Yesterday Thomas Brand wrote a piece that decried the removal of the iPhone SE on the grounds that it was the company’s only affordable iPhone for some customers. The underlying assumptions rubbed me the wrong way. I’m compelled to counter them here. He wrote:

If you are looking for a phone with a smaller screen, a phone with a headphone jack, or or a phone that costs under $400, Apple no longer makes an iPhone for you.

That’s fair, but the universe of people for whom any of this is true is small. Most people are happy with the screen sizes, port options, and pricing of the new lineup. Apple doesn’t like a product line with a long tail, and the time to remove the SE has come. Simplify, simplify, simplify.


In short, Apple has discontinued their entry-level iPhone SE in favor of larger phones that require additional adapters and cost upwards of $750.

I’d be curious how many people actually use adapters with their iPhones on a regular basis. I’m sure they’re out there, but my gut is that it’s a very small (albeit irksomely whiny) community. The puck has moved on.


The iPhone SE kept me invested in the iOS ecosystem, and enabled me to purchase a Apple Watch without approaching the ~$700 iPhone ASP I normally attribute to laptop computers. Now that an updated iPhone SE is no longer an option, I am evaluating alternative cell phone platforms. I am sure I am not alone.

I don’t know anybody who uses a $700 laptop. With tax included, I paid $3,037.39 for the MacBook Pro on which I’m writing this. A friend of mine paid around that amount for the Windows laptop he uses. If you use a laptop for work, you’re paying many multiples of Thomas’ figure. $700 will buy you a fairly decent Chromebook or a really horrific Windows machine. Both options are very pedestrian.

Apple made something very clear this week. If you don’t have $750 for an iPhone, you aren’t in its target market. Apple’s always been this way, directionally: to own an Apple product, you pay big money, often more than the competition, and in return you get a great product that has culture and taste. That’s the value proposition, the rule of engagement. If you find this appealing, you participate in Apple’s store. Otherwise you don’t. Apple isn’t that interested in people for whom money is the primary consideration. Apple was founded by a self-identifying hippie, and it wants customers who care about more than money. If everything in your life lives and dies by the almighty dollar, then you’re never going to understand or appreciate Apple. The company has sometimes managed to ensnare such persons by offering a low-cost product; but whenever it pulls it, their true colors show. Apple did everyone a favor this week by removing an iPhone priced as the SE was.

(Hat tip to Pixel Envy.)