A Chinese media report on the social media site Weibo, via iGeneration, claims that Apple will expand the iPhone XS lineup to include a new red color option later this month. Presumably branded as PRODUCT(RED), it would join the red iPhone XR that Apple has sold since launch.
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The news supposedly comes via factory workers who heard of the plans yesterday. The lack of solid sourcing to back this rumor up makes us pretty skeptical though.
During the iPhone X cycle, there were on-and-off rumors about a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone, but nothing transpired. Apple did release PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus mid-cycle however. That was in April 2018, so a February launch of new colors would be earlier than the normal schedule.
The ‘leaker’ indicates that the color is being rolled out to give iPhone XS sales a boost amidst a season of weak demand, particularly in China. It is likely that Apple always planned to launch a new color option for the XS. It is always easy to connect the dots in hindsight.
The report says the color would be named ‘China Red’ rather than an explicit association with the PRODUCT(RED) charity. In China, Apple does not put PRODUCT(RED) branding on its products. It’s unclear if ‘China Red’ is meant to mean that the red XS phones would only be offered in China, or if a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone XS would also debut in other markets.
On a semi-related tangent, there have also been vague rumblings over the past few weeks that Apple would debut a green iPhone XR option.