December 4, 2022

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5G iPhone SE will be for carriers, not customers

5G iPhone SE will be for carriers, not customers

Camel widely expected To launch a new iPhone SE model this week, it’s the company’s third – and its fastest update yet for its cheapest line of smartphones.

Apple’s release cycle for the SE line is accelerating: File The original iPhone SE released 2016 as an entry-level option in the iPhone lineup, priced at just $399 — compared to the $649 iPhone 6s model that preceded it a few months ago. 2nd generation model It followed four years later, in 2020.

Now, just two years later, Apple is preparing to release the third generation iPhone SE, one rumor To offer the same design at scale as the 2020 SE, but with an upgraded 2020 processor and camera, along with 5G.

And these are the final details – the addition of 5G – that seem to be revealing Why Apple is upgrading the iPhone SE early: It’s an upgrade for carriers, not customers.

While 5G is worthless, in 2022, it’s not a revolutionary must-have technology That cell carriers promote it as. Speeds are still lackluster in most cases, requiring very specific conditions with the still nascent mmWave or mid-range networks used by most major carriers in the US still struggling to put it up. Several years later, 5G is still more of a marketing note than a revolutionary change in how most people use the internet on the go.

The addition of 5G also has an extension Much It’s also a potential downside. The 5G modems that Apple gets from Qualcomm are Estimated to be the most expensive single ingredient On an iPhone — more than Face ID arrays, high-resolution displays, or Apple’s own A-series core processors. Even if Apple keeps every aspect of the new SE identical to its 2020 devices, it’s possible that the addition of 5G means either customers are forced to pay more or Apple accepts less profit (if not both).

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There is precedent for this kind of price increase, too: When Apple added 5G with the iPhone 12, it raised the price of the base iPhone 12 model to $699, above the standard iPhone 11 price of $649 (although there will likely be other upgrades, Like an OLED screen, it probably affected that).

5G can hit customers another way, too: battery life. The 2020 iPhone SE suffers from battery life, with a 1,821 mAh battery Inherited from iPhone 8 (which she shares the design with). This is much smaller than the 2227 mAh battery iPhone 12 mini, and 12 Minis have already struggled to reconcile 5G connectivity with a full day of use. The smaller battery and more drained 5G radio won’t bode well for the 2022 SE — assuming Apple keeps the same spacious design as the 2020 model.

2020 iPhone SE applauded When the fact was made public that it would last customers for years before they needed a new one. So with all these issues looming, why is Apple so rush to get a new iPhone SE so soon after the last release?

Because carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T want 5G devices in stores. US telecom companies have spent years developing their own 5G networks (Sometimes even when they’re not 5G at all) to help them increase customer sales for a new device through a combination of future scrutiny and fear of missing out on the next big thing. It’s not about specific phones – it’s about Pay customers to lock themselves In the monthly upgrade costs and ensure that they will continue as paying subscribers for the coming months and years.

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And flashy 5G hardware—with the promise of next-generation speeds that your reckless old phone lacked—is the perfect incentive to get customers to sign on the dotted line. (More 5G customers are also helping the networks justify the massive “race” spending to build these new 5G networks over the past few years.)

The desire to appease carriers looking to sell customers on 5G appears to be the most likely reason for the upgrade now — especially when you consider that, historically, a major driver of SE releases has been Apple switching its base iPhone to a new design. The first generation SE redesigned the old iPhone 5 and 5S – which was replaced by the iPhone 6’s larger screens the previous year – and offers a last-generation design with more modern internal hardware that can handle the latest Apple software releases.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

It took Apple four years to release the second generation iPhone SE in 2020, which followed a similar pattern. The 2020 SE redesigned the just-discontinued iPhone 6, which the company finally removed from its flagship line last fall with the release of the iPhone 11, which unified the full-screen iPhone X design.

iPhone SE 2020 processor – A13 Bionic processor, on par with iPhone 11 Not in danger of becoming obsolete any time soon due to Apple’s annual software updates (more Latest iOS 15 version still working on A native A9 SoC for iPhone SE).

Even if Apple sticks with the A14 (iPhone 12 equivalent) or A15 (iPhone 13) chip, it only helps prove the 2022 SE into the future for another year or two — hardly a reason to introduce an all-new model. And with nearly all major rumors suggesting Apple will keep the same iPhone 6 design for the 2022 update, it’s hard to imagine extensive camera upgrades (which would likely require the company to overhaul the entire back of the phone to fit the larger camera array, as seen on newer phones). ), screen, or battery life.

And while we’ll have to wait for the actual reveal on Tuesday to know for sure, all signs are now pointing to more concessions than ever to the new iPhone SE in an effort to improve the device for carriers to sell, not which customers will buy it.

Since its launch, $400 has remained a stable floor for Apple’s iPhone pricing, even as Apple continues to release more expensive models that cost more than $1,000. The $400 entry point has been discontinued. It was one of the product’s main selling points: a quality, complete iPhone at a reasonable price.

Apple may have come to the conclusion that 5G connectivity has become an essential part of the standard iPhone experience. And if Apple maybe Keeping the new 5G SE at $400 while offering iPhone 13 performance and at least some battery improvements from last year’s models, it could have a somewhat compelling option to make customers’ lives easier on the iPhone with some new perks along the way. We’ll find out one way or another when Apple takes the stage on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.