iPhone SE 2: The never-ending story...

It makes more sense for Apple to meet this need than to ignore it...

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPhone SE, smartphone, iOS, mobile, Apple
Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Nikkei claims Apple will introduce a lower-cost 4.7-inch iPhone in 2020. The claim that Apple will one day replace the iPhone SE with another small and more affordable model is repeated every year.

Why do people want this?

The only reason speculation of this kind enjoys such currency is because there’s actual demand for such a product. People want a smaller iPhone. People want one that’s a little more affordable.

They want a gateway to Apple’s iOS and services ecosystem, with a decent camera, and – like anyone else lost and thirsty in a desert – they want a real alternative to the hardware that’s currently available to them.

They want annual software upgrades, reliability, and (dare I say it), public commitment to user privacy and security.

They want to use a platform that’s based on the world’s fastest mobile processor and equipped with cutting-edge software technologies.

They want a glass of water in the desert, as someone once said.

That’s why so many customers continued to invest in iPhone SE phones earlier this year when they appeared on the Apple Refurb store.

Leaving money on the table

I’ve lost track of the number of people who in conversation have told me they’d like an iPhone but won’t invest in the current models because they find them too bulky.

There are still some humans on the planet still who would rather read a book than play games or stare at a smartphone screen, and while they’ll use these things for communication, media, and productivity, they don’t see the iPhone as the center of their lives. They just want a good phone that doesn’t get in the way, and they’d like it to be made by Apple, possibly because they’ve heard good things about what it provides.

But Apple isn’t offering these people what they need. Yes, they can pick up an iPhone XR, but that’s a larger device that may deliver more than they need.

I’ve no idea of the potential market that Apple isn’t meeting, but I know (on an anecdotal basis, at least) that there are people out there who feel this way. It makes no sense to me that Apple leaves the needs of these potential customers unmet.

Particularly when smartphone sales are slowing, economies tottering, regulatory oversight increasing and consumers tightening their belts. I can’t help but think this is money Apple’s leaving on the table.

So, what is this year’s iPhone SE rumor?

Nikkei’s report claims Apple now intends responding to these needs. It briefly claims some kind of SE successor for launch in 2020 with the following specifications:

  • 7-inch.
  • “Similar to iPhone 8” (Whatever that means).
  • LCD display.
  • A13 processor.
  • Touch ID more likely than Face ID.

The report has no input on price.

“The cheaper iPhone SE could serve as a sales momentum kicker the first half next year, if the new premium iPhones do not perform well in the coming months,” GF Securities analyst Jeff Pu told Nikkei.

Will this actually happen?

Maybe, maybe not. We’ve seen such claims before. We’ve seen them disappear, like deadlines, with a whoosh and whimper.

We’ve also seen reports like these appear just before Apple introduces a new smartphone, as it will do next week.

In my experience, none of this means anything much until it is announced.

However, what is important is that the only reason speculation concerning a revamped iPhone SE style smartphone has any currency at all is because it is a product for which there’s real demand.

It makes much more sense for Apple to meet this need than to ignore it.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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