Apple reportedly wants to help discount the iPhone XR in Japan because it's not selling well

  • Apple is reportedly planning to help its wireless partners in Japan cut the cost of the iPhone XR.
  • Discounting the iPhone XR might help drive more customers.
  • Smartphones are regularly discounted during the holiday quarter, however.
Apple chief design officer Jony Ive and Apple CEO Tim Cook inspect iPhone XR.
VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images
Apple chief design officer Jony Ive and Apple CEO Tim Cook inspect iPhone XR.

Apple is planning to help its wireless carrier partners subsidize the costs of cutting the iPhone XR price in Japan, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It's the latest signal the iPhone XR isn't selling as well as expected.

Earlier this month, Nikkei reported that Apple had asked suppliers to cancel plans to boost production of the iPhone XR, which also suggested demand for the device was not as high as anticipated. Also, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who was at first very bullish about the iPhone XR, issued a note earlier in the month that cut his iPhone XR shipment estimates by 30 million units.

The iPhone XR is the more affordable of the three iPhones Apple launched this year. Apple included many of the features available in its high-end iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max flagship phones, including support for Face ID and a large display, but the Journal said customers in Japan still prefer last year's even more affordable iPhone 8.

It's common to see discounted phones leading into the holiday season, however.

Many manufacturers, including Samsung and Google, also discount phones, and carriers have regularly offered bargains to customers in the U.S. to help drive sales. Apple's holiday quarter is usually dominated by iPhone sales. Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones during the holiday quarter last year, for example. But Apple said earlier this month it will no longer break out its individual unit sales for iPhone.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.