UPDATED: Is Apple's iPhone SE about to get an upgrade?

Apple plans to commence manufacture of iPhone SE in India in April, Reuters reports.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, WWDC
Credit: Apple

Apple’ plans to arrange iPhone manufacture in India are coming into view – and they seem to feature the return of the iPhone SE.

UPDATE: Since time of writing a Barclays analyst report seems to favor a March introduction of a brand new iPhone SE, possibly available with higher capacity and other, unrevealed improvements.

April’s child

A Reuters report tells us the iPhone SE will begin rolling off Apple partner Wistron’s new Bengaluru India production lines in April. April’s child may be “full of grace”, but it remains to be seen if the iPhone SE the company plans to introduce will be the same phone as the current iPhone SE model, or if it intends upgrading the device.

Apple’s first iteration of iPhone SE was announced March, 2016, so the timing seems right for an upgrade.

Whichever way it goes, it makes sense for the company to push its lowest cost iPhone at the developing market.

Not only does the fact it intends manufacturing the device locally mean it should be able to introduce the device at a price local consumers can more easily reach, but the iPhone SE (even the current version) is still a great phone.

What it’s got

The existing iPhone SE combines the same physical design as an iPhone 5s with internal components that match those in an iPhone 6S, including an A9 processor and 12-megapixel camera.

Digital money services are ripe to transform India’s financial sector, particularly as the country goes through big financial changes and demonetization.

UK-based market research company Technavio claims that by 2018 the mobile wallet market in India will grow at 140 percent, as against the global average of 34 percent growth.

We know Apple looks seriously at India as a potential harbor for future business growth, so it makes absolute sense for the company to combine iPhone SE improvements and local manufacture with the launch of Apple Pay.

“India is now one of our fastest growing markets. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, our iPhone sales in India were up 51 per cent year-on-year,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook last year.

Apple shipped 2.5 million iPhones to India last year. While it only ranks tenth in smartphone market share there it dominates the premium segment with 62 percent, Reuters reports.

Moving forward

I’ve been promoting the idea that Apple intends widening its addressable market with a range of iPhones for some time.

Only last week I suggested the company will put a huge amount of pressure on Android competitors scratching to make a profit on selling their products cheap in this way.

Offering an entry-level iPhone SE 2, iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, and top-of-the-range iPhone 8 will straddle a huge number of price points and meet a wide range of different needs, including different display size demands.

This will enable the company to get its smartphone into more pockets in more places, without compromising the value of the high end brand one iota. 

“We’re not here for a quarter, or two quarters, or the next year, or the next year,” Cook recently told NDTV. “We’re here for a thousand years.” Will the iPhone SE 2 help seal that promise?

Do you know the way to San Jose?

With aggressive moves to build business in new territories and to redefine the nature of the smartphone industry with iPhone 8, Apple has clearly been very busy behind the scenes across the last year. We’re going to learn a little about just how busy at WWDC in June.

Apple insiders knew that 2017 would be a tough year during which competitors would gain a little leverage, but it was also a year of investment in future growth,

This year we shall see Apple apply a lot more incremental innovation to its core products, while building out supporting technologies such as Apple TV.

With this in mind I believe there will be lots of good reasons to head to WWDC this June, when Apple will tell us how its software vision fits together.

Will the company also use the event to talk about its plans for AR and the iPhone 8? I think it possible.

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