Apple on Monday took the wraps off of a brand new iPhone that represents several big firsts. The iPhone SE marks the first time Apple is recycling an old iPhone design for anything other than an “S” update. It’s also the first time the company will release a new iPhone this early in the year, discounting the Verizon version of the iPhone 4 that debuted back in 2011.
But of all the firsts that the iPhone SE represents, there’s one in particular that could be considered the most surprising: This is the first new iPhone that you don’t care about at all.
Apple fans get so excited for new iPhone launches that they lose sleep as release dates approach. They spend every free moment they possibly can thinking about the new iPhone they’re going to buy, and some extreme fans even line up for hours or even days to buy one.
None of that will ring true for Apple’s brand new iPhone SE, but that’s perfectly alright and the reasoning is simple. This is a different kind of iPhone for a different kind of customer.
Apple’s new iPhone SE features great modern specs that are in line with its current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus flagship models, but it’s not a flagship smartphone at all. It’s a new take on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s, offering users a modern phone without having to purchase a device with a larger display. While the record sales Apple has enjoyed ever since it first released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus show that making bigger iPhones was the right move, there are still many users who don’t want larger devices.
And this is who the iPhone SE is for. It’s not for you, it’s for your mom. Or your grandfather. Or your uncle. Or maybe your friend with really, really small hands. And since the phone costs much less than a larger iPhone, it’s also for people in markets when price is a big factor. Despite its cutting-edge specs and killer performance, the iPhone SE starts at just $399.
That’s what makes the iPhone SE such a smart move on Apple’s part. The company has managed to come up with a new iPhone that took fewer resources than a new model from scratch would take, but it brings most of Apple’s key new features to users who want to stick with a device that has a smaller display.
Most importantly perhaps, it brings Apple Pay to those users. Remember, Apple makes money each and every time you pay with Apple Pay, and people with an old iPhone 4s or iPhone 5/5s can’t use Apple Pay in stores.
Apple’s new iPhone SE is without question the least exciting new iPhone Apple has ever unveiled, but it’s a middle reliever, not a starter or a closer. It was designed to fill a gap in the market and it does so quite well. Also important is the timing of the iPhone SE’s release, which will help soften the blow from declining flagship iPhone sales ahead of this September’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch; Apple said it sold more than 30 million iPhones with 4-inch screens in 2015.