The new iPhone SE seems to be the replacement for iPhone XR; here’s why

Written by Nandagopal Rajan
| New Delhi |

Updated: April 15, 2020 9:44:11 pm


Pricing of the iPhone SE is a shade lesser than that of the iPhone XR, before the cash backs and exchange offers kick in.

In 2016, when the iPhone SE was launched it was targeting new markets like India, where Apple was still a very aspirational and, as a result, expensive brand. But the SE was still the most affordable iPhone you could buy, if you did not opt for a much older device.

Today, as Apple announces the iPhone SE 2020, it is playing to different needs and strengths. In India for instance, it finally has a new phone that is flying off the shelves in the iPhone 11. It has an older phone driving volumes in the iPhone XR. And it has two flagships at different price points — iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max — to rake in the margins. With the new iPhone SE, Apple seems to be preparing for an eventual phasing out of the iPhone XR.

But first, a bit about the pricing of the new iPhone SE. At Rs 42,500, the phone is more expensive that its first version at launch. The original iPhone SE started selling at Rs 39,000. But then, four years ago, the US dollar was at around Rs 67. Now it is almost Rs 10 more at over Rs 76 to a dollar. So, the same $399 price is adding up to a higher India price tag. The general volatility of the market is only adding to this. So the iPhone SE has become more expensive for Indian buyers.

Also Read: Apple iPhone SE 2020 launched, India price starts Rs 42,500 | Read our review of the original iPhone SE

But the pricing of the iPhone SE is a shade lesser than that of the iPhone XR, before the cashbacks and exchange offers kick in. And some of these will be available for the SE too. So the iPhone SE will end up being a cheaper phone for Indians.

But then it is a better phone. It has the latest A13 Bionic processor, fast charging, wireless charging, dual SIM and eSIM. All features that the iPhone XR cannot offer being an older phone. That suddenly make the iPhone SE a better value proposition for Indian, maybe at a cheaper cost overall.

While Apple, like all other smartphone companies, is struggling with the complete shut down of its retails interfaces with customers, when things open up it can expect to cash in with this new phone. It has missed some important festivals across India because of this delayed launch, but there could well be a bit of pent up demand that it can encash on post the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

But before we start comparing this phone with others in the market, let’s be clear on one thing. This is Apple’s budget offering for the coming few quarters and this is the reason Cupertino did not launch a new version of the iPhone XR last year.

For the moment, this looks like a strategy that could work.

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