Apple Inc launched their newest model, the iPhone SE, on Monday. The newest edition will be priced at just $399 and will be Apple’s least expensive 6th generation model aimed at emerging markets and customers who prefer smaller phones in order to boost its declining smartphone sales.
Unlike its predecessors, the iPhone SE was not launched in San Francisco, but at Apple’s Cupertino, California campus. The low key unveiling did not excite both tech experts and investors.
The company sees the launch as a necessary move to enter into the mid-range phone market and compete against other lower-budget smartphones that are running on Google’s Android operating system.
Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis said:
“There are people who want that smaller screen size…You do a price cut when you need to drive the market a bit more.”
However, he was doubtful whether the price cut was enough to entice a large number of buyers.
iPhone sales are expected to slump in the upcoming quarter for the first time since essentially creating the smartphone market nine years ago and the iPhone SE has been created in response to this decline.
Apple is celebrating its 40th anniversary on April 1, and investors are concerned that the company has nothing new in the pipeline to excite consumers.
The portfolio manager for the Hennessy Technology Fund Skip Aylesworth said:
“Apple is so big now that nothing seems to be earth-shaking anymore, and the strategy seems to be turning to offering complementary products like watch bands so they can maintain their sales momentum.”
Aside from the new iPhone model, Apple also featured the iPad Pro and new wristbands for the Apple Watch. Liam, Apple’s robot, also made an appearance taking apart old iPhones to reuse the old but valuable materials. However, none of Apple’s exhibits so far have managed to thrill investors.
Apple shares closed at $105.77 in the afternoon, down by $0.15. From its all-time high at $133 on February 2015, the company’s stock price has fallen by 20 per cent.
The SE features a screen size similar to iPhone 5C at 4 inches, the smallest among the 6th generation phones. The iPhone 6S is the next smallest at 4.7 inches.
The iPhone SE is also priced at $399, boasts a 12-megapixel camera and 16 GB memory.
After the iPhone 5C failed to breach the mid-market, the newest model is Apple’s second attempt after three years and will be available to purchase next week. Orders for the new model will start on Thursday.
Apple’s top-of-the-line model is priced at $649 (without a contract form a service provider), which is beyond the budgets of its mid-market customers. The SE is equipped with the A9 chip making it 2 times faster than their previous mid-market model, which was launched in 2013, and also comes with Apple Pay. The new phone also sports the rose gold color, popular among customers.