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Tim Cook says iPhone rumor mill hurt sales in China

Apple CEO says speculation about a new iPhone possibly coming later this year slowed sales in the second quarter.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook says iPhone sales in China were affected by rumors of an upcoming iPhone.

CNBC

Apple CEO Tim Cook blames the iPhone 8 rumor mill for hurting iPhone sales in its second quarter.

"It's that there are more rumors floating and more press articles and mentions of new things, and when that happens, a percentage of people delay," Cook told Jim Cramer on CNBC's "Mad Money" Wednesday.

No where was that effect more apparent than in China, where it is part of the culture to buy the newest gadgets, Cook said.

"That probably affects us more in China than other places because there's a tendency there to buy the latest thing," he said. "Although I have to say, the 7 Plus has done extraordinarily well there, and it's up double digits from the previous year, comparing to the previous generation of product."

Cook's comments come after Apple on Tuesday reported a slight drop in quarterly iPhone unit sales to 50.8 million units, below the 52.2 million analysts had expected. Cook's comments about the rumor mill echo statements he made during an earnings call later Tuesday.

China is the largest smartphone market in the world, but Apple has seen its profile there slip in recent months, IDC reported in February. The iPhone's market share fell 4 percent to 9.6 percent, a drop IDC blamed on Chinese consumers holding out for Apple's 10-year anniversary iPhone.

Apple has yet to even announce what is widely referred to as the iPhone 8, but that hasn't deterred speculation and rumors about what we can expect in a next-generation handset. Many expect the handset to be unveiled in the fall and feature a curved display, wireless charging, and a face or iris scanner, among other specs.

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