Apple is about find out if its gamble of producing a smaller, less expensive iPhone is going to pay off.
It has started accepting orders for the SE model that starts shipping, and arriving in its stores on 31 March.
The decision to go back to the future, with a four-inch screen on a feature-rich and lower-priced handset, is in the hope of boosting flagging sales.
Technology journalist Walt Mossberg explained: “There were people holding out, there were people who were keeping their two-year-old or three-year-old four-inch phone because they just want a four-inch phone. So they made a four-inch phone. They put all the internal capabilities of the current 6S in it – a bigger phone – into a smaller phone, and they cut the price.”
With a starting price of $399 (plus sales tax) in the US, the iPhone SE is the most affordable handset Apple has ever released, but as ever with the company’s products buyers in Europe and elsewhere in the world will be hit with higher prices.
How the order numbers unfold is key for Apple as it also targets first-time smartphone buyers in growth markets, particularly China and India.
China is Apple’s second-biggest market and India is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world.
At the same time, moving to better compete with PayPal Apple is reportedly going to make it easier for people to make purchases on their mobiles using its Safari internet browser.
According to the website re/code, before the end of the year Apple Pay will be available to shoppers via iPhones and iPads equipped with TouchID fingerprint technology.