Introducing our weekly Apple Breakfast segment, featuring a convenient roundup of all the Apple updates you may have missed last week. We named it Apple Breakfast because we believe it pairs well with a cup of coffee or tea on a Monday morning, but feel free to read it during any mealtime.
The pointless iPhone
Last week was full of excitement in the world of Apple rumors, as a report about the iPhone SE 4 made waves. According to the source, the new device will have a unique design based on the iPhone 14, featuring an OLED display and Face ID for the lower-priced lineup. Despite only having one camera, it will also come equipped with a 48MP camera, USB-C port, and the Action button from the iPhone 15 Pro. This budget phone is definitely one to watch out for.
It is highly probable that the report is incorrect and Apple’s plans for the fourth SE model differ greatly. However, it is difficult to imagine a concept for the next SE that would be as logical as its successful generation from 2020. This device was fortunate enough to be released during Apple’s transition from the Home button to full-screen phones, appealing to those who missed the older design. This allowed the SE to be more than just a budget option; it became a connection to a beloved design of the past.
However, that was in 2020. As demonstrated by the third-generation model in the previous year, there is a dwindling number of consumers who prefer the Home button feature, making it difficult for the iPhone model to sustain itself, especially at a price point of $429. This leaves the SE line in a state of uncertainty and lack of importance. Without a significant retro design philosophy, or essentially, without a notable change in design within the main line, it becomes known as “the affordable iPhone.” This is already evident in the older models that Apple continues to offer for sale a couple of years after their initial release.
There was a point in time when the target audience for the iPhone SE was clear: individuals seeking new components in an old phone design and willing to give up certain features for a budget-friendly price. The previous 2nd-generation SE model from 2020 was a compromise, but it also promised updates for years to come and offered unique features not found in other models, such as a retro design with a Home button and a lower price point. However, it is difficult to imagine how a hybrid iPhone XR-14-15-15 Pro could be sold for significantly less than the current iPhone 13, which is still available on Apple’s store for $599.
The issue is identical to the one Apple presented with the 10th-generation iPad. When Apple revealed the updated version last autumn, it made some puzzling choices – particularly opting for a non-laminated display with only support for the first generation of the Apple Pencil, and a price of $449. It almost seemed as though Apple was aware that the price was too high, since it continued to offer the 9th-generation model at the same price of $329, creating an additional “budget” tier between the iPad and iPad Air that didn’t appear to be necessary. (Why the 9th-generation iPad was not named the iPad SE remains a mystery.)
This rumored new SE seems to be the same kind of device. It would almost certainly cost $499, if not $549, and still bring plenty of compromises while also updating a very old design for the modern era. But unless Apple completely stops selling old iPhones, which would create something of an uproar, this new SE would be in an odd position of being too expensive and not premium enough. And if Apple keep selling the current SE for $429, then neither model makes much sense.
Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to truly understand Apple’s decision-making process. For instance, no one could have foreseen that the company would release a line of “premium” iPhone cases without first testing their durability against scratches. Even the most trusting observer would have difficulty understanding the reasoning behind an SE model that combines features from the past five years of iPhone technology. What is the intention behind selling an SE model based on the iPhone 14 while also offering the actual iPhone 14? Who would be the target audience for this product?
Please note that there is a possibility for Apple to consider: bringing back the iPhone mini, a model that some vocal individuals have expressed their longing for. While it may not have high sales, it would conveniently fit in our pockets and truly be unique.
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We have come to the end of this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you want to receive regular updates, subscribe to our newsletters. You can also join us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter to discuss the latest Apple news. See you next Monday, and keep up with all things Apple.