While about nine million devices were sold in three days upon the Sept. 20 release of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, carriers continue to steer customers to other devices, according to information released Wednesday, Oct. 2.
Echoing an Oct. 1 report by DigiTimes, carrier reps cited small margins and often big losses on iPhone sales.
"iPhones aren't discounted to the carrier like other devices," an Illinois Verizon rep said Wednesday. "There's really no margins and even less flexibility when it comes to technical issues and customer service challenges. In many of those cases, they have to go through Apple. The iPhone isn't our favorite, no."
Apple is apparently aware of the challenges yet it is not known if the company will offer better terms with carriers on subsidized phones.
Meanwhile, wireless companies tend to recommend Android devices, most notably carrier-exclusive smartphones that come with better profit margins and freedom to install bloatware advertising software.
For example, Verizon reps push their phones, first. The exclusive Motorola Droid smartphones are touted for their durability and everything iPhone, Blackberry and Samsung could ever offer, according to Verizon. Although those claims are true in many areas, business is business. There's more in it for Verizon to sell their own phones, devices with healthy margins and smooth manufacturer relationships.
"Apple regulates very closely everything we do with the iPhone," a Sprint manager said. "They are great, premium phones. But, they're far the only game in town. Truthfully, much of the appeal lies in marketing. Owning an iPhone is still fashionable. Some people identify with a perceived image that comes with owning certain things and the iPhone has become one of those products."
The first iPhone was released in June 2007. Over the last six years, the iPhone has introduced an array of features, many of which were first to market. The latest comes in form of the iPhone 5S's Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which replaces the home button and unlocks the phone.
Touch ID also allows for one-touch purchases in iTunes, iBooks and the App Store. According to reviews, the feature is a significant advancement, yet still caught somewhere between novelty and innovation.
To date, Apple has sold more than 250 million iPhones worldwide.