"The era of making (high) profits on superior hardware is a thing of the past."
Apple at its conference in San Francisco unveiled the new iPhone SE, its cheapest iPhone model to date.
Apple iPhone SE smartphone launched in March 2016, looks very similar to the iPhone 5s. It is the smallest smartphone in Apple’s current lineup.
This new smartphone aims to meet the demand both for a smaller screen and cheaper priced iPhone.
It comes with a 4.00-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 640 pixels by 1136 pixels at a PPI of 326 pixels per inch, and comes in two storage options: 16GB and 64GB.
Technically, the iPhone SE features the iPhone 6s’ Apple A9 SoC and M9 motion coprocessor.
The camera is 12-megapixel iSight with 4K video support, allowing photos on par with the iPhone 6s.
Other features include Bluetooth 4.2, improved Wi-Fi and LTE, Apple Pay support with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and new microphones.
It comes with the colour variants introduced with the iPhone 6s – including Rose Gold. It also features more rounded edges on the top and bottom panels, more like the iPhone 6 than the iPhone 5s.
In the US, the iPhone SE 16GB model is priced at $399. The starting price for the in India will be Rs. 30,000 and orders can be placed from early April 2016.
New accessories for the phone were also released such as leather cases in Black and Midnight Blue.
With the new more affordable iPhone, India is being seen as an emerging market for its Apple products.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has expressed interest in India as one of the most important growth areas for the company in the coming decade.
Plans are in place to bring Apple’s iStore to India and investment of $25 million into the first R&D centre to be located in Hyderabad.
In January 2016, a 76% growth was reported by Apple in iPhone sales in India for the quarter ending December 2015.
Apple had shipped approximately 800,000 iPhones to India in this quarter, its best-ever, helping it take India shipments for calendar year 2015 to 1.7 million units. stated Counterpoint Research in their report for this period.
India is the second-largest smartphone market in the world after China.
Faisal Kawoosa of CyberMedia Research, said:
“Only two to three years ago, iPhone sales would be not more than 5-6 lakh units per quarter. The jump in 2015 has been dramatic, prompting the company to rejig its India strategy, which the firm now realises cannot be divorced from price.”
There is no doubt that Apple felt that it had to meet rival smartphone makers head-to-head last year with the iPhone 6s series by offering aggressive discounts and flexible pricing.
“I will be watching the SE launch closely, since it will determine the way forward for most of us in the future. If Apple chooses to go for masses then it will confirm what has been evident for a long time now that the company is aiming for pole position in India.”
Atul Jain, of LeEco India said:
“The era of making (high) profits on superior hardware is a thing of the past. Price rationalisation is on the cards.”
With Android having the largest share, Samsung has been lowering prices of it models in India.
Samsung India’s Director of Product Marketing, Manu Sharma, indicated that the price reduction was targeted to sell more handsets and beat competition.
Apple are completely aware that that without bringing prices down, there is very little chance for the company to get a foothold into India’s growing market.
By December 2015, Apple’s market share in the top 30 cities in India was 4.6%, whilst in lower tier cities, it was only 2.8%, according to an IDC report.
So, can this new iPhone SE make the mark Apple want in India? It does provide everything the Apple brand offers with but with a lower price tag.
But is it enough to entice the Indian buyer to switch from other well-known manufacturers in the country?
This the question that shall be answered once the new iPhone SE is tried and tested by the agile Indian users who are more than aware of what technology can and cannot provide for their hard-earned money.