Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone


The start of sales of new iPhones is always a holiday without any discounts. Previously, this holiday in Russia was accompanied by round dances, queues that took a week, and unwashed people stood in tents for the prescribed days and nights in order to sell a place in the queue. Two years ago, Valera became a national hero, the only queue in the whole country reached the opening of the store, but no one had money for the coveted iPhones, they forgot to give them out to people. Therefore, Valera, who happened to be passing by, fell under the sights of the cameras, he decided to buy himself an iPhone, our hero was in a cheerful drunk, but how else can you buy such equipment? But an incident happened, Valera did not have money, but he was shown on television. I will not waste time on recollections of how the start of sales in Russia took place in previous years, I will do it in a separate article, since there is a lot of funny, funny stuff on an excellent article. And I want to start our release with how everything happened this year, and highlight the years-honored practices from Apple and partners, proving that the iPhone is the best phone on the planet, which is disassembled even before it goes on sale.


  1. Confident negative growth of the iPhone, the beginning of sales and the first numbers
  2. How the iPhone 12 was sold in Russia – a report from Tverskaya
  3. IPhone 12/12 Pro First Impressions – Pacific Color!
  4. A few words about cameras in iPhone 12/12 Pro
  5. Book. Chinese: application guide

Confident negative growth of the iPhone, the beginning of sales and the first numbers

Creation of artificial queues is Apple’s trick, you need to show how much your product is in demand, that people are ready to stand in queues for it. This was invariably spiced up by the fact that iPhones have always been the most expensive smartphones, which means that the picture provoked a guaranteed discussion: the people were completely fed up, choking in the queue for such expensive phones, and here we are eating the last piece of bread. The action aroused pride in some, rejection in others, but discussions flowed like a river.

A couple of years ago, he attracted the wrath of fans of queues when he asked what was the point in this standing, if you can simply order in an online store and a courier will bring you this novelty. The answer was simple: such an order does not guarantee anything, only in the struggle you can get the right to buy an iPhone! A prerequisite for proving the formula “I’m not a sucker” is the purchase of an iPhone on the first day of sales, even on the second or third day it is not so significant. But on the first day, this is the right purchase. Therefore, once for the first iPhones they paid 3-4 prices, without waiting for them to appear on the wide sale in a few days. On the other hand, for a glamorous audience, this is a reason to show off in front of everyone and show that money can not be counted at all, arouse envy in this aspect among others like themselves. Gradually, this tendency came to naught for most of the audience, the sign of a status item on the iPhone flew around like gilded tinsel from the Arlecchino outfit.

It’s amazing that over the years, most people have not been able to grasp the way Apple is accustomed to building its sales. In the beginning, a meager number of devices are shipped to stores and partners to create that very sense of scarcity. Every year a new color is “invented”, which certainly boggles the imagination, as it never existed. Last year it was emerald, this year it was Pacific blue. In my wardrobe, I picked up a turtleneck of exactly that color when I went to watch the sales of the new iPhones. You need to go to the holiday prepared in every sense.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

The scheme is multifaceted, but very simple. Creating a scarcity is important not only for buyers, but also for partners. They must fight for the right to get some more goods, promise and promise loyalty, mountains of gold and creating the right mood. This is an effective lever of pressure, since at the beginning of sales, a loyal audience buys the iPhone with maximum configurations and only then the basic versions take their toll. This explains how Apple partners vying with each other to praise the company and talk about record sales, pre-orders and the like. Unfortunately, they almost always lie. The very idea that the sales side will shoot itself in the legs and claim that something is wrong with demand seems utopian to me. And the fact that the story is underpinned by the regulation of supply at the most important period strengthens the resolve of all partners to say the right things and nothing else. In the past couple of years, some companies have found the strength to remain silent, which in itself is a lot. When you’re being pulled from all sides and asked to confirm Apple’s greatness, it’s hard not to say something in the spirit of your competitors. And since everyone has a common leitmotif, it turns out that this is a mutual guarantee, things are good for everyone, without exception.

Logic and Apple never go hand in hand, but there are some considerations behind strange actions. For example, in Russia pre-orders are well developed, consumers know what it is and how it works. Usually you are asked to place a pre-order to receive not only the desired device, but also something as a gift. The more expensive the device, the better the gift. For example, Samsung often provides a wireless headset or even a smart watch with a flagship smartphone. Sony gives a wireless headset to their smartphones. Chinese companies not only give something, but also set special prices for the time of pre-order, and then they grow up. The pre-order period from two weeks to a month has become customary, each company chooses the time period that it considers correct. Apple did something quite amazing, as pre-order opened on October 21 for two iPhone models, and sales began on the 23rd! No gifts, no discounts for those who pre-ordered these devices.

You might wonder why Apple did this, but the answer is simple. You cannot talk about record pre-orders if there is no pre-order itself. From here these two days to inform the press through partners that things are going not just well, but excellent and even better than usual. This mantra is heard annually.

Last year, for example, representatives of Re: Store said the following: “Today we know that iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max phones sold three times more than last year iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max phones. We know that the iPhone 11 is 10 times larger than the iPhone XR. But in absolute numbers, the iPhone Pro and Pro Max have sold more than the iPhone 11. ” You can find this quote here.

Something similar is said this year, there are no changes, iPhone sales growth is record-breaking, demand is record-breaking, there is a huge deficit. I was not too lazy to make a sign that well demonstrates the ratio of sales growth in words and what was happening in the market.

Year The lineup  New generation sales growth in PR statements Apple market share in Russia in piece terms for the year 
2015 iPhone 6 2 to 3 times 15.2%
2016 iPhone 7 2 to 4 times  14.1%
2017 iPhone 8  3 to 5 times  13.2%
2018 iPhone X  2 to 3 times 12.1%
2019 iPhone 11 2 to 5 times 10.7%
2020 iPhone 12 1.5 to 3 times  9.2%

We are witnessing a steady negative growth in iPhone sales in the Russian market! And any statement about sales growth is absolutely true in terms of numbers, if you do not forget that this growth is negative. Rush demand, sales growth, records – all these words in connection with the iPhone create the right mood. But the numbers are stubborn, and they prove that Apple’s share is slowly declining every year. How is this possible if they set records? Yes, no way, the explanation lies on the surface, but the fans of the company cannot believe in it, for them it is very complex information that destroys the perception of the world.

This year, the deficit was deliberately created and the supply of iPhone 12 was limited to the lowest in the entire history of their official sales in Russia. All received these devices in minimal quantities. And all for just one thing – proof that the iPhone is still wow.

I decided to look at how the sales of the iPhone 15 and such models as Galaxy S12 / S20 +, Note20 / Note20 Ultra for the same period of the start of sales compare in the first three days (data for Sunday, 20 pm). After all, if there is a rush of demand, then we will see a greater number of iPhone activations on networks in Russia than for the same Galaxy. The received data confused me a little. Here’s what happened: Galaxy S20 was activated in the first two days 4.5 times more often than iPhone 12. For S20 +, the statistics are extremely high – 5.8 times more. If we compare the rather niche models of the Note line, we get the following picture: both models outperformed two iPhones 4.1 times!

Any statistic is dead without understanding what is going on. You can, of course, shout that Samsung’s models are X times more popular than the new iPhones, but that would be a banal lie. There is exactly one explanation for this discrepancy – the artificial limitation of sales in the first week. So it was from time immemorial, so they are trying to do it now. And if we rewind, then we will see exactly the same imbalance in the past. You also need to understand that the statistics from Samsung contain pre-orders that were collected for weeks, and then people began to receive them at once. The math here is simple and straightforward, sales for a longer period will always be higher than pre-orders for two days.

Another important factor is the iPhone resellers, who do their own small business on this. In the hope of a shortage, they bought the iPhone to sell it handheld at different sites. You can easily find such announcements, but such devices are not visible to me, they are not activated. But this does not play a special role, since the secondary sale of the iPhone does not increase its share, the number of end users remains exactly the same. Speculating on the iPhone means selling exactly the same devices, their number is not increasing.

Another myth that haunts us from year to year is that no discounts on the iPhone can ever be obtained, the device does not lose value throughout the year. I am especially moved by the stories that the iPhone can be sold without losing money or with minimal loss, and the used device will be torn off with hands and there is no expectation. Attempts, and repeated attempts to somehow get rid of old iPhones, show that immediately after the start of sales, they are ready to buy them in the secondary market at most for 50-60% of their cost. This time I will do this experiment with the iPhone 12 of two models to make sure of this once again.

When buying an iPhone 12, Beeline decided to return 10 thousand rubles to its prepaid subscribers for communication. A trifle, but nice. If there is no SIM-card, then it will be issued for you and money will be immediately added. I didn’t buy the same iPhone 12 Pro because of this, I found out about the action quite by accident, the seller offered to take advantage of this attraction of unprecedented generosity.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

The DNS was much easier – they gave discounts on all iPhone 12s in order to sell off the first shipment. It will be interesting to see how the DNS will be punished for frivolous handling of wishes at retail prices (the vendor does not have the right to set retail prices, otherwise he will have to communicate with the FAS). I think that Apple will simply ship a small amount of goods to DNS so that they do not vandalize.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

But what is the destruction of a myth? That there are no discounts, they are not given because the product is so popular that it does not need a discount. The fact is, the iPhone 12 line is going to be very hard to sell, and retailers are aware of this. Those who are smarter try to prepare for this, and there is no longer any reverence for the representation of Apple, a company as great as it is terrible. The reason is banal, everyone feels that the wind has changed and there is no reason to keep iPhones on the shelves, they used to generate traffic and the ability to sell accessories and special stages, but now this simply does not exist. Many retail players didn’t even sell the iPhone 12 because they didn’t see any point in it.

Another blow to retail was dealt by Apple independently, no one expected this from them. For the first time in my memory, Apple was unable to cope with so little as the line of accessories for new devices. Do not look for branded cases in retail, new MagSafe chargers, they are simply not available anywhere. And on the Apple website the same charger cannot be ordered, it is absent!

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

For retail, the sale of the iPhone does not give any profit, it is a zero balance transaction (it’s hard to believe, but it’s so). Profits are made on the sale of accessories, which is why they persistently offer covers, glasses, insurance and everything else. In the past years, in the first weeks, many stores forced the sale of iPhones with dopniks, which is prohibited by law, but what can’t you do for a profit?

This year, nothing like that can be done, since Apple simply did not supply accessories. The reason why the covers were not put on the market is understandable, the company did not master the production of covers with cutouts for the microphone and speaker.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhoneSpillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

The funny thing about this story is that Apple’s partner has already started shipping cases in the US and several other countries. Now they are withdrawn from sale, a new batch is hastily made. And the reason is all in the same haste and saving on trifles, Apple has been trying to save on everything that results in such incidents for several years. Believe me, this is not only funny, but perfectly complements the image of the most expensive company on the planet. They save on everything, I wouldn’t be surprised if the toilet paper in the Apple office will soon begin to be issued with coupons. There should be savings in all aspects of life, but the main thing is that this can also be explained by concern for the environment, preservation of forests, and the like.

I’m sure you want to know how the new iPhones were sold in Russia, so I’ll tell you a little story about this and my trip to Tverskaya.

How the iPhone 12 was sold in Russia – a report from Tverskaya

I used to come to Tverskaya, the first store is Euroset, now Svyaznoy. The communications palace was closed! It doesn’t matter, there are plenty of shops on Tverskaya. I go up the street, the Beeline store. There are no smartphones, they were brought to a small number of outlets. Cause? Not expecting a lot of demand. Trading has been going on for an hour and a half, I’m the first to ask about the iPhone 12.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

Ten meters away CStore, Apple’s brand store, several people inside. Not all colors, memory sizes are available, but trade is sluggish. Interest is almost completely absent, a couple of years ago everything was more active, now a sleepy kingdom.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

On Monday, a new delivery is promised, but it is not known what the volume, what models and colors will be. Managed scarcity is an old game, but sellers are annoyed, buyers clearly won’t come back a second time. I bought a blue iPhone 12, any amount of memory available. Took the base 64 GB to talk about stupidity and greed in the review of this device. It remains a mystery to me how much you can spit on your customers if Apple sees that the iPhone 11 64 GB sells twice as bad as the iPhone 11 128 GB. People don’t want a basic iPhone, it doesn’t match the storage capacity of today’s models. And they have already voted in rubles. The fact that for 2021 saved on memory looks like prohibitive greed.

There are new iPhones on the small stand, you can twist them.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

The girl nearby is interested in the Pro 512 GB blue, but it is not. She doesn’t want gold. Considering a handbag, clothes, jewelry – the cost of the new iPhone 12 Pro will be at most a couple of percent of this cute girl’s wardrobe, a penny. I go to re: Store, I wonder how it is.

The beauty of the new box is that it can be easily hidden in a jacket pocket.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

I go further along Tverskaya. There are no operators in small shops. There is a printout in MTS that these models will be here, but they are not. They explain it to me this way: they brought it to large stores, we have no demand for this. At what point did the iPhone become “like this”?

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

MegaFon didn’t bother with window dressing, there are old iPhone 11s, and they didn’t put new items on the shelf. Not everything is in stock, but they brought it so, they promise more on Saturday. Demand? I’m first again. They didn’t bring any accessories, the problem is with Apple, they complain about it everywhere.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

In re: Store Mayakovka has no full house, a couple of film crews. “Proshki” ended, but there were “enough”. We know perfectly well what this euphemism means. Channel 360 was reporting from the opening of sales, they did not notice any queues, everything went on everyday.

There is a Beeline almost opposite this store. All models are on the shelf here, not all colors. I bought a blue proshka. They also returned 10 rubles to the SIM-card account, it works only for subscribers of the operator on a prepaid basis.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhoneSpillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

What can I say about the start of sales? It took place. They brought, they say, 4 times fewer devices, accessories were not brought at all. I called the man inside the big operator to find out why such neglect of new iPhones came from, and this is what he said: “Are you from the moon? Did you see the prices? Who needs him ***** for that kind of money. We bought the minimum and will be happy with every sale. Their time has passed. We were given less in the first batch than we ordered. Managed scarcity. We will be glad that all this does not become unmanageable stock balances ”. Those who sell the iPhone 12 are not in a festive mood. Who is to blame for this, I can already say, the pandemic will be appointed to blame, although victorious reports will still be heard for some time.

IPhone 12/12 Pro First Impressions – Pacific Color!

I bought a regular device and 12 Pro, I did exactly the same a year ago, so there will be something to compare the new items with. But the first impression of the box is easy to hide in a jacket pocket. But the feeling from the iPhone 12/12 Pro is the same: the iPhone 4/5 has matured, returned in a new guise.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

The glass of the base iPhone looks colorful, but the body is instantly covered with handprints, this gloss does not look very nice, a case is needed.

There is no such thing in the older model, only the camera block that protrudes from the body is blurred and collects dust. This cannot be avoided.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhoneSpillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhoneSpillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

After Quince left Apple, the company ran out of designers, so they copied what he once did. But the increased size of the case makes the ergonomics of this device monstrous in the most negative sense of the word, the edges cut into the hand (I do not hold the device like that! I know, I don’t need to repeat this). It is impossible to use it without a cover.

On the iPhone 12 Pro, in Pacific blue, the side bezel also collects fingerprints. It looks at least strange.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

The side bezels of the screen are huge – hello past! The cutout for the front sensors has not gone anywhere, at Apple engineers are in a lethargic dream, they do not see what other companies are doing.

There are no impressions about the new glass on the iPhone 12 yet, too little time has passed. But I wondered how Apple would be able to resolve the issue with the fact that it is necessary for the screens of devices to beat and users spend on repairs, this is an important item of the company’s income.

An old Chinese fun – to beat walnuts with a phone screen to show the strength of the structure. With the iPhone 12, this has already been done, and here is the result, the glass withstood, the display did not.

According to the company, the glass is 4 times stronger than in the previous device, which is good. In fact, the design of the case is such that the load upon impact goes to the matrix itself, which means, hello, non-warranty repair. There are always nuances with Apple products.

I took a picture on the iPhone, below are the first pictures, but for now I want to say the following: I did almost nothing on the device, but it was discharged by the evening. The battery in both models is 2800 mAh.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

In general, first impressions are such that it remains to scratch your head and ask the question: did they take that kind of money for this? Seriously? Outdated devices that did not bring anything to the market, in many ways inferior to their predecessors. I’m at a loss. I will definitely make a comparison with the S20 for the iPhone 12 Pro, since they are classmates in many ways, it is interesting to see how they perform in the same field. The Samsung model is sold today for 58 thousand rubles, the Apple model – for one hundred thousand rubles! I really hope that Apple has at least something attractive besides the name of the company.

A few words about cameras in iPhone 12/12 Pro

Before our very eyes, Apple is confidently turning into a middle-class Chinese company, which confidently splurges when it cannot create technology. Only the lazy one did not write about the MagSafe problems and the lack of the declared 15 W in the USA, but I do not have this charging yet, so I will wait until it appears, then we will discuss. But there is another example that well demonstrates Apple’s attitude towards customers and the gradual transformation of marketing into a Chinese version, borrowing best practices.

Apple is greedy, consumer money is sacred and must be collected at any cost. Usually companies improve the quality of their products, for example, put better camera matrices, increase their number. Apple cannot do this, since new, fresh technologies are always more expensive, you need to sell old things under the guise of something new. But let’s remember Apple’s optical zoom range.

I received such a letter from our reader, I quote it as it is.

Hello, Eldar Viktorovich!

You talked about the “optical zoom range” in the iPhone 12 Pro)
And how do you like the “Optical Zoom to Reduce” in iPhone 12))))) I am attaching the screen. In my opinion they are geniuses))))

Regards, Mikhail

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

Indeed, the concept of “zoom” only in my head means the approach of objects, Apple’s marketers were able to “invent” optical magnification, which is a decrease. Zoom, which does not bring objects closer, as it follows from the word itself and its meaning, but moves them away. Indeed, it is ingenious to play with words like that.

I went to shoot a little on the iPhone 12/12 Pro and Galaxy S20 to compare the quality of these pictures. Unfortunately, the declared RAW format will appear only at the end of the year with software updates, so far only the pictures taken as they are, no additional settings have been made on any device.

Let’s take a look at a few pairs of photos, they tell a lot about the capabilities of the new cameras.

The quality of the pictures is plus or minus on the same level, there was no cardinal breakthrough in the iPhone 12 Pro compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, the cameras shoot the same, and, however, the S20 is at the same level (the picture is a little warmer, it looks nicer).

Let’s take a look at a few more pairs of shots.

Since the S20 has an optical zoom of x3, it is difficult to compare with the iPhone of this and last year, there is only x2. But, nevertheless, look at the photo.

A picture of a blanket on Samsung turned out to be brighter, livelier. While this is a matter of taste, they are about the same. The difference is insignificant.

Let’s take a look at how the iPhone camera works when photographing food. This is Egg Benedict, the Samsung image is livelier and brighter again. While the pictures from the iPhone clearly suffer from pallor. And this is not a question of embellishing reality, but rather a question of the fact that the image processing algorithms, as before, are not all right (to write them, you need to spend money, but Apple does not spend money!).

Wide angle camera, let’s see how things are going here.

All three contestants are far from perfect at wide angle. In the iPhone 11 Pro, the color rendition flew into some kind of yellowness, completely unreal. I like the shot more on the iPhone 12 Pro than on the Galaxy S20, with better foreground detail. But each of these pictures with a bunch of defects, to put it mildly, the quality is below average. But nothing else is expected from a wide-angle camera.

Shooting a candle in a semi-dark room gives an interesting result, each iPhone tries to raise the lighting around, AI algorithms and scene detection are traditionally absent (this is not a new product on the market, it greatly improves pictures in typical scenarios, but for Apple it is very expensive). In the end, the winner is clear, and the candle shot on the S20 looks like a winning one.

Look at the picture of the church, here both iPhones have raised the exposure a little, the pictures are a little lighter. I like them better than the S20 shot, but the quality is comparable.

It’s a shame that the camera of the iPhone 12 Pro did not make any noticeable progress in relation to last year’s iPhone 11 Pro, this is actually the same module with a slightly improved aperture, but this is not visible in the pictures.

Now it’s funny and even somewhat funny. The new display in the iPhone 12 Pro has a higher resolution than last year’s model. For most companies, this means that the picture on the screen (shot from the camera) will look better. Apple didn’t rewrite its software (it’s expensive! I even want to help the company somehow, so I bought two iPhones, I hope this will give them support), as a result, the pictures on the screen look worse, small details are lost. The same hairs on a tag in a cafe are simply eaten, they are not. Look at the photo of the two screens, the difference can be seen with the naked eye.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

I don’t feel any enthusiasm about the cameras in the iPhone 12 Pro, and in the younger model (they are the same, except for LiDAR, as well as the telephoto lens in Pro). The usual level of flagships, but with proprietary savings on matches. One could expect that Apple would do the same as other companies, for example, add something in camera modules, for example, make a x3 zoom. They did it in words, but they didn’t. And it turns out that in this aspect Apple is inferior to models that are sold much cheaper on the market. How so? Where are the high and unattainable technologies?

Book. Chinese: application guide

You are familiar with some of the chapters from the book on sale. Alexey Ryazantsev is a practitioner, he has many years of experience working with China and the Chinese. As a result, the book is not only useful, it is about all the nuances that emerge every day, about our cultural differences and more. What am I telling you, read a couple of chapters from this book on our website.

You can buy the book in electronic form here.

Spillikins number 613. Confident negative growth of the iPhone

What else can I say about this book? I am glad that it appeared, since correct and good texts about China and working with it are rarely published. The book is interesting, so I envy those who are just starting to read it. Enjoy reading.

PS Almost all “Spillikins” are only about the new iPhones and what Apple is doing. It is always interesting to watch the development of a systemic crisis, as huge corporations are gradually, step by step, destroyed. Denying a systemic crisis inside Apple is stupid, but Tim Cook and his team are great. They milk their loyal audience to their last breath, extract money out of thin air by selling last year’s snow. This deserves respect, as no company in the world can afford anything like this. Well, who will sell old devices, both technically and morally, at such prices? Nobody. We have a great time ahead of us comparing the new iPhones with competitors, looking at different aspects of their work. Everything will be very indicative and clear, with specific examples. But those who think Apple are great guys should go out and buy a pair of new iPhones. To support the company in difficult times.

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