apple customer service representative, who confirmed that the tech giant discontinued the 256GB iPhone 7. A spokesperson from Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
The move may not appear like much. However, it is a perfect example of how Apple spurs costly upgrades by adjusting its catalog instead of inventing new products that offer obvious advantages to consumers. An expanded storage means more flexibility to download large applications, take high-quality videos and photos, save local movies and music, and so on.
Even if people are not so hot on the iPhone 8 — which includes among its new features a more powerful processor and simple wireless charging — Apple can boost purchases by making it the only way to own a 256GB iPhone.
Or it can try to, anyway. While consumers can no longer buy a 256GB iPhone 7 directly from Apple, they may find that it is available via various wireless carriers such as Verizon which still offers a 256GB iPhone 7 for $749.99, as compared to $849.99 for the 256GB iPhone 8.
Apple is said to be having a difficult time to generate public interest in the new iPhone 8. Anecdotal responses from wireless carriers in the United States suggest that consumers are actually purchasing more iPhone 7 devices than iPhone 8. They have also begun to Google iPhone 7 more, for whatever that is worth.
Of course, the iPhone 8 is not the only new device that Apple is launching this fall. A notably more advanced iPhone X (with a maximum of 256GB of storage!) is on its way in November, possibly lowering interest in the less spicy iPhone 8.
With all of this going on, the iPhone line of Apple is perhaps more complicated than it has ever been, leaving people with challenging decisions whether it is time to upgrade. The choices they make will affect Apple’s bottom-line and influence over the competitive smartphone industry — so consumers must watch closely.