Following on from the leaked specs of Apple’sreplacement for the iPhone SE, further details are coming to light on the launch date of the smaller handset. It looks like the geekerati will be able to add to their precious collections in the first quarter of 2020.
The launch date information comes from mobile analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo broke the news of the upcoming ‘budget’ iPhone earlier this week and has returned to the handset today. Certainly the inclusion of Apple’s A13 chipset and 3GB of RAM suggests that this new iPhone will be able to match the performance of the iPhone 11, as I noted here on Forbes:
“…the geekerati have locked on to the new handset as the iPhone SE2, it’s probably fairer to call it the iPhone 8S. Although the chipset will be the top of the range A13 Bionic, likely backed up with 3GB of RAM and therefore matching the iPhone 11, the handset is still going to be in the iPhone 8 form factor. Part of the iPhone SE attraction was its specifications, but by and (ahem) large it was about the size. It crammed the iPhone 6S specs into an iPhone 5S chassis.”
Kuo’s latest report reinforces the release date of the Q1 next year. Given Apple’s previous history of events, it’s likely that a Q1 release will translate into a mid to late March release – a slot that has been used ‘educational’ and ‘second tier’ devices in the past few years.
That also partly takes care of my concern that a mooted launch in January would be upsetting to those who had purchased a new iPhone in the run up to the holidays. While a March launch, almost three months after Christmas, is still relatively close to the seasonal peak purchasing moment, it has enough emotional distance to stop consumers thinking that Apple has pulled a fast one.
The bigger question is how Apple will deal with the disappointment around the design. Although the iPhone SE was seen as a ‘cheaper’ iOS-powered smartphone, its real victory was putting the power of the iPhone 6S into the smaller chassis design of the iPhone 4. From what we know so far, the iPhone SE2 is not going to aim for a smaller chassis design, instead it is going to mimic the iPhone 8 design – in effect becoming the iPhone 8S.
I don’t believe that’s what Apple’s loyal fan base is waiting for.