Wait…What….. Apple have just released a phone that actually fits in the front pocket of your jeans….
At a time when phone manufacturers are developing and releasing ever increasing phone sizes, Apple have brought out the new 4″ iPhone SE. The SE is a reincarnation of the popular but discontinued 5s but with all the bang for your buck hardware and features found in the new 6S series. Could it be a Phablet killer?
A Piper Jaffray survey found that 20.3% of people surveyed preferred a smaller phone but analyst Gene Munster states that those users “have just not upgraded yet” and will “move to the dark side”, I hope he’s referring to a larger phone.
Why would Apple release a new 4″ phone to the market if analysts believe the move to a larger phone is inevitable? For a start there are 30 million reasons why. Apple sold that amount of 4″ phones last year mostly to first time iPhone users or in emerging markets. While 30M iPhones is a drop in the ocean compared to 306 million iPhones sold last year, have Apple listened to it’s customers who don’t want to carry around a laptop substitute as a phone or are they just ensuring those customers don’t go looking for an alternative?
I may be sceptical but Apple don’t make these decisions lightly and without thorough planning or reason, the emerging markets and China would be the obvious focus for the new 4″ iPhone SE due to it’s lower price point.
The pre sale figures for the 4″ iPhone SE have not been released by Apple however CNBC have conducted it’s own investigation with Chinese pre orders sitting around 3.4 million but will the smaller iPhone be a raging success? After cracking the Chinese market last year is there room for the smaller iPhone due to the insatiable Chinese demand for Western premium products.
The journal written by a team at Tsinghua University investigated comfort perception and preference between two groups of students (German & Chinese) by measuring hand sizes, hand positions to use the phone & it’s functions and what each student looked for when considering purchasing a new phone.The team could not accurately determine if hand size affected the purchase of both groups but focusing on the Chinese student responses, the conclusion to the study determined that Chinese students prefer a large screen due to social standing considerations but contradictorily low price was also a large contributing factor in choosing a phone.
Over in sub-continental India, Apple’s price point may be a sticking point. A Wall Street Journal blog writes Apple will be hoping to break into the Indian market with the lower priced iPhone SE with 4″ phones accounted for 40% of smartphone sales in India last year but the current price point may be an issue. The blog goes on to state that Indians are more concerned about price rather than phone size, Kiranjeet Kaur, at IDC says only 1 in 10 Indians buy a 4″ phone and that number is decreasing year on year. Another analyst Neil Shah who heads up Counterpoint Research stated that “Most Indians are buying phones for half the price of Apple’s latest iPhone, and picking devices with bigger screens”
So have Apple got this right? 4″ iPhones have historically been a great entry point in a number of countries and emerging markets but are consumers moving away from smaller phones, has Apple priced the SE correctly in the markets it wishes to continue it’s dominance or wrestle more of the market share. Only time will tell….
I’m off to buy my new phone that fits in the front pocket of my jeans.