In March, Apple released the iPhone SE, an updated version of 4-year-old hardware with modern components at an affordable price.
Three months later, the diminutive device seems like a hit — popular enough that if you were to order one from Apple today, it would take weeks to be delivered.
The shipping delays aren’t just from the U.S. Apple Store, but also overseas, according to Apple Insider.
Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that the demand for the iPhone SE had outstripped Apple’s expectations during the company’s last earnings call.
“Demand has been very strong and exceeds supply at this point, but we’re working hard to get the iPhone SE into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” Cook said.
The iPhone SE starts at $399, not $650, like the iPhone 6S, so part of its appeal is that it’s less expensive than other new iPhones — and runs the exact same software and apps.
That discount is a big deal in certain critical markets such as India and China, and there’s some anecdotal evidence that the iPhone SE had been popular in those markets. For instance, analysis of traffic to Apple’s online store shows visits from both countries spiking over 150% after the announcement.
Another reason why the iPhone SE might be proving to be popular is that it’s essentially the only high-end phone with a smaller screen.
Apple appears poised to significantly expand its share of the “mid-range” phone market based on the iPhone SE’s success. A recent estimate from Credit Suisse projects Apple to have 17% of the $300-$500 smartphone market, up from 8% in 2015.
But the iPhone SE success isn’t all good news for Apple. It will, of course, depress the average selling price for an iPhone — and potentially introduces fragmentation issues for software makers as it doesn’t support all the features of Apple’s high-end devices.
Apple doesn’t break down its iPhone sales by model, so it’s unlikely that Apple will release official sales stats for the iPhone SE.
But it’s got to be gratifying for Cook and his team that Apple can still launch a product that flies off the shelves faster than the company can make them.
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