Short lines aren't predictive of the iPhone XR's long-term prospects, analyst clarifies

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Small or non-existent waiting lines for the iPhone XR at Apple stores don't mean the product isn't selling well, Gene Munster observed on Friday, tackling the issue of launch demand for the second time in a week.

"Our typical launch day line counts reveal much shorter lines for iPhone XR," said Loup Ventures' Gene Munster. The claim backs up anecdotal evidence on Twitter and elsewhere, noting that even at Apple Union Square in San Francisco, launch day foot traffic was underwhelming.

Munster pointed out that early adopters willing to wait in line most likely bought the iPhone XS in September, and that short online delivery times don't give people much reason to go to a store. U.S. delays for the XR are currently averaging under two weeks.

The XR will ultimately triumph as the most popular iPhone in 2019 because of its value, the analyst argued.

"Apple's most loyal user base will buy the newest, largest, most expensive models without even seeing the devices," he said. "The average consumer will make a more rational buying decision, which is where the iPhone XR wins." The phone starts at $749, $250 less than an XS, but still has many of the same features such as an A12 chip, an edge-to-edge display, and Face ID.

Loup Ventures is calling for the XR to represent 38 percent of iPhone sales in the coming year, versus just 9 percent for the XS and 12 percent for the XS Max.

Munster's position echoes that of TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who also contended that many of the people buying the XR may be doing so through carriers rather than Apple, especially since they can sometimes get perks that way.

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