iPhone SE 3 to Be Priced Under Rs. 30,000 in India? Here’s What’s Actually Likely to Happen

iPhone SE 3 to Be Priced Under Rs. 30,000 in India? Here’s What’s Actually Likely to Happen

Could many people’s dreams of a truly low-cost iPhone in India finally come true?

iPhone SE 3 to Be Priced Under Rs. 30,000 in India? Here

  • Previous "low-cost" iPhones haven’t quite hit the mark in India
  • The iPhone SE (2020) looks dated but has plenty of premium features
  • Most iPhones sell for less than their launch prices after some time

If the latest speculation and rumours are to be believed, Apple might launch its upcoming iPhone SE (2022) priced starting under $300 compared to the $399 starting price of the iPhone SE (2020) – that would be approximately Rs. 22,500 in India before taxes, resulting in a possible end-user retail price of Rs. 29,990 in India. That’s just a guess, since the current model’s starting price of $399 in the US is currently translated to Rs. 39,990 here (down from Rs. 42,500 at the time of its launch).

If this doesn’t seem like such a great price, keep in mind that online retailers in India usually sell iPhones for quite a bit less, and festive sales can lead to some dramatic price cuts. The iPhone SE (2020) was listed for around Rs. 25,000 during last year’s festive sales, and with exchange offers as well as bank deals, you can pick one up now brand new for just Rs. 15,498.

In fact, Apple quite regularly allows its products to be sold by third parties in India at steep discounts – this lets it maintain its brand image while still selling massive quantities of devices to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.

So it might make sense on several levels for Apple to officially drop prices on its entry-level iPhone SE, but there are a couple of ways this could work. Most rumours point to the new model – iPhone SE (2022), iPhone SE 3, iPhone SE 5G, or whatever it’s called – launching at $299 or even at $199. The latter is extremely unlikely, since Apple rarely makes such huge changes to its lineup. Still, any price cut would be interesting.

Keeping the price high could be justified because Apple will most likely use a version its most recent A15 Bionic SoC, which powers the iPhone 13 series, and of course the headlining feature will be 5G. We won’t lose any features compared to the previous model, so the IP67 rating and wireless charging will continue to set this product apart. Build quality should be top-notch, with metal and glass. Then of course there’s Apple’s promise of security, long-term software updates, and the usual brand value.

On the downside, having the same body shape and small 4.7-inch display that’s been in circulation since the iPhone 6 launched in 2014 will hurt the new iPhone SE. The Android world moved on to big screens with minimal borders and no physical buttons long ago, but Apple keeps its lowest-end iPhone model old-school to keep development costs down and cater to change-resistant upgraders. You also get multiple cameras, face recognition, super-fast charging, and assorted software customisation options in the Android world, which you’d have to do without.

Even a 5G-enabled iPhone SE wouldn’t offset the advantages of most Android phones in the sub-Rs. 25,000 and sub-Rs. 30,000 price categories, in the eyes of many potential buyers. We’re still several months away from 5G networks rolling out to consumers in India, at best, but by launching now, Apple could make a big splash during this year’s Diwali sales when the best discounts happen.

Of course there’s another dimension to consider – another little concession that Apple makes in India is using third parties to continue selling older iPhone models. Right now, you can pick up an iPhone XR (Review) for much less than its original launch price, and this was one of the big draws during the last festive season too – even though you won’t find it for sale on Apple.com. Each new iOS release over the past several years has supported iPhones well over five years old, keeping them relevant and secure.

That means the current iPhone SE (2020) (Review), which currently sells for well under its Rs. 39,990 official starting price, will almost certainly continue to remain available in India following the launch of the next iPhone SE. That creates opportunity not only for an official price drop, but for Flipkart and Amazon to sell it for around Rs. 20,000 before offers. Of course if the new model does launch at a lower-than-expected price, the iPhone SE (2020) won’t be as attractive.

The new iPhone SE will have the same dated design as its predecessor, with a small screen and physical Home button

Apple appears to be content allowing discounted iPhones to be sold in India, which isn’t surprising since there’s a huge aspiration value to the brand and once buyers come in, they’re likely to want to spend money on AirPods, Apple’s various subscription services, and even Macs. Apple makes enormous money by charging users monthly for iCloud storage, and Apple One incentivises use of the company’s music, TV, and game subscription services. Tools like iMessage tend to keep people on the platform and willing upgrade a few years down the line.

It’s fairly obvious that the Rs. 20,000 – 30,000 price band is hotly contested in India right now, and that Apple’s share of this segment is not huge. By diluting its brand value just a little and competing against the big Android players, Apple stands to gain tremendously.

India has often been cited as a huge opportunity for Apple in the company’s earnings calls, but we’ve been left disappointed before – the 8GB iPhone 5c priced at Rs. 37,500 was just plain insulting, and the original iPhone SE price was first announced as Rs. 30,000 before being swiftly corrected to Rs. 39,000. Hopefully, things are about to change.

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro: The Best New Reasons to Buy an iPhone 12?

Priced starting at Rs. 69,900 and going up to Rs. 1,79,900 in India, are the latest iPhones worth getting excited about?

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro: The Best New Reasons to Buy an iPhone 12?

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max (left); iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini (right)

  • Creative photographers and filmmakers have new tools to play with
  • The notch is smaller, but Android phones eliminated them years ago
  • Older iPhones often get significant discounts during sale events

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro launched at Apple’s California Streaming event on Tuesday, as predicted, rumoured, and leaked for nearly a year now. The new iPhone models have narrower notches, tweaked cameras, and … not a whole lot else. Apple held its typical keynote-style event, which though virtual by necessity, was not short of superlatives and praise for every little detail. But while the gap between the Pro and regular models has reduced, the fact is that there was not too much to get excited about.

The new iPhones are exactly the same shapes and sizes as their immediate predecessors, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro series, give or take a few millimetres. They come in different colours, sure. On the front, we have slightly narrower (but taller) notches, and I don’t think this is a significant improvement. I’d love to be able to see my battery level percentage again, if that’s allowed, but given how quickly the Android world realised that notches were not worth copying, Apple does not really come out ahead here.

On the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, there are still only two rear cameras, and they’re now in an awkward diagonal arrangement – a rare example of Apple going with something so anti-minimalist. The non-Pro models don’t get a dedicated optical telephoto camera, and they also can’t use their wide-angle cameras to take macros, which is something even bargain-bin Android phones have been capable of for a while now.

Cinema Mode and Photographic Styles are the two big new camera features, and it doesn’t look like they’re coming to older iPhones with future versions of iOS. These are both big value-adds for anyone really interested in the art of photography or cinematography, but they aren’t for situations where you’ll just whip out your phone to quickly grab a shot of what’s going on around you, or even for photos and videos you’d regularly take of people, places and events. They’re for times when you are able to carefully consider how to frame a subject, what sort of expression to capture, and what nuance you as a photographer want to bring to your work.

Will this be interesting for hobbyists and financially constrained filmmakers? Sure. Does the average person want to put this much thought into everyday photos? Unlikely.

Of course generational camera quality improvements are always a good thing, especially when you get new devices at the same prices as outgoing models. Low-light performance should be good across the board, and sensor-shift stabilisation will make a subtle difference in all kinds of situations.

Thankfully, there are no major functional camera differences within each pair of iPhones – the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have identical specifications, as do the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The Pros don’t just have an additional telephoto camera though; their wide and ultra-wide cameras are not the same as the ones you get on the non-Pro models. Reviews will show how much of a difference there will be in real-world usage. However, while you don’t need the biggest and best iPhone to get the top-end features anymore, do note that ProRes video recording is limited to 1080p rather than 4K on the 128GB storage variants – likely due to flash memory read and write speeds – so you still have a to spend a bit more than the entry-level price to get all the best capabilities.

Improved camera hardware and software are the main attractions of the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

When it comes to raw power, while the new A15 Bionic SoC is at the heart of all four new iPhones, the two Pro models get one additional GPU core. Just like with many recent Macs powered by Apple’s M1 SoC, GPU power is being used to differentiate between price tiers. This should have some effect on gaming as well as video encoding performance. Apple doesn’t go into much detail about SoC frequencies or thermal characteristics, only telling us that there are two high-performance cores and four power-efficient ones. Notably, this keynote was also light on performance comparisons – except that Apple considers itself multiple generations ahead of its competition, which actually tells us that last year’s products are still great.

What else do the new iPhones bring to the table? Battery life is improved by up to two and a half hours, which is great. If you want a 120Hz refresh rate, you’ll have to go for one of the Pro models since this is inexplicably a differentiating factor between the families. The Ceramic Shield front, IP68 rating, and MagSafe accessory compatibility all seem to be brought forward from last year, unchanged.

Then of course there’s iOS, the iCloud ecosystem, easy integration with Apple Watch, Macs, and AirPods, and Apple’s familiar appeals to security and privacy. There’s the promise of software updates for several years; long beyond what any Android phonemaker so far has been able to deliver. All four phones will be built superbly, with top-quality materials and finishes. iPhone displays always look great, the speakers are fine, and there’s nothing to complain about in terms of call quality.

iPhone prices do tend to slide over time, and we can often find attention-grabbing discounts on previous-gen models when major ecommerce websites hold their sales. Even if we consider the new official MRPs, the iPhone 12 family still looks great. The iPhone 12 mini (Review) now costs Rs. 59,900 for 64GB, Rs. 64,900 for 128GB, and Rs. 74,900 for 256GB, compared to the iPhone 13 mini which costs Rs. 69,900 for the 128GB, Rs. 79,900 for 256GB and Rs. 99,900 for 512GB.

Cinematic mode automatically changes focus as subjects move around or shift their gaze

There’s some overlap when you consider the iPhone 12 (Review), which now costs Rs. 65,900 for 64GB, Rs. 70,900 for 128GB and Rs. 80,900 for 256GB, versus the iPhone 13 priced at Rs. Rs. 79,900 for 128GB, 89,900 for 256GB and Rs. 1,09,900 for 512GB. Would you rather buy the newer iPhone 13 mini or the larger iPhone 12 at the same price? That will be an interesting point to consider in our full review.

The iPhone 12 Pro (Review) and iPhone 12 Pro Max (Review) have officially been discontinued but we’re sure to see them continue to sell for a while. If they drop to under Rs. 1,00,000 (like the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max recently did), they’ll be well worth considering even over the non-pro iPhone 13.

The iPhone 13 Pro will set you back by Rs. 1,19,900 for 128GB, Rs. 1,29,900 for 256GB, Rs. 1,49,900 for 512GB and Rs. 1,69,900 for 1TB. The iPhone 13 Pro Max costs exactly Rs. 10,000 more per tier, making the 1TB variant at Rs. 1,79,900 the most expensive iPhone ever. You probably don’t need 1TB of space unless you’re a filmmaker, but 128GB will limit your video recording aspirations so the middle-ground options would make the most sense. If you want the latest and greatest, this is what it will cost.

On the flipside, there are still annoying restrictions that iPhone users https://jiji.ng/ have to live with – limited UI customisation, a locked filesystem, no easy Bluetooth file transfers, expensive accessories, and the proprietary Lightning port (with no charging adapter in the box). More than any of that, it’s incredibly hard to dismiss the fact that you can get several equivalent or better features in Android phones priced anywhere from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 45,000.

Despite all of this, iPhones will always have takers. It’s hard to counter the appeal. In India, even old models are in high demand because of the lure of the brand. With Apple including India in the first wave of countries, this launch is right in time for this year’s festival shopping season and major ecommerce sale events. There’s just this question that you should consider before you buy: have the iPhone 13 models finally crossed the point of diminishing generational benefits? We’ll have the answer to that question soon, once we carry out our detailed reviews of these new iPhones.

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