Waiting for the next affordable iPhone? Bad news

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, there will be no new iPhone SE in 2024.

The iPhone SE of 2022.

Apple is focusing on the high-end smartphone market. This allows the firm to maximize its profits. And during crises like the one we are currently going through, Apple is less vulnerable than its competitors, which market many mid-range and entry-level devices. However, the Apple brand regularly releases a more affordable iPhone: the iPhone SE. The last iPhone SE was released in 2022. And if we follow Apple’s logic, the next one should be launched in 2024.

Moreover, rumors concerning the characteristics and the design of this iPhone SE 2024 had already circulated on the web. But unfortunately, according to a recent publication by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could cancel the release of its next affordable iPhone. “Supply Chain has received instructions from Apple that 2024 iPhone SE 4 production and shipment plans have been canceled rather than delayed,” read a post by the analyst on Medium. If the info is, as usual, to be considered with caution, it should be remembered that Kuo is one of the most reliable unofficial sources regarding future Apple products.

Why?

We do not know what could be the reason that led Apple to make this decision. But it is possible that this is related to the macroeconomic context. Indeed, due to inflation, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and the fear of a recession, sales of smartphones in the world are falling. Nevertheless, this crisis in the smartphone market mainly affects the mid-range segment and the entry-level segment, while sales of premium smartphones are more resilient.

“The majority of the decline came from emerging markets where lack of demand, rising costs, and inflation impacted consumers with lower disposable incomes,” said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team in October. According to this company, in the third quarter of 2022, worldwide smartphone shipments fell by 9.7%.

But it’s also possible that Apple decided to cancel the 2024 iPhone SE (if that’s true) because of sales of the 2022 model.

Qualcomm could be the winner

Either way, the cancellation of the next iPhone SE, due in 2024, could be good news for one of Apple’s suppliers: Qualcomm. Currently, it is this company that provides 5G modems to Apple for its iPhones. However, the Cupertino company is seeking to emancipate itself by developing its own 5G modems. And according to Ming-Chi Kuo’s post, Apple is reportedly planning to use its own modems (instead of Qualcomm’s) for the first time on the next affordable iPhone.

Indeed, the idea would have been to observe the performance of its modem on this affordable smartphone, before deciding whether or not to use the component on flagship products (the iPhone 16 in 2024). But if the 2024 iPhone SE is canceled, the Apple-designed 5G modem could wait, and Qualcomm could remain the sole provider of 5G modems for iPhones for longer.

“[…] the cancellation of the iPhone SE 4 has significantly increased the odds that Qualcomm will remain the exclusive baseband chip supplier for the new iPhone 16 2H24 series, which is better than market consensus according to which Qualcomm will start losing iPhone orders in 2024,” Kuo’s post reads.

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