Why did Apple release a 2020 iPhone SE priced 'from $229'? Lots to love and even more to spend on...

Why did Apple release a 2020 iPhone SE priced 'from $229'? Lots to love and even more to spend on...
The new iPhone SE 2020 looks custom-made for the coronavirus times. The spread between its price, and the most expensive iPhone 11 Pro Max in the roster is way larger than what it was when the OG SE was introduced. and it is the most affordable iPhone in ages.

The iPhone SE 2020 is even cheaper than it looks with the official pricing, just take a look at the list of trade-in offers:

  • Apple iPhone SE - $30
  • Apple iPhone 6 - $30
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus - $50
  • Apple iPhone 6s - $80
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus - $150
  • Apple iPhone 8 - $170
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus - $250

As you can see, the most likely upgrade - from an iPhone 8 - will net you $170 towards the $399 tag of the SE 2020, leaving you with $229 out of pocket. That's exactly the starting price that Apple is advertising at the header image, knowing full well that many an iPhone 8 owners will be tempted now that the 8-series is discontinued. Add a year's worth of Apple TV subscription, and the iPhone SE 2020 suddenly drops to the irresistible $169 mark.

                 Pre-order the Apple iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE 2020 specs make it Apple's gateway drug to iOS 14


On top of that, the iPhone SE 2020 offers so much more than the last smallish iPhone 8 that it's not even funny. Powered by the same screeching processor that is in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the phone will remain relevant for years to come. 

Those 5G phones may be all the rage now, but there is barely network support, and Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank considering that the iPhone SE 2020 costs next to nothing to put together in parts, and its margins are likely in the 200-300 percentage points.

Besides the bill-of-materials profits, Apple will be vastly expanding its market share across the globe in times when phone sales take a nosedive due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that market share comes immense increase in access to its subscription services, too.


Apple's new adventures in content and media may begin to pay off precisely with the iPhone SE 2020. Last year, in one fell swoop, Apple took on cable and Netflix with the Apple TV channels and TV+ subscription streamer. Game streaming and distribution platforms like Steam or Google's upcoming Stadia face the casual but formidable Arcade undertaking. News aggregators and standalone publishers now have another potentially huge platform to consider - News+.

None of these newfangled Apple services can take on the established players on its own just yet. While News+ may give you access to 300+ magazines, the most it managed to sign up were the LA Times and WSJ - hardly the a la carte news buffet it envisaged for its freshest offspring. Ditto for the Arcade gaming platform, and the TV+ original video content streamer. The numbers they started with are a far cry from the established competition in the fields.

By giving subscriptions away with new phones, however, Apple is preparing the field like a dealer preps his clients. Once you are hooked up to a bunch of these services, and after the gratis subscription period expires, you will start to get charged automatically, and, at prices like $5 or $10 a pop, might not even bother to ruin your high scores, playlists, or mid-season binges. 

Thus, the cheapo iPhone SE 2020 whose processor will keep it relevant for years, is the perfect gateway drug to Apple's ballooning ecosystem of subscription services in multimedia. Now imagine that Apple offers a neat package that folds all of these services in one lowball monthly fee. It's going to be hard to resist, and the vessel that will make it profitable may just end up being the lowly iPhone SE 2020 that Apple just announced with the intent to get iOS to many more millions of hands and eyeballs. What do you think?

How would you rank the iPhone SE (2020)?

Excellent! No complaints!
25.21%
Very good, but I wish a few minor things were better
31.39%
Average! Neither bad, nor great
20.41%
Disappointing! I wish it was better
12.4%
A disaster! Not competitive against current rivals
10.59%

Related phones

iPhone SE (2020)
  • Display 4.7 inches 1334 x 750 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A13 Bionic 3GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1821 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x

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