iPhone 9 Is Coming (And You Will Love the Price)

 In China, GDI

Between an impres­sive Samsung show­ing at this year’s Unpacked event and ongo­ing Coronavirus-relat­ed supply chain prob­lems in China, Apple is emerg­ing from a rough few weeks as it heads into a busy release season. Apple’s full plans for 2020 have yet to be revealed, but a steady stream of leaks from indus­try insid­ers famil­iar with Apple’s pro­duc­tion process has given us a rough por­trait of what to expect from this year’s flag­ship iPhone. At the same time, there is an increas­ing­ly large body of cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence to sug­gest that Apple is gear­ing up to release a suc­ces­sor to the wildly pop­u­lar iPhone SE– and it may be coming sooner than you think.

Here’s what we know about the rumored “iPhone SE 2.”

The orig­i­nal iPhone SE launched in 2016, gar­ner­ing pos­i­tive reviews and healthy sales num­bers. The SE project was guided by a clear design con­cept: take the snappy per­for­mance and long-last­ing bat­tery life that made the iPhone 5S a best­seller, cram it into a 4‑inch dis­play size form factor, and slash the price to $399. In fact, the SE’s afford­able blend of per­for­mance and bat­tery life has proven so com­pelling that it remains one of the best com­pact smart­phones on the market– espe­cial­ly in the deeply dis­count­ed $130 – 200 brack­et that major retail­ers are still sell­ing it for.

It’s only nat­ur­al that Apple would seek to cap­i­tal­ize on the SE’s suc­cess, and the latest crop of leaks from respect­ed Apple ana­lyst Ming-Chi Kuo alleges that a new com­pact model is planned for the first quar­ter of 2020. There was over­whelm­ing evi­dence of a March 2020 release, but it remains to be seen exact­ly how Apple’s plans will be impact­ed by the Coronavirus out­break.

First off, it’s unlike­ly that the new phone will be called the “SE 2.”  According to an “informed source” who spoke with the blog Mac Otakara, an “iPhone 9” moniker is more prob­a­ble. It’s widely believed that the screen size will be bumped up to 4.7- 4.9 inches, whilst main­tain­ing a highly com­pact form factor through reduced bezels. Other, highly prob­a­ble spec­i­fi­ca­tions include the same A13 chip that’s fea­tured on the iPhone 11, guar­an­tee­ing silky-smooth per­for­mance for years to come.

There will be some corner-cut­ting to keep this phone at Apple’s planned MSRP of $399. The iPhone SE2/ iPhone 9 will likely come with 3 GB of RAM, a notice­able down­grade over the 4 GB of the iPhone 11 line. 3 GB may be a pit­tance by Android stan­dards, but is nev­er­the­less per­fect­ly capa­ble of pow­er­ing Apple’s highly effi­cient iOS 13 soft­ware with­out per­for­mance hic­cups. Also, the “Face ID” facial recog­ni­tion system of Apple’s recent flag­ship models will likely be swapped out for the older “Touch ID” fin­ger­print sensor that’s embed­ded in a phys­i­cal home button. Finally, the upcom­ing com­pact phone’s prob­a­ble single-lens rear camera is all but guar­an­teed to fall well short of the cur­rent iPhone 11’s dual-camera setup with ultra-wide and night modes.

There are two things to note about these com­pro­mis­es: First, they seem fairly mild given all the other fea­tures that the iPhone SE2/ iPhone 9 brings at a highly com­pet­i­tive price point. Secondly, they speak to what may become a realign­ment of Apple’s sales strat­e­gy in the coming years. As Samsung’s Galaxy line con­tin­ues to bal­loon in price, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the tran­si­tion from the 2019 S10 to the 2020 S20 series, invest­ment and tech pub­li­ca­tions are seeing an oppor­tu­ni­ty for Apple to rebrand itself as the better-value option in the mid and pre­mi­um-tier brack­ets of the smart­phone market.

Mark Episkopos is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to The National Interest and serves as a research assis­tant at the Center for the National Interest. Mark is also a PhD stu­dent in History at American University.

Image: The iPhone SE is seen on dis­play during an event at the Apple head­quar­ters in Cupertino, California March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam.

Source: National Interest

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