The hubbub around an Apple event usually wholly occupies the news wires for a few days following announcements regarding new devices, software, and plans the iPhone-maker has for its future. And Monday’s event was no exception. But the company released a device during this past event that is not targeted at its U.S. fan base.
The iPhone SE — a smaller, less expensive iPhone with many of the features of the biggest, most expensive iPhone — is being touted as Apple’s solution to breaking into India’s and staying in China’s markets. Apple isn’t struggling in China per se, but it has a lot of competition. Think back to the iPhone 5C — a cheaper iPhone that, at the time, analysts pointed out was likely directly aimed at gaining Apple a bigger foothold in the Chinese market. But, while the iPhone is hugely popular in the country, so are a myriad of other smaller, cheaper devices from native manufacturers such as Xiaomi. Yes, Apple is already a favorite in China (it is the company’s second-biggest market) but it needs to stay that way to maintain iPhone sales that have stagnated somewhat. (Indeed, smartphone saturation is real.)
India is another potential frontier, and a popular one. Given the competition, little wonder Apple is counting on a smaller, cheaper device. Reuters reports that as one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, India will be key for Apple, who is anticipating the contraction of iPhone sales.
Still, many wonder if Apple took the right tack here. Fortune quotes Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research based in Mumbai:
“(In India) the majority of the low-end, $100 phones have a five-inch display. The key reason being smartphone users are becoming more mature are preferring bigger screen size as many of them don’t own a tablet or laptop.”
If Apple proves to have already fumbled, its miscalculation on what India users want will become apparent soon enough — just like the flopped iPhone 5C in China.