The iPhone SE got a massive price cut of 50 percent within its first year, which is unusual, since we have not seen this trend with any other Apple product till date. Launched for Rs 39,000 for the 16GB storage variant, the device is now selling for Rs 24,999. If you consider a cash back of Rs 5,000, the price comes down to just Rs 19,999. Similarly, the 64GB variant, which was launched for Rs 44,000, is now selling for Rs 29,999, and the cash back taking the price further down to Rs 24,999. Also Read - iPhone SE 3 likely to bring some interesting specs at a budget, release timeline outAlso Read - Apple AR/VR headset mass production may be delayed until end of 2022 : Report
While the special prices are applicable till March 31, the discount is offered by retailers, and not by Apple. The price cut not only makes the iPhone SE more affordable than ever, but also makes it cheaper than the pricing in the US. This is not something that has happened before, which also leaves some questions. Also Read - Apple Watch Series 7 first look: Classy with lots of health features
The user perception!
I started as an Android user in late 2009, switching between Samsung Galaxy i7500, Nexus One, Motorola Milestone XT-720, followed by iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4 and moving on to HTC Desire HD and currently, the HTC One M8. But, over the years, I ve come across many people who have been Apple loyalists, and only using an iPhone.
I ve reviewed Apple iPhones and iPads along, and I personally use an iPad mini too. Now, while Apple devices are impressive in their own right, there s no denying that these are premium products that out of reach for many. Apple and its loyal users generally talk about the premium look and feel and the overall experience.
Before iPhone SE, the iPhone 5s was the last compact smartphone with a 4-inch display. But as users started looking for smartphones with bigger screens, Apple went ahead with two models – one sporting a 4.7-inch display and the other with 5.5-inch display. And those who prefer compact smartphones were reluctant to switch to the new devices with bigger screens. The iPhone SE was made to cater that audience. And the iPhone SE was as powerful as the iPhone 6s – featuring 12-megapixel rear camera, Apple A9 SoC and 2GB of RAM. Apparently, that wasn t enough.
The problem with iPhone SE
So, Apple users always talk about experience. I ve heard that from my friends too. But, there are several reasons why the iPhone SE didn t click with the users. With the iPhone 6s, Apple introduced 3D Touch display, offering a new way of interaction. The iPhone 6s also features a 5-megapixel selfie snapper and newer version of Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple s new operating system is designed to take advantage of these features. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone SE review: Small, powerful
But when we talk about iPhone SE, despite launching nearly six months after the iPhone 6s, the did not feature 3D Touch display. Yes, Apple may not have been able to get the technology on the smaller screen, but the point is — one of the key USP is missing. Secondly, the selfie camera is still mere 1.2-megapixels, which has been around since the iPhone 5. Thirdly, the Touch ID version was also the same as the one on the iPhone 5s.
In terms of pricing, the iPhone SE officially starts at Rs 39,000 for 16GB variant, whereas the iPhone 6s 32GB variant with better specifications starts at Rs 50,000. Clearly, Apple got it all wrong with SE s pricing and wasn t compelling enough for the buyers. And the fact that it missed out on key features, could have deterred a lot of prospective buyers.
BGR India reached out to Counterpoint Research s analyst Tarun Pathak to understand how the smartphone fared in India. He said, iPhone SE got a muted reception compared to any of its new launches in India till date. Lukewarm response to iPhone SE in India can be attributed to two reasons, i.e. Initially it was perceived to be an emerging markets only which in reality is was not, so end users immediately started comparing it with iPhone 5S but the price differential is too high. Second the end user for which it was targeted is still niche in India (users looking for smaller screen size).
Pathak added, the iPhone SE s contribution to Apple s sell-in was only three percent since launch. Now, the price cut makes the iPhone SE an attractive option in the mid-range segment. It is likely to lure users which are willing to overlook the functional aspect of the device (like lesser screen size) but still aspire for Apple products if affordable in India, he said.
The price cut also makes iPhone SE a value for money proposition, especially for those who always wanted an iPhone, but it was out of their budget. If you have been contemplating on buying an iPhone but the steep pricing steered you away, will you be considering to buy one with the latest price cut? Let us know in the comments below.