Will the latest iPhone SE fuel global 5G device expansion?
- The latest SE model in the iPhone family is based on the latest A15 Bionic chip, 5G connectivity, improved battery life, and durability
- GlobalData reckons iPhone users usually lack affordable 5G options compared with the varied choices available for Android users, so a mid-range 5G iPhone will be a welcome boost for both operators and users
- J.P. Morgan believes the iPhone SE 5G has the potential to attract more than a billion non-premium Android users
The recently unveiled iPhone SE by Apple is dubbed to be a gamechanger in many ways: it has 5G support, the same A15 processor as the iPhone 13 and longer battery life compared to the 2020 model. In fact, the company has described the first revamp of its budget handset in two years, as a “powerful smartphone in an iconic design”,
At this time of widespread economic and employment uncertainty, it seems like the tech giant is increasingly catering to budget-conscious customers. Priced at US$429, slightly more expensive than the 2020 version, experts reckon that the latest iPhone SE may well address one of the key gating factors standing in the way of 5G adoption by device becoming widely disseminated – device affordability.
According to GlobalData’s Senior Technology Analyst, Anisha Bhatia, “the 5G iPhone SE will increase 5G adoption and help drive iPhones into emerging markets.” She reckons it will also address a dynamic in advanced markets where 5G coverage has improved over the last year but the take-up of 5G services is still relatively low.
“GlobalData expects mobile 5G services to generate US$644.6 billion by 2026, equivalent to 64% of total mobile service revenue worldwide,” she said in an analysis recently. Bhatia believes that it is the availability of affordable handsets that will be key to driving adoption, “particularly considering strong economic headwinds caused by Covid-19 affecting consumer income,” she added.
To be fair, iPhone users have been lacking in affordable 5G phones compared with the varied choices available for Android users, so a mid-range 5G iPhone will be a welcome boost for both operators and users. Even J.P. Morgan believes that the model will allow Apple to target the mid-range smartphone market dominated by rivals such as Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies.
In fact, the upcoming smartphone has the potential to lure nearly 1.4 billion low-to mid-end Android phones and about 300 million older iPhone model users, the brokerage estimated. Prior to that forecast, J.P.Morgan had also emphasized that consumer demand for major upgrades like 5G models was still expected to remain strong.
Based on the March 8 launch by Apple, the latest iPhone SE would include Apple’s premium A15 Bionic chip, which will provide a huge performance boost over the 2020 iPhone SE and iPhone 8 that the 5G SE is targeting. Hardware-wise, the phone also comes with improved durability and retains the SE’s popular compact Retina display.
“At US$429, the price for the base iPhone SE 5G is slightly more expensive than the 2020 iPhone SE as well as phones from rivals Samsung and Xiaomi. But Apple has a huge installed base of legacy iPhone users still waiting to upgrade. With carrier promotions and discounts, the iPhone SE 5G is all set to carry on Apple’s 5G supercycle,” Bhatia reiterated.
Introduced with the iPhone 13, the A15 Bionic chip has a six-core CPU, claimed to be the fastest CPU in a smartphone, with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Those features make the iPhone SE up to 1.8x faster than the iPhone 8, and even faster compared with older models.
IDC’s analyst, Nabila Popal, believes the new iPhone SE will cater to consumers looking for a budget 5G device — and it could be particularly popular given the economic uncertainty caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “A cheaper iPhone with 5G is good news for Apple, especially in these times of uncertainty,” Popal said.