Apple Reportedly Will Stop Production of Its Cheapest iPhone

Muhammad Razief Razqie . January 20, 2023

Picture: Own Talk

Techspace - The iPhone SE, Apple’s cheapest yet nearly as powerful as their flagship will reportedly be discontinued. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple may scrap the next version of its wallet-friendly iPhone SE, which was expected to arrive next year.

She stated on Medium post that the supply chain has received instructions from Apple signaling that the production and shipment plans for the 2024 iPhone SE 4 have been canceled rather than delayed.

If Kuo's predictions are proven to be accurate, we may never know the true reasoning for the cancellation of the iPhone SE with Apple being the only one who knows the reasoning behind it. But research and media reports suggest there may be a very simple answer. More expensive iPhone models tend to be more popular, possibly leaving little incentive for Apple to continue pursuing cheaper phones like the iPhone SE.  CNET has requested a comment from Apple, but so far Apple has not responded as of the writing of this article. 

The third-gen iPhone SE, which debuted in March, starts at $429 and is essentially an iPhone 8 fitted with the specifications of an iPhone 13. Various news outlets have praised the model as "mind-blowing value" in their iPhone SE (2022) review, but most of them also highlighted missing elements that make it feel dated, like its lack of a full-screen design or night mode for the camera.

Previous generations of the iPhone SE took a similar approach; the 2020 version essentially had the same design but had the iPhone 11's chip. The 2016 model had the body of an iPhone 5S with the processor of an iPhone 6S. A rumored fourth-gen iPhone SE was expected to adopt a new design similar to the iPhone XR, according to YouTube personality and gadget leaker Jon Prosser.

The Main Question: But Why?

Picture: DetikInet

To understand why Apple may have canceled its next iPhone SE, consider the changes Apple recently made in its iPhone 14 lineup. In a departure from the prior two years, Apple did not release a cheaper "Mini" version of its new flagship iPhone in 2022. Instead, it released a larger version of the regular iPhone 14 called the iPhone 14 Plus, which is $100 more expensive than the regular $799 iPhone 14, raising the barrier to entry for shoppers. 

This change followed reports from Nikkei Asian Review and Kuo (via MacRumors) that Apple would scrap the iPhone Mini in 2022, with the former adding that the Mini model didn't resonate with consumers. Taken together, the elimination of the Mini and reports that next year's rumored iPhone SE may have been axed could indicate that Apple is pivoting away from releasing smaller, cheaper iPhones.

Evidence suggests that more expensive iPhones tend to be top sellers, which might help explain the shift. The average selling price of an iPhone rose 7% year over ear in the third quarter of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. The iPhone SE, meanwhile, has only accounted for roughly 5% to 8% of quarterly US iPhone sales over the past two years, said Josh Lowitz of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. When looking at total volumes for the newest iPhone models in a given year, the Pro versions typically account for 35% to 40% of sales, while the iPhone SE makes up about 20%, according to Munster.

If these reports are proven true in the coming months, consumers would no longer have the choice but to opt for the more expensive models. Additionally, competitors such as Samsung may take this opportunity to gain the Apple audience who are seeking for powerful, yet cheaper smartphones. We will just have to wait and see.

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