Will the iPhone XE be Apple's next big thing?

Apple's next big thing could be an update to its small, budget iPhone.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple, a company that made smartphones with a $1,000 price tag seem normal, seems to be working on an update to the now defunct budget iPhone SE (which is being informally called the iPhone XE). And this could very well become Apple's next big thing.

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Apple is a company that's in the midst of turmoil. I think that while many of us wouldn't mind the sort of turmoil where we we're pulling in billions of dollars and selling a range of products that have all become household names, it's turmoil nonetheless. iPhone sales are falling, and Apple is having to increasingly rely on smaller revenue streams (smaller when compared to the iPhone) such as services and headphones.

Why are iPhone sales falling? There are countless reasons, ranging from market saturation to brand fatigue, and, as Apple itself concedes, price.

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So, what's a good solution to sticker shock? Simple. A lower price tag.

Enter the iPhone XE, the rumored update to the iPhone SE.

While we know nothing official about the iPhone XE, there are plenty of rumors. It will allegedly feature a small bezel-less display (either 5.42-inch or 4.8-inch), and come with the Face ID authentication system, a 12-megapixel camera, and have at its heart the A12 Bionic chip.

Essentially, it's a scaled-down iPhone X/XS (hence the name). And it also accomplishes the dual-task of bringing a new lower-cost iPhone to marker while giving it enough limitations to prevent cannibalization of higher-end devices.

I think that a new budget iPhone with a smaller display and more modest price tag (notice that I haven't said cheap… while I believe that Apple could build a $300 iPhone, I'd expect the iPhone XE to start at $600).

I think Apple will keep the $300 for when it needs to focus more on ecosystem expansion to drive services revenue.

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