The 4-inch iPhone SE was launched in March 2016. Though Apple didn’t refresh the iPhone SE line last year, it doubled the storage capacity from 16GB and 64GB to 32GB and 128GB. Now Taiwanese research firm TrendForce has published a report indicating that the Apple iPhone SE 2 could arrive soon. The report mainly focused on the estimated smartphone production growth in 2018.
Will iPhone SE 2 have Face ID?
The iPhone SE caters to the mid-range segment in emerging markets such as India and China. It has also become the favorite of people who still prefer the smaller form factor. There have been a lot of leaks and rumors about the Apple iPhone SE 2 in the last few weeks. According to TrendForce, the second-generation iPhone SE would arrive in the first half of 2018.
Taiwan-based Economic Daily News has reported earlier that the 4-inch iPhone SE 2 was already in the works. It will reportedly be assembled by Wistron at its factory near Bengaluru in India. Wistron currently makes the iPhone SE at the same facility. It would be interesting to see if the tech giant would bring the TrueDepth camera system to the Apple iPhone SE 2. The TrueDepth camera support Face ID and Animoji. It seems highly unlikely because the TrueDepth sensors would be too expensive to be used in a mid-range smartphone.
According to the rumor mill, the upcoming Apple iPhone SE 2 would be powered by the A10 Fusion processor and 2GB RAM. It would be available in 32GB and 128GB storage options and a larger 1700mAh battery. In the camera department, it would feature a 12MP rear camera and a 5-megapixel front snapper. We can expect it to keep the Touch ID fingerprint reader but ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Apple iPhone SE 2 could hit the store shelves in March
The original iPhone SE was released in March 2016. Later, Apple doubled the storage options in March 2017. The Apple iPhone SE 2 could be unveiled in March. Focus Taiwan has said that the second-generation iPhone SE would launch in the first quarter of 2018, which means it should arrive between January and March. According to the Economic Daily News, the handset would first launch in India, followed by global release shortly afterwards.
Apple has been trying to gain market share in India, a market dominated by Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, and local vendors. Most Indians cannot afford to buy the premium iPhones. With an affordable price tag, the iPhone SE helps Apple bring them into the iOS ecosystem.
TrendForce added that Apple’s premium 2018 iPhone lineup would continue to focus on Face ID. The Android vendors will stick to capacitive fingerprint sensors in the first half of 2018 because they won’t be able to match Apple’s technology. But Samsung and other vendors could launch phones with in-display fingerprint technology in the second half of this year.
iPhone sales to grow 7.5% in 2018
The research firm added that Apple would launch three iPhones in September 2018. At least two of them would feature OLED panels. It corroborates an earlier report from KGI Securities, which claimed that Apple would introduce a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, a 5.8-inch OLED model, and a larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhones. The OLED models are said to feature more memory and an improved Face ID.
According to TrendForce, OEMs produced a record 1.46 billion smartphones in 2017, up 6.5% from 2016. The research firm predicts that 1.53 billion smartphones would be produced in 2018. The growth would slow down this year as component costs continue to rise. The iPhone production is estimated to rise by 7.5% this year as the iPhone X would continue to cater to the premium segment and the new iPhone SE 2 would serve the mid-range buyers.
Samsung, which witnessed a 3% rise in smartphone production last year, would see a 3% decline this year due to fierce competition from Apple and Chinese vendors such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus. Anway, the Korean company would remain the world’s largest smartphone vendor by a distance.
iPhone X sales not as strong as aniticipated
Industry analysts estimate that the iPhone X sales have not been as good as anticipated. Taiwan-based Economic Daily News recently reported that the Cupertino company has slashed iPhone X shipment forecast for March quarter from 50 million to 30 million units. Analysts at JL Warren Capital predict Apple would ship only 25 million iPhone X units in March quarter.
CLSA has also warned investors that the iPhone X sales predictions were “inflated.” CLSA analyst Nicolas Baratte said Apple shipped 30-35 million iPhone X units in December quarter and the volume is unlikely to increase in the March quarter. If the demand remains weak, Apple could cut the iPhone X price sooner than expected.
Apple is set to report its December quarter results on Thursday, February 1 after the markets close. The company expects holiday quarter revenues to reach a record $84 billion to $87 billion on the strength of the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and 8 Plus. Investors will be particularly interested in the iPhone X shipment numbers.