As the fall draws closer, analysts have turned their attention to Apple’s product lines and expected upcoming refreshes. The overall expectation is that the company will introduce multiple new handsets — we’ve heard talk of three models — and be sunsetting others. Overall, some trim is definitely due.
Right now, Apple sells the iPhone SE, 6s and 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. If this were Samsung, such a lineup would constitute the number of Galaxy sub-brands it sells in one specific country, not the entirety of its product line. But for Apple, this is actually quite a few phones, and the company is pretty likely to downsize. Unfortunately, it sounds like Apple is going to trim by getting rid of the best phone it sells as well as the iPhone X.
What we’re hearing from analysts — and this echoes earlier reports from 2018 — is that Apple will offer an even bigger iPhone 11 Plus that’ll be larger than the iPhone X, with a lower-cost model (the iPhone 9) that’s still substantially larger than the iPhone SE. Apple is expecting major upgrade fever this year, and the analysts at BlueFin believe the company is targeting 91 million unit sales in the back half of the year. The iPhone 9 would use an LCD, while the iPhone 11 will have an OLED. Apple will also retain the iPhone 8 family to round things out at the bottom of its market, while presumably scrapping the 6s, and 7 at the same time it dumps the iPhone X and iPhone SE. The analyst team writes:
The iPhone 11 Plus should satisfy those unhappy with the iPhone X due to size concerns, while the iPhone 9 device should satisfy more budget-conscious buyers and the aforementioned extension of the iPhone 8 model builds will round out a fairly extensive line-up. We continue to hear that upgrade activity over the past.
The iPhone SE, of course, is not Apple’s most full-featured phone. It’s not Apple’s fastest phone. But having owned one for several months after finally dumping my ancient iPhone 5c, I’d argue it’s Apple’s best phone. Battery life is excellent — it’s still one of the longest-lived iPhones you can buy thanks to the lower screen resolution (relative to the larger models). I keep my phone in Low Power mode almost constantly simply because I don’t need the higher clock speed on the SoC and it has such a positive impact on endurance. Streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime video (and no, I have no problem watching video on the iPhone SE) in low power mode also significantly extends the overall battery life.
The principle reason I prefer the device is because I can easily hold and type on it simultaneously using just one hand, even when using a case. But ultimately, it’s the combination of the price, battery life and overall feature set. I’m a PC user everywhere else, but when it comes to the iPhone SE, it’s the only device Apple ever built that “just works,” as far as I’m concerned — and while it’s not much smaller than the standard-sized iPhone, the battery life is better and I honestly find the slightly smaller form factor superior. I’ve tried both.
If these rumors are true, it means Apple will junk the hardware this fall and replace it with the held-over iPhone 8. Dumping the iPhone X seems like less of an issue, honestly, given that the X was always going to be an Anniversary Edition type of product.