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iPhone SE may not be able to offset drop in iPhone 6s sales

iPhone Sales Decline

Apple’s iPhone SE hit stores today, but the company’s latest 4-inch iPhone may not be enough to help offset an overall decline in iPhone sales. According to a report from Digitimes, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus demand is far lower than demand for Apple’s iPhone 6 models last year. Citing sources from within Apple’s supply chain, the report adds that “shipments for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for the second quarter of 2016 will likely be halved from those shipped in the first quarter.”

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Of course, declining iPhone sales in 2016 is hardly a surprise. Even Apple conceded during its most recent earnings conference call that iPhone sales this year would likely drop for the first time in history. Still, Tim Cook tried to quell any fears that the drop-off in sales would be drastic.

“We do think iPhone units will decline in the quarter,” Cook said during a January earnings conference call. “We don’t think that they will decline to the levels you’ll talk about. We aren’t going to project beyond the upcoming quarter.”

That being the case, the release of the iPhone SE couldn’t be coming at a more opportune time. As Apple recently mentioned, the company last year sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones. Additionally, more than 1/3 of all active iPhones pre-date the iPhone 6, which is to say that there’s a sizable pool of iPhone 5/5c/5s users who have been waiting for a device like the iPhone SE for quite some time.

According to Digitimes, Apple’s “shipment target for the SE in the second quarter is four to five million units.”

While we’ll have to wait and see how the iPhone SE performs, that estimate seems on the low side. Recall, a report from earlier in the week claimed that pre-orders for the device in China alone topped 3.4 million.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.