Apple’s latest iPhone, unveiled Monday, could provide a small boost to the company’s flagging smartphone sales. Shipments for the iPhone SE are expected to reach 15 million units in 2016, according to unnamed supply chain sources speaking to Taiwan’s DigiTimes.
That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the over 231 million iPhones Apple sold in 2015. But with iPhone sales expected to post their first year-over-year decline, the iPhone SE could blunt the shortfall. Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets projects a slight increase in iPhone sales of 10 million to 15 million units for the year, according an RBC research note released Monday.
With the iPhone SE, Apple is hoping to attract customers who have yet to upgrade to a newer iPhone. That’s not a small percentage by any means — over 34 percent of all iPhone owners are still using devices with 4-inch displays or smaller, according to Mixpanel.
In 2015, 4-inch iPhones also accounted for 30 million units in sales, Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of iPhone product marketing, said onstage at the iPhone SE unveiling event Monday. That’s about 13 percent of Apple’s total iPhone sales last year.
Where the iPhone SE isn’t expected to make a huge dent is India, where the smartphone will go on sale in April for 39,000 rupees ($585). That’s $186 more than the U.S. starting price of $399 and well out of reach for many consumers in India, where $100-$200 Android phones are popular.
Apple isn’t the only company expected to benefit from the iPhone SE. Longtime supplier and assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, has landed all orders for the SE as well as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, according to DigiTimes.