Word on the streets says Apple plans to launch a new iPhone SE-like model sometime in 2020. Isn’t that the same story we’ve heard every year since iPhone SE launched in early 2016? That would be a four-year wait for an upgrade.
One analyst described the hardware details as iPhone 8-like but with upgraded internal components. Another says iPhone SE2 should sell like hotcakes. I’m not sure how hotcakes sell, but anyone who expects iPhone SE2 to be a big seller needs to think twice.
Maybe three or four times.
iPhone SE was never a big seller. Or, at least, there is no evidence of iPhone SE being a big seller. If it was such a fantastic iPhone, then why were all the larger phones the most popular iPhones– Apple said so– each year after it launched?
Here’s the deal and it’s basic.
Many iPhone customers want a smaller iPhone. As it is now, the smallest iPhone you can buy is three model years old already. iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch display but it does what iPhone SE cannot. Run iOS 13. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners cannot run iOS 13, either.
Another number of customers don’t give a rat’s patootie about screen size. They just want a newer iPhone with a lower price tag. I get that. Everyone who owns an iPhone wants a lower price tag.
iPhone 8 sells for $449. iPhone XR, last year’s mid-range and entry-level iPhone sells for $599, substantially less than it did when it launched in 2018. iPhone XR, though, is anything but an iPhone designed to fit into a butt pocket, and that’s where iPhone 5s and iPhone SE excel. iPhone 8? Less so.
The problem with guesstimating that Apple will sell tens of millions of an iPhone SE-like model is an effort in managing dreams and expectations. Those who own iPhone SE’s are vocal. Those who want a less expensive iPhone are vocal.
There are many millions of those customers aching for a new iPhone, and many likely will upgrade to larger iPhone models anyway, negating the need for a smaller, entry-level iPhone SE-like phone.
What if there are 10-million iPhone customers willing to shell out cash for the SE replacement?
Apple has about 1-billion iPhone customers, and a few hundred million of them have iPhone 6 models (the basic model with a 4.7-inch display). Apple knows putting out a less expensive iPhone with expensive specifications will cannibalize– to some degree– the more expensive and more profitable iPhone models.
iPhone SE 2 won’t sell like hotcakes (admittedly, I don’t know how hotcakes sell), but don’t expect a $349 price tag to compete with Samsung’s cheapest.