Apple has finally released its new 2020 iPhone SE. A first look is available in the video Apple released to announce pre-sale availability for the 2020 SE on April 15, 2020. Shipment of the new phone officially began April 24.
This has been an especially interesting launch for several reasons. First, there was uncertainty as to whether or not Apple would be able to complete mass production of the 2020 iPhone SE in time for a spring release date amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people had assumed that any potential for a spring launch was gone when Apple didn’t hold its annual March keynote event. (The event wasn’t technically canceled because it was never officially scheduled or announced.)
The 2020 iPhone SE’s launch is also noteworthy because it’s a relaunch of the discontinued 2016 iPhone SE. The model was ultimately retired by Apple without much fanfare by the time the company announced its 2018 lineup. Reviews for the second-season 2017 model weren’t quite as sparkling as the welcome the 2016 SE received.
A Glimpse at the Second-Generation SE
Apple’s new 2020 iPhone SE is considered a second-generation iPhone SE. The 2020 version packs a 4.7-inch screen, A13 processor, 12-megapixel camera, 7-megapixel selfie camera, and support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision. You may confuse the 2020 iPhone SE for the iPhone 8 if you look too quickly, as it does look almost identical to the iPhone 8. The 2020 SE is available in black, white, and red (which differs from the iPhone 8’s offerings of black, white, and gold). The other notable difference is that the iPhone 8 offers 3D Touch, which has since been phased out, and the 2020 iPhone SE has Haptic Touch, where you simply long-press an item versus “hard pressing” your screen.
What’s Next in 2020 for Apple?
2020 was supposed to be a big year for iPhone launches. It now remains to be seen if Apple can pull it off amid a pandemic that is threatening both supply chains and demand levels. There had been rumors that Apple would launch a total of 11 devices before the end of the year, with a grand launch of as many as four new iPhone 12 models for September. September launches have been the standard ever since Tim Cook shifted iPhone release dates to September after taking over in 2011. Traditionally, new iPhones are released on the Friday of the week following an announcement.
Two of the anticipated iPhone 12 models are expected to have 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch displays. The other two are rumored to come with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays. It’s also rumored that at least one of the models will have 5G connectivity.
Of course, no official word has been released confirming or denying these rumors. Considering the duration of shelter-in-place orders, it will take some time to even consider moving forward with any September launches, including rolling out 5G headsets.
Nothing Can Be Ruled Out
It’s important to not underestimate Apple when it comes to the company’s ability to keep production going in the face of obstacles. The production of the just-released iPhone SE was rumored to be behind by months after the phone didn’t appear on the market in March. However, Apple was able to pull everything together to carry out mass production of the phone during the global COVID-19 peak. That said, it’s still unclear as to whether Apple pushed back the launch date of its 2020 iPhone SE as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many will say that Apple was smart to stay the course regarding its plans for a spring launch of the 2020 iPhone SE because it places some distance between this release and any potential September release(s). Apple’s persistence in releasing the second-generation SE could be a sign that the company is confident enough in its ability to make a September release happen that it did everything possible to prevent a clustering effect from delaying the SE. Apple may not take an all-or-nothing approach even if it’s not capable of rolling out a full iPhone 12 launch by September. We may see a staggered release approach that rolls out individual models during a period that spans from the fall of 2020 into the early part of 2021. Of course, this is all speculation until Apple confirms its release schedule for the remainder of 2020. The fact that Apple typically announces launches just a few days in advance means that insiders will be monitoring manufacturing reports and insider “leaks” closely throughout the summer.
Impact of SE Launch on Trade in Volumes
If you are a wholesaler, retailer, or distributor looking for used phone supply, then the question on your mind is whether the launch of the iPhone SE will drive increased supply in the second-hand market. As mentioned in our previous article about the impact of the Coronavirus on the industry, this launch will be a major test of supply in the coming months. We have seen volumes in the market reduce by 50-75% since their peak in January and February. While it is still too early to tell how many customers will take advantage of mail-in, trade-in opportunities while stores remain closed, the WeSellCellular team is monitoring incoming supply closely and will do our best to source this supply for our customers.