Even though Apple has had a busy fall launching new Macs and iPad Pro models, the company has been re-allocating marketing staff resources to focus on the iPhone, according to a report.
The Bloomberg report says that Apple re-assigned marketing staff from "other projects" to work on improving sales of iPhone in October, amid a slowdown in iPhone demand that has sent Apple's stock price plunging. Bloomberg did not specify which other parts of the business Apple has tapped for marketing staff to focus on iPhone.
The report may be another indicator that Apple is concerned about the sluggish pace of iPhone sales growth.
In its fourth fiscal quarter, ended 19 September, Apple sold 46.9 million iPhone units—representing a less than 1 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, when 46.7 million iPhone units were sold.
Apple simultaneously announced it would no longer provide unit sales data for its iPhone business for future quarters, a move that has proven unpopular with Wall Street analysts. Apple's stock price was trading at US$177.68 as of mid-afternoon Tuesday, down 20 percent from Apple's close of US$222.22 just before the latest quarterly earnings were released on 1 November.
Another sign that Apple is taking extra steps to boost iPhone sales can be found on the company's own US homepage, which as of this writing this week was promoting a trade-in deal for the iPhone XR at the very top of the page.
The deal offers the recently released iPhone XR, which normally starts at US$749, for US$449 to buyers that are trading in an iPhone 7 Plus. That potentially represents a very good deal—given that the iPhone 7 Plus is more than two years old—and Apple indicated that it's interested in trade-ins for other models as well right now. "Additional trade-in values available for a limited time only and require purchase of a new iPhone," the homepage reads in fine print at the bottom.
As Bloomberg notes in its report, Apple "rarely uses" special promotions for sales of its products.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Theoretically, the shift in Apple's attention to marketing the iPhone could dampen some of the emphasis put by the company on its other new products. In late October, Apple announced major updates to two long-neglected members of the Mac family, the MacBook Air and Mac Mini, along with updates to the iPad Pro 2-in-1 tablet.