If the latest speculation and rumors are to be believed, Apple could launch its upcoming iPhone SE (2022) with a price starting at under $300 compared to the iPhone SE (2020) starting price of $399. – that would be approximately Rs. 22,500 in India before tax, resulting in a possible end-user retail price of Rs. 29,990 in India. That’s just a guess as the current model’s starting price of $399 in the US currently converts to Rs. 39,990 here (vs. Rs. 42,500 at launch).
If that doesn’t seem like a great price, remember that online retailers in India usually sell iPhones for quite a bit less and celebratory sales can result in dramatic price drops. The iPhone SE (2020) has been listed for around Rs. 25,000 during last year’s celebratory sales and with exchange offers as well as banking deals you can now pick up a brand new one for just Rs. 15,498.
In fact, Apple quite regularly allows its third-party products to be sold at deep discounts in India – this way it can maintain its brand image and still sell huge batches of devices to people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
As such, it could make sense for Apple on multiple levels to officially drop prices on its entry-level iPhone SE, but there are a few ways this could work. Most rumors suggest that the new model – iPhone SE (2022), iPhone SE 3, iPhone SE 5G or whatever it’s called – will be available for $299 or even $199. The latter is extremely unlikely as Apple rarely makes such big changes to its lineup. Nevertheless, any price reduction would be interesting.
Keeping the price high might be justified as Apple will most likely use a version of its latest A15 Bionic SoC powering the iPhone 13 series and of course the main feature will be 5G. We won’t lose any features compared to the previous model, so the IP67 rating and wireless charging will continue to set this product apart. The build quality should be top notch, with metal and glass. In addition, of course, there are Apple’s security promises, long-term software updates and the usual brand value.
On the other hand, the same body shape and small 4.7-inch display that has been floating around since the iPhone 6 launched in 2014 will hurt the new iPhone SE. The Android world long ago transitioned to big screens with minimal bezels and no physical buttons, but Apple is keeping its old-school, lowest-tier iPhone model to keep development costs down and cater to change-resistant upgraders. You also get multiple cameras, face recognition, super fast loading, and various software customization options in the Android world that you would have to do without.
Even a 5G-capable iPhone SE wouldn’t make up for the advantages of most Android phones in the Sub-Rs. 25,000 and sub Rs. 30,000 price categories, in the eyes of many potential buyers. We’re still a few months away from rolling out consumer 5G networks in India, at best, but if Apple launches now, Apple could make a splash at this year’s Diwali sales when the best discounts are available.
Of course, there’s another dimension to consider – another small concession Apple is making in India is using third-party vendors to continue selling older iPhone models. Right now you can pick up an iPhone XR (Review) for a lot less than its original introductory price, and this has been one of the big draws during the last festive season too – even if you won’t find it for sale at Apple. com. Every new iOS release in recent years has supported iPhones well over five years old, keeping them relevant and safe.
That means the current iPhone SE (2020) (Review), which is currently selling well below its Rs. 39,990 official starting price, will almost certainly be available after the launch of the next iPhone SE in India. Not only does that create an opportunity for an official price cut, but also for Flipkart and Amazon to sell it for around Rs. 20,000 before offers. Of course, if the new model launches at a lower price than expected, the iPhone SE (2020) will not be as attractive.
Apple seems content to be able to sell discounted iPhones in India, which isn’t surprising since the brand has tremendous claim value and once buyers walk in, they’ll likely want to spend money on AirPods, Apple’s various subscription services, and even Macs. Apple makes huge bucks charging users monthly for iCloud storage, and Apple One incentivizes use of the company’s music, TV, and gaming subscription services. Tools like iMessage tend to keep people on the platform and upgrade a few years later.
It is quite evident that the Rs. 20,000 – 30,000 price range is hotly contested in India at the moment and Apple’s share of this segment is not huge. By diluting its brand value just a little bit and competing against the big Android players, Apple can gain hugely.
India has often been cited as a big opportunity for Apple in the company’s earnings calls, but we’ve been disappointed before – the 8GB iPhone 5c is priced at Rs. 37,500 which was just plain offensive and the original price of the iPhone SE was first announced as Rs. 30,000 before being quickly corrected to Rs. 39,000. Hopefully things will change.
For details on the latest Nokia, Samsung, Lenovo and other product launches from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2022 hub.