Apple announced three new iPhones at its Gather Round keynote today, but it killed off just as many older handsets.
The Cupertino tech giant has officially discontinued the iPhone X, which was expected, but it has also nixed the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE. All three devices are no longer available to purchase from Apple’s website.
That means a couple of things.
Firstly, the cheapest iPhone Apple now offers is the iPhone 7 — which starts at a new price point of $449. That’s $100 more than the previous cheapest device, the $349 iPhone SE.
But there’s something more significant about discontinuing the iPhone SE than its price. Namely, the fact that the device was only 4-inch iPhone that Apple offered. And it could be very well have been the last.
The smallest device on Apple’s new lineup of handsets is the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. Which is, it’s worth noting, about the same size as the other non-Plus models.
It’s no secret that many people love larger phones. In fact, the entire industry is moving toward a new standard footprint that increasingly blurs the line between smartphone and phablet.
Apple knows this, which is why it going all-in on the larger devices. This year, it debuted an iPhone with its largest display yet: a 6.5-inch OLED that fits into the same relative form factor as past Plus-sized models.
But an iPhone lineup dominated by 4.7+ inch devices also leaves consumers with fewer choices. The iPhone SE was not outfitted with the latest tech or hardware, but it still sold well and was a surprise hit among consumers.
A 4-inch form factor is just easier to handle. For users who don’t watch many videos, it’s the perfect balance between usable space and pocket-ability.
While most recent repots suggest that device has been scrapped altogether, Apple could certainly surprise us by releasing it sometime in the future. And there are some reasons why it might.
A 4-inch device at a significantly lower price point could help Apple dominate emerging markets like India, particularly as some reports suggested it could be produced in-country there.
Even if it’s not part of the 2018 iPhone lineup, Apple may have an SE refresh up its sleeve to help bring iPhone to even more people across the world.
But this is just speculation at this point. And it really doesn’t seem like it’s on the company’s priorities list in the short-term.
The iPhone X brought about Apple’s vision for the future of the smartphone — a vision that it continues with the iPhone XS, XS Max and Xr. But, unfortunately for fans of the 4-inch form factor, the iPhone SE doesn’t seem to be a part of that foreseeable future.