Apple sunsets the 256GB iPhone SE

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Apple has quietly discontinued the largest storage configuration of the iPhone SE. Previously, the SE was available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB variants. But the 256GB model is no longer available in Apple’s online store.

But don’t take this to mean that the iPhone SE is going anywhere. In fact, analysts and journalists have published multiple similar reports claiming that the iPhone SE will get an upgrade early next year.

The reports say that the 2022 iPhone SE will feature the Apple’s A15 chip—the same one that’s inside the newly announced iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPad mini. The phone would also feature 5G and have Qualcomm’s X60 modem, according to Nikkei.

So rather than this being about sunsetting the SE, our best guess is that it’s about undercutting or cannibalizing the iPhone 12 mini less.

Last year, Apple introduced two different phones in sizes appropriate for one-handed use: the current iteration of the iPhone SE (which borrowed its body from the iPhone 8) and the iPhone 12 mini (which was a significantly smaller variant of the otherwise identical iPhone 12).

But while the SE and 12 mini sold well when their sales are combined into one bucket, they individually were among Apple’s poorest-selling handsets. And the mini performed more poorly than the SE. That’s suboptimal for Apple, because the company charges more for the mini. If this change converts some would-be SE buyers into mini buyers, that could be a boon for Apple’s bottom line.

That said, analysts have been predicting for months that 2022’s iPhone lineup won’t have a mini model at all, after the SE gets a substantial update.

In any case, lovers of small phones still have two, now more-differentiated options—for now.

Listing image by Samuel Axon

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