The iPhone SE 2 may not be officially dead, but most signs indicate that it is. And that’s a shame.
While the iPhone SE wasn’t terribly impressive and was likely never a huge money maker for Apple, it represented a couple of things that catered to a large segment of consumers. Namely, form factor and price, as well as being an attractive option in some international markets.
Incredible Form Factor
Many consumers like larger phones and smartphone manufacturers have been increasingly moving in the larger-sized, premium tier direction. But there’s undoubtedly still a good portion of consumers who prefer a smaller device.
There’s just no doubt that the 4-inch iPhone form factor was lightweight, portable and pocketable. It was unobtrusive and just didn’t take up much space wherever it went.
Importantly, it also fit comfortably in a variety of hands. Today’s iPhones have been criticized for being too large for smaller-handed people.
If people want bigger screens, just apply an edge-to-edge display design to the iPhone SE. An iPhone “XSE” would have the best of both worlds and would offer a great middle ground for consumers who don’t want an unwieldy device.
We Liked the Price
The iPhone SE also represented an excellent way for Android users to migrate to the iOS ecosystem. It was aggressively priced in a way that allowed it to compete with low- to mid-range Android handsets.
Shortly before it was killed off, the iPhone SE retailed for only $349 (and now, it’s even cheaper). It was by and far the cheapest smartphone in Apple’s lineup. Now, the iPhone 7 is the bottom tier device, but it retails for $449.
For an iPhone, that’s still relatively inexpensive. But it still means that Apple’s bottom iPhone price tier was marked up $100 in an instant.
Apple is obviously aiming for the premium market with its devices. But, as the old saying goes, Apple probably shouldn’t be putting all of its eggs in one basket.
It’s an International Strategy
On a similar note, an iPhone SE refresh could play into Apple’s broader strategies in critical markets like India and China.
That’s particularly true if a portion of refreshed iPhone SE models were produced within those countries. The so-called iPhone SE 2 was rumored to be a locally produced device in India.
(And a similar move in China could help Apple bypass tariffs and grow its market share there.)
India and China aren’t just marginally important — they’re the world’s largest and second largest smartphone markets. None of Apple’s current devices cater to those markets, which just doesn’t seem like a smart strategy.
Will There Be an iPhone SE 2?
The smartphone market is largely saturated and iPhone sales are down. But an iPhone SE refresh could help Apple win back some of the remaining market share.
While Apple’s Services is rumored to overtake iPhones as a growth driver, and Apple’s iPhone revenues have actually been increasing, a lower-priced handset akin to the iPhone SE would only diversify Apple’s lineup.
For those of us holding out hope for an iPhone SE 2, it’s worth noting that there have been some rumors that one might still be coming. Where an iPhone SE 2 materializes remains to be seen.