Very successfail: The iPhone SE good news is bad
Get your best René Belloq impression ready because we’re about to find once again that there is nothing Apple can have that pundits cannot take away.
Writing for the Forbes contributor network and mobility scooter impound lot, Ewan Spence explains “Why The iPhone SE Is Apple's Weakest Link.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Alex Fleming.)
Sure, makes sense. Hey, the Macalope’s heard people explain why the iPhone in general is Apple’s weakest link because the company sells so many of them. What will happen, they say, when we wake up one day and people summarily stop buying iPhones? Then what will Apple do?
A cursory glance at the iPhone SE’s retail performance shows that demand for the handset continues to outstrip the supply of the handset. Arguably that means Apple has a hit…
At some point the logjam will be broken, and the SE will be left to run free through the Apple Stores and into the hands of a waiting public.
Wait, this is a problem why?
Apple can expect the SE to bring down the average selling price it makes on each handset.
OK, sure. Of course, we don’t know what the margin is on the iPhone SE. It could be lower because of its lower price, but it could be higher because of its low development costs.
The funny thing is, the Macalope’s so old he remembers when pundits used to explain how Apple was doomed because it didn’t have a cheaper iPhone. Meaning that the Macalope is older than three years old. Now that Apple has a cheaper iPhone and it’s proving to be quite successful, please pick what Apple is from this list of options:
B) Really doomed.
C) Oh, God, so doomed.
Sorry, these options only come on a form that was apparently printed in 1995.
Being able to tell attractive stories around its products was once Apple’s super power. Over the last year that ability has weakened with both Apple TV and the iPhone Smart Battery Case acting as prime examples of Apple’s inability to resurrect the reality distortion field it once employed.
Pundits love to point to one or two less-than-astounding Apple devices and say “Lo! Never before has Apple had any less-than-astounding devices!” This is, of course, simply not true. For starters, the Apple TV has never enjoyed the accolades that the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac have gotten. For secondsies, buttonless iPod shuffle.
The Macalope could name others, but why bother? It’s a ridiculous trope.
Finally, the iPhone SE breaks the link at the lower end of Apple’s smartphone portfolio to the rest of the range.
Previously Apple had one major model released each year and this would slowly move down the range as the years passed, Apple now populates the three layers with three different devices.
Never before has Apple had a new devices at the low end of the market! (See also: iPhone 5c bullet hole cases in regards to the iPhone Smart Battery Case.)
Is it possible that the iPhone SE will prove so popular that it will drain sales from other models and reduce Apple’s revenue? Yes, it’s possible. The Macalope has only an anecdote to show why it might not. A friend asked the Macalope if he could help her father with some questions about his iPhone SE. Turned out her father was new to the iPhone having used Android for years. The reason he switched? He couldn’t find any well-made Android phones with smaller screens.
Even if the iPhone SE doesn’t initiate a spate of switchers solely because of screen size, its lower price point can only help and Apple’s conversion numbers are pretty good. Besides, Apple’s always been clear about it not caring which of its devices people buy because if someone’s going to cannibalize your sales, better for it to be yourself.