Three new iPhones launched in 2018 — but despite that, fans of Apple’s 4-inch handsets were likely disappointed by the company’s new lineup.
Earlier this year, rumors of a refresh to Apple’s much-loved iPhone SE handset dominated the blogosphere. But then, in June, insider sources reported that the refreshed 4-inch device had been scrapped.
It was an admittedly strange occurrence since there was quite a lot of evidence pointing toward a new 4-inch handset — from leaked CAD renders to reliable sources within the supply chain. Put simply, it’s not very often that multiple sources are this wrong about an upcoming Apple product.
But, alas, Apple has debuted its 2018 iPhone lineup — which includes the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR but omits any device smaller than 4.7 inches.
What Happened to the iPhone SE 2?
So what happened? Back in January, renowned and well-connected analyst indicated that Apple had used up its “development resources” and wouldn’t debut an iPhone SE in spring 2018.
But to be clear, Kuo’s comments only refer to that specific launch window. Quite frankly, adding an iPhone SE 2 to the 2018 lineup may have added unnecessary clutter — mainly since Apple made a point of emphasizing the iPhone XR’s relative affordability.
In other words, avoiding an iPhone SE 2 in 2018 was probably a smart move to avoid cannibalizing sales of what is likely to be this year’s hottest selling iPhone. But does that mean that an iPhone SE 2 is off the table entirely? Not necessarily.
For one, the amount of evidence that pointed toward a refresh is hard to ignore. There were analyst forecasts, supply chain rumors, marketing leaks, case maker sources and other reports suggesting that an iPhone SE 2 was indeed on the way.
What’s probable, but not certain, is that Apple decided to delay the iPhone SE 2 launch to 2019.
Of course, there are rumors to the contrary. Back in October, Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted that Apple wouldn’t add any new iPhones next year other than direct successors to the iPhone X, XS and XR.
But fans of the 4-inch form factor shouldn’t give up all hope quite yet. It’s entirely possible that Apple could debut an iPhone SE 2 this coming spring.
Why Launch an iPhone SE 2?
An Economic Daily News report from earlier this year, citing supply chain sources in China, suggested that Apple is working on a low-end iPhone currently codenamed Hangzhou. That rumored device is apparently an attempt to “seize the low-end market” in China and India.
Which, by the looks of it, would make a lot of sense based on Apple’s current situation in those critical regions.
The company doesn’t have the devices to gain significant ground in those countries — particularly as even the iPhone XR is beyond the budgets of many. But an iPhone SE 2, possibly one produced locally, could be a remedy to that.
A low-cost Apple handset, possibly an iPhone SE 2, that retails at a budget price point could give Apple the boost it needs in the largest and second largest smartphone markets in the world.
Of course, this could mean that the iPhone SE 2 will be a product exclusive to those regions. That would be unprecedented for Apple, but it isn’t out of the question.
Either way, the iPhone SE still has a lot of fans among Apple customers. Whether or not Apple will refresh that device is up in the air — but it probably should.