Here’s the deal about gloom and doom. A technological apocalypse– as predicted by the nattering nabobs of negativism (Jason Perlow, I’m looking at you), doesn’t actually come around as often you might thing. Unless you’re Motorola. Or, BlackBerry. Or, Nokia. Or the iPhone, which as well all know has been doomed since about 2007.
The Defensive Move
Once a growing company gains some marketshare real estate, or has ongoing revenue and profits to protect, out come the defensive cannons to protect the home turf. That’s what the iPhone SE is. A defensive device aimed at changing market conditions, a growing number of iPhone customers who don’t want big screens, and those Android smartphone users longing for an affordable device that is not infected with malware and a confusing array of so-called features which seldom if ever get used.
Naysayers have been predicting for years that Apple’s iPhone balloon will burst and it has; well, not so much burst as it has a few leaks which will prevent continued gain in altitude. Even Apple’s executives recognize that the iPhone could not continue to grow unit sales at such staggering numbers as it has in recent years. It the premium end of the smartphone industry is saturated– and Apple owns most of that– then the company needs to seek out new real estate?
That means selling a cheap iPhone, right? On the surface, that seems plausible and it’s what the iPhone’s critics have been saying for years. The problem is this. A cheaper iPhone for customers who can’t afford an expensive iPhone also means a cheaper iPhone for customers who can afford an expensive iPhone.
In other words, by pushing a cheap iPhone onto the market, Apple would, in effect, be shooting itself in the foot because current customers would love a lower priced iPhone.
Enter iPhone SE.
This is where Apple blinked but you’ll be forgiven if you didn’t notice it right away. See, the iPhone SE is Apple’s new entry-level, low-priced cheap iPhone, but with a very large caveat. Well, actually, a small caveat that is highly visible. The screen size. At 4-inches iPhone SE fills in a number of blank spaces in Apple’s iPhone product line.
First, there’s the tens of millions who want a smaller iPhone and are somewhat turned off by the iPhone 6 line which starts at more more for more screen real estate at 4.7-inches to 5.5-inches. iPhone SE solves that problem Second, there are tens of millions of iPhone 5 and 5s owners who want to upgrade to something new but money is an issue. iPhone SE solves that problem, too. Finally, iPhone SE, because it’s the entry-level iPhone, also becomes an entry-way to Apple’s ecosystem, and an attractive product for switchers from Android devices, because iPhone SE– it bristles with iPhone 6s-like hardware; but not too much– remains an aspiration model. Apple didn’t go cheap. iPhone SE is still a premium iPhone.
Sneaky, those folks at Apple, right?
In one seemingly innocuous device Apple makes the iPhone attractive to newcomers and expands the premium brand to encompass a whole new spectrum of customers without diluting either price or hardware in such a way that current iPhone 6 or 6s customers will want to downgrade, unless they want a smaller phone, but either way, Apple wins.
Sneaky, Apple. Sneaky.