Editorial: Apple just told you that they aren't going to make an 'iPhone SE 2' any time so...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 11
We didn't expect an "iPhone SE 2" at Tuesday's Apple Event, but what Tim Cook and company did show is a line-up with pricing that leaves no room for the return of the old style 4-inch iPhone.

Phil Schiller summarizes Apple's current iPhone lineup
Phil Schiller summarizes Apple's current iPhone lineup


If Apple brought out a new 4-inch iPhone SE, you might buy one. If you want a smaller iPhone, you really want it. You may even be finding that the very smallest and lightest of Apple's current range is too big and cumbersome for you.

Passion for that small size, compact iPhone is so great that it's probably the entire reason we keep hearing wishful rumors about it coming back. However, it's probably not so great that it represents a market Apple thinks is worth addressing. That's partly through pure pragmatism, in that you need to sell so many units to make all that development, design, manufacture, and even shipping worldwide worth while.

Yet there is always another side to this, which is that any one product Apple sells has a knock-on impact on at least some others. Sales of a 4-inch iPhone would, at least a little, dent the sales of the iPhone 8 which is now available for $449, and is the current smallest model Apple sells.

Apple has to weigh up how much of a dent. It has to judge whether the number of sales of an "iPhone SE 2" would make up for the drop in sales of the iPhone 8. And apart from the wild west days of the early 1990s when Apple made sixteen thousand different Macs in the hope that one of them would sell, Apple has always been really smart about its product mix.

With these resources and this amount of time, Apple puts a lot of effort into calculating the optimum range of products -- and their prices. In every sense, it is calculating demand.

Before she was head of retail, Deirdre O'Brien worked on that very issue. She was reportedly so skilled in forecasting demand that she was a key factor in helping Apple reduce its stockpile of unsold devices.

Love doesn't come into it

In 2016, when the company launched the iPhone SE, Apple's Greg Joswiak addressed the issue of people's passion for this smaller size phone. He revealed that in the previous year, when the iPhone 5s was still on sale, Apple had sold 30 million 4-inch phones.




"So why are people buying 4-inch iPhones?" he said. "Well, there's two reasons. First, for some people, they simply love smaller phones. They want the most compact iPhone design."

It was definitely true, but that was that. He didn't try quantifying it, he just acknowledged it, and then went on to what mattered to Apple.

"Second, we found that for a lot of these customers, it's their first iPhone," he continued.

That one, he did quantify -- or at least a little. He showed a pie chart where approximately 40% of sales worldwide were listed as being to people who were "New to iPhone."

He then showed that same chart restricted to just China, where it was approximately 60% of customers.

Apple wants new buyers and in 2016, more than three years ago, it recognized that an iPhone SE should get them this market. In 2019, the world has changed.

Switchers and newcomers

Some proportion of those customers that Joswiak said were new to iPhone, were actually switchers from Android. It's only surprising now, in retrospect, that this was true because at the time, Android phones had already tended to go much larger than 4 inches.

Perhaps that was part of the attraction, but overall, anyone now thinking of switching probably has an Android phone that is considerably bigger than the old iPhone SE screen size.

Then the rest of the new customers were ones for whom the 4-inch model was their first smartphone. And here, Joswiak had something very key to say back in 2016.

"Whether they're switching from Android or it's their first smartphone," he said, "it's the first time they're experiencing iOS and our hardware and software integration and our amazing ecosystem."

Spot the word he didn't use. He didn't mention the word "phone."

In 2016, the then-new iPhone SE sold from $399, and it was the cheapest iPhone they'd ever sold. Flash-forward to 2019, and the iPhone price lineup is more expensive. The cheapest iPhone you can currently buy new from Apple is the iPhone 8 and that sells for $50 more at $449.

It also comes with 64GB storage instead of the SE's measly 16GB, but in terms of price points, it still occupies the low end of Apple's range.

Apple's iPhone range, that is.

For a way to get people into "iOS and our hardware and software integration and our amazing ecosystem," there is the iPod touch.

That currently sells for $199, even lower than the iPhone SE ever was.

And then, broadly speaking, the iPod touch only lacks two things that an iPhone SE 2 could bring. There's obviously no phone in the iPod touch, but you also can't pair an Apple Watch to one.

Maybe we're wrong

There are these persistent, recurring rumors than Apple will produce an iPhone SE 2, and maybe it is because of this Apple Watch integration. Only, all other signs say that Apple is trying to free the Apple Watch from the iPhone.

L-R: iPhone SE, iPod touch, iPhone 8. The differences are smaller than they seem.
L-R: iPhone SE, iPod touch, iPhone 8. The differences are smaller than they seem.


Apple is not expecting people who buy a (comparatively) cheap device to want to pair it with an Apple Watch. It is expecting them to be attracted by iOS and, you can presume, it is hoping that once they're hooked, they'll move up to more expensive iPhones. Not to only slightly more expensive iPhones.

What we left behind

No question, the 4-inch iPhone SE was a great phone. There is some question over how many were sold, but in the pantheon of beloved Apple devices, the iPhone SE is up there.

People who miss it, tend to miss the convenience not so much of the smaller screen, but of the smaller device that it was housed in. They tend to miss the lightness of the iPhone SE as well. It wasn't the lightest-ever iPhone -- even the iPhone 5S was a sliver lighter at 112g (3.95oz) compared to the SE's 113g (3.99oz) -- but it was very light.

For comparison, the iPhone 8 is 148g (5.22oz), which is a really clear difference when you're holding the two.

However, the current iPod touch trumps all of this at just 88g (3.1oz). It has the same width as the iPhone SE and is within millimeters of the same height. But the iPod touch is also 0.6-inches (16mm) less in depth. So if you want a small device, Apple has you covered with the iPod touch, but less so if you want wireless beyond Wi-Fi.

If you want a small phone, Apple is surely comparing the old SE with the current iPhone 8 and concluding that there isn't much in the difference.

And Apple is right. There is the issue of weight, where the iPhone 8 is around 2oz heavier than the iPod touch, and there is the screen which is 4.7-inches instead of 4.

Otherwise, though, the iPhone 8, for all that it appears bigger than an iPhone SE, isn't that much different at all.

The height of an iPhone 8 is 5.45-inches compared to the 4.87 inches of an iPhone SE, and the width is 2.65 inches instead of 2.31 inches. But the depth is actually slightly less at 0.29 inches instead of 0.30.

These differences are enough that when you see images of the two phones, you think the iPhone 8 is far bigger. They're not enough that you think that it seems quite so great when you hold both.

Which is good, since the same rumors that say Apple is making a new iPhone SE 2, are also saying that it will really be the size of an iPhone 8.

We've already got one of those, it's already the cheapest current iPhone Apple sells. Apple clearly thinks that there's little or no market for a 4-inch model.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,027member
    Accept it or not. The days of 4" screen phones are long gone. Around 5" screen is new smaller phone.Only possibility is iPhone 8 frame with edge-to-edge LCD screen, previous gen FaceID and older cheaper internal components to reduce the cost. That will be positioned at $499 and iPhone 8 will be removed from the lineup or reduced to $399.
    edited September 11 JWSCmuthuk_vanalingamcanukstorm
  • Reply 2 of 64
    Wel yes an SE2 is about size but it's also about price, while $449 may see like a great price point the iPhone SE base model was $399 while that doesn't seem a lot of difference with the economies of scale Apple have now there is no reason if they wanted to they couldn't offer an iPhone SE2 starting at $349.

    The reality is Apple needs to look at the fact that it is losing market share, not because it's iPhones are no good but other than buying Old technology (iPhone 8) Apple has no current technology level product at a reason price point.

    In the developed world we may not feel this is important but the less well off people in the world are voting with their feet, if Apple fails to offer this massive segment of the market a viably priced product it is the Apple ecosystem that will lose out to Android hordes!
    cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 64
    I want a modern iPhone that is not huge, heavy and $1000+

    I have a three year old iPhone 7 Plus and I want to downgrade in size. iPhone XR / 11 is roughly the same size but thicker and heavier. That leaves only the very pricy XS / 11 Pro series.

    All I can do is trade in and get an iPhone 8 or pony up too much cash and get an iPhone Pro I don’t need. Obviously there is a missing option here.
    SamhainAI_liasretrogustocornchiptokyojimucincyteeargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 64
    An SE2 with A10 for $349 would fit in the lineup perfectly. Original SE was A9, iPhone 8 is A11, cheap iPad is A10.
    Samhain
  • Reply 5 of 64
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 5,006administrator
    I want a modern iPhone that is not huge, heavy and $1000+

    I have a three year old iPhone 7 Plus and I want to downgrade in size. iPhone XR / 11 is roughly the same size but thicker and heavier. That leaves only the very pricy XS / 11 Pro series.

    All I can do is trade in and get an iPhone 8 or pony up too much cash and get an iPhone Pro I don’t need. Obviously there is a missing option here.
    The iPhone X at Apple's refurb shop for $679.
    razorpitStrangeDayscanukstormstompyedredbrucemcpscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 64
    I really miss my iPhone SE. I just hate the moronic act balancing my current XS (smallest of the previous generation phones) on palm with open hand to shift to reach the corners, or on the tip of the fingers to gain functional use of the upper corners. The fact that I have not dropped it yet is a miracle.
    Samhainbaconstangargonauttobian
  • Reply 7 of 64
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,947member
    All well and good, but for those who want a smaller size, even if it is larger than the SE was, the 8 is now three generations old. The appeal of an "SE2" would be the latest tech and maybe XR-level camera in a smaller than iPhone 11 or XR footprint.
    Samhaincornchipbaconstang
  • Reply 8 of 64
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,464member
    I want a modern iPhone that is not huge, heavy and $1000+

    I have a three year old iPhone 7 Plus and I want to downgrade in size. iPhone XR / 11 is roughly the same size but thicker and heavier. That leaves only the very pricy XS / 11 Pro series.

    All I can do is trade in and get an iPhone 8 or pony up too much cash and get an iPhone Pro I don’t need. Obviously there is a missing option here.
    Apple is not stupid. They conduct surveys all the time. They know what sells and what doesn’t. They know what their market is. Remember that tech blog comment sections amplify the minority opinion. Apple has apparently decided that the smaller screen size market is not worth the effort. They are probably right regardless of the constant drone for one on tech blogs, Reddit, Twitter, and the rest. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 9 of 64
    Bugger, I predicted two years ago we'd get it this year... Meanwhile it looks like smallholephobia gate is gathering steam. FFS.


    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49660765
    edited September 11
  • Reply 10 of 64
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,464member
    mike1 said:
    All well and good, but for those who want a smaller size, even if it is larger than the SE was, the 8 is now three generations old. The appeal of an "SE2" would be the latest tech and maybe XR-level camera in a smaller than iPhone 11 or XR footprint.
    There are people who still long for a headless Mac with slots at a lower price point than the Mac Pro. Some people long for a smaller iPhone. Some still want the iPod Mini. Everybody has their favorite device they want to see manufactured ad infinitum. And you can get all the smaller phones you want from the competition but none of them will be sporting the latest whizbang features and technology.
    edited September 11 razorpit
  • Reply 11 of 64
    Apple does not need a cheap phone- as the article shows 8 is that now.

    What it needs is a smaller form factor full screen phone.  Anyone else note the phones are priced 499 599 699 999.

    Big gap in the 799 or 899 range.  Perfect for a full screen phone with a foot print of an iPhone 5.  MY bet is we are waiting for the size of the notch to shrink or the notch gone all together.
    tjwolfleftoverbaconrinosaurbaconstangargonaut
  • Reply 12 of 64
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,028member
    *** Disclaimer: Wishful Thinking ***

    Regardless, I still have hope. Apple's M.O. is to squeeze every dollar out of a production/assembly line for as long as possible, and use up as many parts/components they have stock piled.

    Case in point... While all other iPad's moved to a bigger display, the "cheap" model was kept around to use up their 9.7" displays. It's this same reasoning this new iPad is the last iPad with an A10 - in fact, along with the iPod Touch, they're only Apple devices with an A10.

    Having all price points covered now, doesn't prove a thing. Keeping the iPhone 8 and XR around isn't costing Apple anything - this is their normal way to milk as much cost as they can out of a product. It's my belief (see disclaimer), that during the traditional slow-down after the Holiday,. Apple will release the "SE 2". It will be an XR with a 4.7" display and priced at $499. The iPhone 8 will move down in price to $399.

    This time next year, the iPhone 8 will be gone and the SE 2 will down to $399...
    399 XR mini
    499 XR
    599 iPhone 11
    699 iPhone 12
    999 iPhone 12 Pro
    1099 iPhone 12 Pro Max

    Gone... an iPhone with Touch ID, a iPhone and iPad (and iPod) that does not have an SoC with Apple's Neural Engine.
    edited September 11 muthuk_vanalingamargonaut
  • Reply 13 of 64
    arcanineguyarcanineguy Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    Best iphone never created.
    -iphone SE frame/form factor
    -glass back for wireless charging
    -haptic touch id (7/8)
    -quality LCD screen (7/8)
    -iphone 11 dual camera setup
    -A12 or A13 chip
    -eSim + Qqom modem
    -$600
    edited September 11 JWSCleftoverbaconretrogustoargonaut
  • Reply 14 of 64
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,305member
    I think there are still options.

    The iPhone 8 is clearly the dated ugly duckling in the family.

    Providing a re-vamped headless/chinless iPhone SE 2 early next year and swapping it in for the current iPhone 8 would leave the lineup looking modern from top to bottom and with a nice price spectrum.

    It's only speculation but it would eliminate the ugly duckling.


    muthuk_vanalingamleftoverbaconSamhainbaconstangargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 64
    moxommoxom Posts: 326member
    Viewing this on my iPhone 5. 

    I was hoping for a new small iPhone like a lot if people but I have now accepted that it's not going to happen. 

    Unfortunately, I have to change my phone now as many apps I use (including banking apps) no longer run which is a real shame as my phone is working great. 

    I may now consider getting a second hand iPhone SE or just go for an iPhone 8 which is at an attractive price now. 

    First World problems indeed...


    leftoverbaconSamhaincornchipargonaut
  • Reply 16 of 64
    Life taught me do not say something wont or can not or si not possible. Some fool will come that do not know that and will make you look dumb.

    Sales in future months will tell us more and we will see. As someone noted 8 can be easily upgraded or discontinued.and replaced with fullscreen model with under screen TouchID..

  • Reply 17 of 64
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 552member

    Well, this validates my decision a few weeks ago to buy four iPhone SEs from Woot at $104.99 each.

    leftoverbaconSamhaincornchipbaconstangcincyteeargonaut
  • Reply 18 of 64
    I'm not sure Apple is not stupid, that it knows what sells and what doesn't. Sure, its products are selling and it is flush with cash. But the corporate landscape is littered with corporations who once reigned king but are relegated to much smaller market segments today, if even still in business. Apple will prove to be no exception. How say? Because its lost focus, deviated from what Steve Jobs built to lay the foundation for the excessive wealth Apple enjoys today. Jobs was so successful because he gave Apple customers outstanding value and innovative products. His product line was simple and clearly differentiated. Most products could be readily repaired, expanded, and upgraded. But his real killer feature was delivering excellence, the best user experience possible (at specific price points) for a modest premium. That's what Apple lacks today, and why I predict its ship will sail too. Greed always loses in the end.
    Samhain
  • Reply 19 of 64
    salmonstk said:
    Apple does not need a cheap phone- as the article shows 8 is that now.

    What it needs is a smaller form factor full screen phone.  Anyone else note the phones are priced 499 599 699 999.

    Big gap in the 799 or 899 range.  Perfect for a full screen phone with a foot print of an iPhone 5.  MY bet is we are waiting for the size of the notch to shrink or the notch gone all together.
    This was my reaction too - there's plenty of pricing room for an all-screen phone with iPhone 5-like dimensions.  If Apple can sell the mouthful "iPhone 11 Pro Max", it can sell an "iPhone 11 Pro Mini".  Here's what I've been preaching for awhile now: Apple will bring out a smaller iPhone again after it's delivered AR glasses!  The thinking is pretty straight-forward: as AR-glasses based presentation becomes more sophisticated, there will be less and less need for screens, much less phablet sized ones.  Increasingly, the phone will stay in ones pocket and simply be the compute engine & traffic cop to all the wearables.  An iPhone 5 sized phone is just so much more comfortable in a jeans pocket than an iPhone 11 Pro Max :-)

    coolfactorleftoverbaconSamhainbaconstang
  • Reply 20 of 64
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,305member
    moxom said:
    Viewing this on my iPhone 5. 

    I was hoping for a new small iPhone like a lot if people but I have now accepted that it's not going to happen. 

    Unfortunately, I have to change my phone now as many apps I use (including banking apps) no longer run which is a real shame as my phone is working great. 

    I may now consider getting a second hand iPhone SE or just go for an iPhone 8 which is at an attractive price now. 

    First World problems indeed...


    Due to an EU directive (PSD2), a smartphone app will be required by my bank for access via the 'internet'. Of course, the bank itself will determine which version of the app is the minimum required to access their services. This will no doubt have an impact on phone upgrades.

    5G Network slicing will also be involved at some point for enhancing security. 
    moxomargonaut
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