At a time where meaningful speculation about the goings on at Apple are at a lower ebb, at least until the March financials are announced next week, comes a few stories about a successor for the cheapest iPhone. Visually, the iPhone SE is very much in the form of an iPhone 5s with most of the guts of the iPhone 6s.
To those who found Apple’s understandable decision to follow the market and build larger iPhones unacceptable, the SE has been popular. Even Macworld’s one-and-only “Macalope” admits to owning one. My wife has an iPhone 5c, similarly sized, and might want to consider replacing it with an iPhone SE 2 should one come out later this year.
Then again, she doesn’t use it that much. She mostly focuses on her iPad, and only began to use her iPhone in earnest during the three weeks we spent stuck in a motel after losing our apartment lease. Since we moved to a new place, she still keeps it around, but hasn’t really used it that much. To her the display is too small, but it fits her tiny purses.
But what form might the iPhone SE’s successor take, and does it really matter all that much in the scheme of things?
Well, the latest rumors have the iPhone SE being a refresh of the original, with more powerful innards. There’s also a report that Apple might “borrow” a feature from the latest models: Wireless charging. That would mean using glass for the rear, same as the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
Do I sense a yawn?
I suppose it’s neat to have a feature of that sort, if it’s anything you’d care to use. But not necessarily for me.
You see, some years back, I interviewed a company — now out of business — that developed cases for smartphones that enabled wireless charging. It worked well enough, I suppose, but I was quite happy just connecting my iPhone to a charging cable. It seems a more sensible solution than taking along a much larger charging gadget wherever I go, especially the car, in order to recharge my device.
Sure, it works all right with an Apple Watch, and many of you may be using such a charger with your current iPhones. It’s just not my cup of tea, but since the expected iPhone SE 2 won’t be substantially different from its predecessor otherwise, I suppose some of the tech sites were a little too eager to tout something new.
Besides, I wonder how many of these nifty new features really help sell product. Since it’s been two years since the original iPhone SE arrived, having something extra might seem a huge improvement, but I also wonder just how many iPhone users care at all about this sort of wireless charging. I’d be more interested in real wireless charging, where no contact between the device and the charger is necessary.
But the current iteration of wireless charging might help sell product, maybe not for existing iPhone SE users, but those who still have older iPhones that are way past their prime. Imagine, too, if Apple could bring it to market for $299, which is fairly cheap as smartphones go. How? Well, there are published reports that this might be the first model that Apple assembles in India, and perhaps that will provide a way to cut the price.
Apple is also reportedly trying to source OLED displays for the iPhone X and the rumored iPhone X Plus for less money. If that were possible, perhaps these devices will end up costing less. Maybe the larger model would end up costing $999, same as the original iPhone.
Of course that won’t stop people from complaining about price even though it won’t be that much higher than Samsung’s most expensive model. That always remains curious.
Indeed, one of the excuses for the alleged — and so far unconfirmed — claim the iPhone X sales have been poor is based on price. But how does a similar price impact sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? Where are the reports of its sales? Where are the surveys demonstrating that potential customers are passing it by because it’s just too expensive?
Or are sales being impacted by the failure of the Galaxy Note 7 due to swollen and exploding batteries?
Or are the frequent two-for-one sales helping to move more product? While some carriers will offer similar deals on new iPhones, you see them on Samsung gear almost from the first day they go on sale. I just wonder how Samsung can make much of a profit by, in effect, cutting the price in half? Or is it a matter of selling product regardless of profits, which explains why the iPhone now earns an estimated 86% of industry profits.
In any case, I suppose I should be looking out for the next iPhone SE in case I have to find a great deal on one for Barbara.
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