About the success of Apple’s 4-inch iPhone SE

“When Apple released the iPhone SE earlier this year, you can believe some were skeptical. Basically, it replaced the iPhone 5s in essentially the same case, but sporting most of the guts of the iPhone 6s,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “That meant for superior performance on a par with the larger model, more or less, except for the lack of 3D Touch.”

“For an iPhone, the price was quite aggressive, starting at $399 for the 16GB model. A 64GB version is $100 more,” Steinberg writes. “Now the tech pundits really didn’t take it seriously, but that changed when it turned out that Apple was chronically back ordered. This situation persisted for weeks. Evidently Apple severely underestimated potential demand, but the surprise success of the iPhone SE clearly helped boost sales in the June quarter to a point where the decrease wasn’t quite as bad as expected.”

“There’s a new report indicating it’s responsible for growing Apple’s smartphone market share in the UK, according to surveys from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech,” Steinberg writes. “Believe it or not, the iPhone SE is the UK’s best-selling smartphone… The iPhone SE appears to be an important object lesson for Apple. With the proliferation of large smartphones, Apple evidently succumbed to the meme that customers didn’t want small anymore. But that’s clearly not so.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote of the SE back in May:

Classic design is classic design (and the Sleep/Wake button is on top where it’s supposed to be, too).

4-inch iPhone SE looks like a winner for Apple – July 22, 2016
Demand for Apple’s iPhone SE still outstripping supply – June 16, 2016
Apple’s ‘boring’ iPhone SE is paying off – June 16, 2016
Slate reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: ‘Simple, functional, and iconic – love it’ – May 31, 2016
AnandTech reviews Apple’s 4-inch iPhone SE – May 16, 2016
Ars Technica reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: An apology to big-phone haters everywhere – April 6, 2016
iPhone SE event led to website traffic spike in China and India – April 5, 2016
Daring Fireball’s Gruber reviews iPhone SE: ‘Feels the best in hand’ – April 1, 2016
Macworld reviews iPhone SE: ‘It’s a pocket-size powerhouse’ – March 31, 2016
TIME reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: ‘The perfect smaller smartphone’ – March 30, 2016
Mossberg: Understanding Apple’s iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro – March 30, 2016
Wired reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: You’ll use it differently – March 29, 2016
USA Today’s Baig: Apple’s iPhone SE is like a cute, adorable baby – March 24, 2016
The Daily Mail reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: The ‘perfect first time iPhone’ – March 24, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: ‘Smaller gets smarter with better battery life to boot’ – March 24, 2016
Apple tries to stimulate growth with the powerful 4‑inch iPhone SE – March 23, 2016
Why the tiny 4-inch iPhone SE will be a gigantic hit for Apple – March 22, 2016
Apple just put a Mac mini in your pocket (with keyboard and screen) – March 22, 2016
Apple’s got millions of reasons to make the smaller iPhone SE – March 22, 2016
The new iPhone SE finally makes a small phone feel powerful – March 21, 2016
Apple unveils iPhone SE, the most powerful phone with a four-inch display – March 21, 2016


  1. I use an iPhone 5 and an iPod 6 in identical cases, which is a very elegant and yet cheap solution.

    Anything bigger and I use an iPad mini or iPad because phones don’t do newspapers magazines and comics properly.

  2. As I recall, MDN pooh-poohed the small iPhone idea before the SE was released. I think some crow is on the plate for MDN now.

    By the way, Apple should revisit the iPhone names when the 7 is released. Get rid of the letters and “Plus” and give the three phones some real names like:

    Big Ass iPhone

    1. Spot on.

      Yes, MDN initially pooh-poohed the SE for some reason that did not make sense.

      Having bought the first iPhone on day one and the 4S on day one and the SE on day one — I absolutely love the smaller and powerful form factor.

      All sizes makes perfect sense. Different strokes for … 😎

  3. My contract on my 6plus expires in November and I’ll be changing for an SE unless Apple releases a 7 version. I prefer the style and the size. The plus is just to big to carry around with out something to put it in on a day to day basis for me.

    I’ve dropped the 6 plus more than any iteration, it’s just not hands friendly, I find the size and the curves lends itself to being dropped, mind you a couple of glasses of wine doesn’t help. 🍷🍷

  4. Is it too difficult to understand that size is important and some of us want a small form factor – for a phone that is primarily a phone and not a tablet.

    Lets have the latest design in the small form factor. Although I would say that a fatter phone with an all week battery would be my idea of ideal.

    1. Well said – – and it is an unfortunate reality that a common paradigm is “Bigger = Better”.

      Wanting a small form factor does not automatically mean that the customer is looking for something cheaper. That’s why my wife has kept her now-ancient iPhone5 … both the 6s and 6 plus are physically bigger than she wants to carry in a petite pocket or purse.


      FWIW, the same ‘big’ phenomena exists in automobiles too: small cars are only offered as cheap cars. I have a colleague who’s wife works in the City and a tight parking garage, so she doesn’t want to drive a boat, but still wants (& can easily afford) a nice car. Unfortunately, the automakers say if you want nice, you’re stuck with something the size of an Landing Craft.

        1. We have actually looked at Mini …

          … but Mini uses Run-Flat tires.

          RF’s are a particularly horrible technology in our region (bad roads), because they’re substantially more susceptible to failures and when they do fail, its invariably catastrophic which also leave you immediately stranded….in said bad neighborhoods.

  5. I think they fundamentally serve a different consumer. The large one is great for people sit in a desk all day then go home.
    The smaller one serves people who are on the go all day and have a iPad or Mac at home or at their desk.

    I have two lines and will consider having one of each, especially of the camera on the larger one is far superior.

  6. Yes max: all week battery.

    Oh my God: I carry 2 10000 mAh rechargeable batteries each the size of my phone in my bag everywhere because I’m forever running out of battery. One thing dumbphones used to do was have acceptable battery life.

  7. We must all be mistaken. MDN clearly told us that the only reason we would want a small phone was because we hadn’t tried a 6x. They “could not express the amount of Meh” they had for a smaller phone.

    1. Yes, and I felt somewhat diminished by that even though I recognised it as bluster. Such is the power of authority that it could make me doubt myself. Especially as the same authority was claiming two years earlier that phablets were unwieldy, a joke and a fad, that the original Jobsian iPhone dimensions were optimal. Oh well.

  8. Those of us that were calling for an updated 4″ iPhone aren’t in the slightest bit surprised about how successful it is. People kept telling me I should just suck it up and get the larger screen, or even that 4″ phones are only for “girls”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. There was an obvious demand there that Apple was ignoring, and the Apple-can-do-no-worng fanboys were letting them carry on ignoring it.

    The SE is absolutely perfect for my needs. Bought it the first day the orders were being taken and so glad I waited. We don’t all want a large phone, and that’s true for both girls and boys.

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