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New iPhone SE Fills the Lower-End Gap in Apple’s Portfolio

by Juha Winter | Apr 16, 2020

Apple announced its second-generation iPhone SE yesterday on April 15, following on the footsteps of the popular iPhone SE first launched in March 2016. The new SE is the most affordable iPhone to date to include the latest Apple A13 Bionic chip that’s also powering the iPhone 11 series. The camera setup in the new SE is touted by Apple as the best ever single camera in an iPhone. The phone comes in three colors, black, white, and bright red (a.k.a. PRODUCT(RED)) and features the iconic, familiar design of the iPhone 6 / 7 / 8 with a 4.7 inch screen.

Strategy Analytics’ Smartphone Model Tracker (SMT) service tracks the shipments and market share, wholesale pricing, and tech specs of more than 500 current smartphone globally as well as in 6 regions and 88 countries. Using SMT data, we can easily deduct, for example, that the first iPhone SE outsold the iPhone 6s in its second year (2017) shipping some 15 million units in total, and it remained a strong seller in many markets up to its retirement in Q3’18. When the SE was retired, so was the iPhone 6, and only the 6s remained as the affordable iPhone, itself half a year older than the SE.

Now, with the 6s and 7 / 7 Plus phased out of the market, the new iPhone SE comes not a moment too soon, amid all the economic uncertainty caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many consumers are now holding off their buying decisions or opting for lower-priced alternatives, and so premium-priced products are more at risk.

The retail pricing of the SE, starting at $399, may be perceived to be on the high side, only $50 less than the iPhone 11 at $449, and even lower-priced deals are available for the older iPhones from various retailers. So, while the new iPhone SE will be an important model particularly for those looking for an affordable replacement for their iPhone 6, 6s, 7 or even 8, the small price gap to the larger and more modern-looking iPhone 11 with equal processing capabilities may limit its potential. We shall see how it performs in the market.

Interested in the best-selling smartphones sold globally or in 88 countries around the world, complete with shipments, market share, wholesale ASP, revenue share, and even technical specifications? Clients of our SMT service can view the reports here.

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