Apple has had a tough week. It accidentally leaked a major iPhone upgrade in iOS, in France it was fined $27M for deliberately slowing iPhones and now the company’s first new iPhone release of 2020 has been revealed and it looks a smarter buy than the iPhone 11.
Thanks to acclaimed industry insider Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) and the always-excellent Fast Company, we now have both a release date and price for Apple’s next iPhone, the hotly anticipated iPhone SE2 / iPhone 9. And it’s much sooner and much cheaper than you might have expected.
02/12 Update: 9to5Mac has obtained a new report from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo which reveals further disruption at Foxconn and Pegatron, Apple’s biggest manufacturing partners. Due to the spread of the Coronavirus, he reveals further delays reopening the Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, which is “the most critical iPhone production site” as well as Pegatron’s Kushan plant which “is in charge of iPhone 9 production”. At this stage is remains to be seen if Apple will have to delay the launch or shipping date of the iPhone SE2 / iPhone 9 but, even with Tim Cook’s remarkable supply chain prowess, it seems this will be inevitable if these (extremely understandable) delays continue.
02/13 Update: a new report today from DigiTimes has revealed the scale of impact the Coronavirus is having on Apple’s plans for the iPhone SE9 / iPhone 9. DigiTimes reports that Apple has had to shift production of the new iPhone to Taiwan where industry has not been so heavily affected. DigiTimes also understands that the iPhone 12 will be unable to enter production in June (Apple’s usual month for starting the epic job of building up millions of units for its September launch). Again, how this impacts both the launch and stock availability of the iPhone SE2 and iPhone 12, remains to be seen as we are in uncharted territory here.
Blass pegs the release date for “mid-March”, telling me it comes from a “source in the wireless ecosystem” and the source has since gained further credibility as the leak also states the Galaxy S20 will arrive in stores on March 6 – a date Samsung confirmed in its official launch today. Building on this, Fast Company quotes its own source as also pegging the new iPhone’s launch for mid-March and states that “parts production for the phone is now ramping up” despite ongoing problems with the spread of the Coronavirus.
Fast Company’s real eye-opener, however, is cost as it says Apple will sell the phone for just $399. Interestingly, this is the same price Apple asked for the original iPhone SE when it launched in 2016 (slightly cheaper if you allow for inflation). But unlike that device, Apple is increasing the screen size to still super-portable 4.9-inches. The design will be a variant of the iPhone 8’s 4.7-inch design, meaning users will get Touch ID instead of Face ID but the same blazing-fast Apple A13 Bionic used in the iPhone 11 range and the same primary camera (though it will be just a single lens).
Given the (inevitably) lower screen resolution at 4.9-inches, the end result will be the fastest smartphone in the world, using arguably the best primary smartphone camera in the world, housed in the most portable premium chassis in the world. All for $300 less than an entry-level 64GB iPhone 11.
Sound too good to be true? Apparently not. Fast Company understands that Apple will still have a profit margin in excess of 50% and its primary aim is to onboard more users to Apple services which have a 64% profit margin. For Apple and its customers alike, this is shaping up to be the very definition of a Win/Win.
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